Renault Sandero

Value for versatility is king


The second of our twelve Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards insights looks into the five best two-year old pre-owned hatchbacks available on the South African used car market at under R170K. 

Three used cars sell for every new car to drive off the showroom floor and like so many Cars of the Years highlight what they consider to be the best new cars, the Gumtree awards set out to showcase the best pre-owned cars in twelve classes on the market every year. To do that, Awards organisers first determine the five finalist cars that best retain their value versus their original showroom price, from which the Pre Owned Awards Jury selects the best pre-owned car in each category.

Auto Bakkie Race will meanwhile individually investigate and compare the five finalists in each class in a series of features and also choose our own class favourites, so, let’s see how close – or how far we are versus the full Jury decision come 24 October!

All of them are winners
The 60 Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards Finalists are all 2017 models that are already all winners in their own right. Based on Unitrans pre-owned car sales data, the five finalists in each class are the cars that have best retained their new value in their categories.

In alphabetical order, the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Grand i10, Mazda 2, Renault Sandero and Toyota Etios are the five cars that best maintain their value among all two-year old hatchbacks that cost less than R170K in South Africa right now. But that’s a moot point – value retention is great of you’re selling, but buyers may be happier to opt for faster depreciating rivals that today offer more, for less.

Before we take a look at what these cars represent insofar as pre-owned bargains go, let’s first look back at what we said about them new a year or two back…

Ford Fiesta 1.4 Trend – Party Time
Ford’s Fiesta is probably the best of the generation, especially at the price. That said, the Fiesta is no slouch – it may not be the quickest, but it’s not the slowest of its class either.

Fiesta boasts a tractable engine, a well sorted chassis and it looks the part too as it sits squarely in the middle of the general hatch pecking order. It’s a cool car to drive, even if all those buttons may be a touch much, but is a pleasant environment and a most capable little car. 

Hyundai Grand i10 – No Compromise
We like surprises. Hyundai’s Grand i10 doesn’t promise much – saddled by a misnomer of a name is hardly a start either. Bigger than i10 and not quite an i20, what struck us is that Grand certainly is no compromise. 

It promises little, but it’s pleasing place to drive and delivers better than expected performance as it keeps on growing on you in many little ways, Grand i10 certainly punches out of its boots. Offering what its rivals do with less pretension, it delivers more – for less, which says quite a bit for a car that isn’t quite clear on what it is in the first place… 

Mazda2 Active – An Unlikely Advantage
The Mazda2 has an unlikely advantage over a normal petrol engine with its Skyactiv setup for ideal combustion with a high compression ratio, rather than a turbocharger. The result is outstanding dynamic performance and excellent environmental cred. 

Add great fuel consumption and quick acceleration, but the real standout is its styling and a classy cabin complete with head-up display, smart half-leather front trim, 7” full colour touch screen infotainment and the rest. It rides and holds the road well, albeit a tad rigid, but most of all, presents a compelling hatchback alternative.

Renault Sandero – The Boxy Frenchman
The Renault Sandero is an interesting choice in a niche dominated by traditional hatchbacks. But this boxy Frenchman has a few surprising advantages, not least of all that it’s a bit of an MPV in hiding – far more spacious than the norm, it brings a more versatile demeanour.

Then it’s powered by a splendid little nine-hundred three-pot that totally sets it apart from its old fashioned rivals that it may not quite match in a drag race, but it’s nicer to drive and thriftier too, with a three-cylinder thrum and a great little character. Even if it’s not that little after all.

Toyota Etios – Old School Advantages
The old school Etios clearly has its advantages. At the price of far smaller rivals, not only is Etios cavernous by comparison, it is also more powerful with a half-litre more capacity and an extra cylinder for extra pulling power – especially at power-sapping Reef altitudes.

And then it’s a Toyota, so it has all the backing in the world, will probably keep its value better than most and will deliver seamless service for decades anon. Come to think of it, remove those perceptions and you end up with a lot more car, rather than less…

And what about today…
Well, that was then; this is now, so how does this value hatchback quintet shape up in the used car lot two years down the line?

Looked at on the spec sheet, the Mazda delivers, and then some on the drag strip. Far quicker than its rivals in our tests when new, there is an easy choice when it comes to out and out performance, with only the old school Etios anywhere close. The Mazda however also masters on economy, where it only just misses out to the Renault.

Value champions
But Sandero comes to the fore in several significant value for versatility fronts and rest assured, there more people look for those advantages in this neck of the woods. It has the biggest boot and most cabin space and a very handy boot too.

So, while the old school Toyota is still the cheapest and also best retains its value with cheapest out of warranty parts price, the Renault runs it very close all the way and the Frenchman also has a stunning service plan, matched only by the Hyundai.

More, better
The Mazda performs brilliantly, but the Renault does more better overall than any of its rivals here and so gets our nod. But we need to wait for that 24 October announcement to learn what the Gumtree Pre Owned Car Awards Jury has to say, so watch that space! – Michele Lupini

Gumtree is offering South African motorists the opportunity to win a car by simply placing their vote for the People’s Choice Award. To vote simply go to click here and follow the prompts.

Gumtree Pre Owned Awards Program & Links
Budget City Cars 
Light Hatchbacks
Medium Hatchbacks
Medium Saloons
Medium Luxury Saloons
Performance Cars

Double Cab Bakkies
Crossover Vehicles
Entry SUVs
Medium SUVs
Large SUVs
Luxury SUVs
Winner Announcement – 25 October

Auto Bakkie Race has revised its Road Test Rating System to deliver a more versatile 1-10 score. Over the past few years, very few cars tested ever achieve less than 75% in our previous scoring system and hardly any more than 95%. The new ABR Rating works in a 1 to 10 basis, where 1 represents a traditional score of  75% or less and 10 is 95% or more.

Auto Bakkie Race road tests all cars using state of the art Racelogic VBox test equipment, both at coastal altitude or at the Reef. All cars are tested starting at the same point on the same test road in all tests. Reef tests are differentiated by (1500m ASL). Where we have tested both sides, both sets of figures are published. Coastal acceleration data most often delivers quicker results due to the higher oxygen content of air at lower altitudes.