The most affordable cars to buy for young drivers
You have just aced the theory test, passed the physical driving assessment, ditched the ‘L’ sign, and embraced the start of your journey as a newly licenced driver. And then reality sets in. The immediate realisation that you will now have to fork out thousands of rands for your very first vehicle quickly eclipses your previous excitement. Until now.
We have gone and rounded up our top choices for the best cars for young drivers so that you don’t have to. These cars are not only affordable and economical but incredibly easy to maintain (meaning that they are a little more premium-friendly). These top picks are also highly safe to operate – granting anxious parents some much-needed peace of mind knowing their child’s car adheres to the strictest safety regulations and standards.
So, whether you are a young driver, a mature new driver, or a parent in search of the perfect car for your child, we are confident you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in this list. There is something for the safety-conscious, price-conscious, and fashion-conscious here because, while we may be looking out for affordability, dependability, safety, and fuel efficiency, these cars are not dull. Each and every one has its own level of customisation as well as an impressive driver enjoyment rating, so you can still showcase a sense of aesthetic appeal whilst remaining within your budget.
What do I need to keep in mind when searching for a vehicle?
Given that we’ve been in the car insurance industry for many years, we’ve learnt an important trick that helps our customers navigate their way through the process of looking for an affordable and economical vehicle. We thought we’d share this trick with you.
Always lead your car search with your car insurance premium in mind. This may sound rather odd, but hear us out: when purchasing a vehicle, you will not only have to pay for the vehicle alone; you will also need to take out comprehensive insurance too.
Thinking like an insurer is where you will find your greatest buying power as it forces you to not only prioritise your overall safety but economic factors as well.
As insurers, we assess the risk factors involved with insuring your vehicle, which means it would be in your best interest to look at the following factors too:
- The number of safety elements present in the vehicle, including seat belts, central locking systems, ABS brakes and airbags.
- The size of the engine is crucial as the strength of the engine influences your risk factor. The bigger the engine, the higher the premium. Essentially, the smaller the vehicle, the safer the car and the lower the insurance cost.
- Pay attention to the additional add-ons that your ideal vehicle model may have. The more high-tech elements present in the vehicle, the higher the associated risk factor. Try to avoid unnecessary add-ons that don’t already come with the vehicle.
With all of that being said, let’s take a look at our top picks.
In 2016, this fresh-faced 3-cylinder 1.0-litre engine vehicle was crowned the Budget Car champion at the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards. This Suzuki model’s bargain price tag will most likely have you willing to compromise on the feel of the car. However, it’s no cardboard box on wheels. This five-door car is not only incredibly spacious but comes with all the necessary fittings – electric windows in the front, air conditioning, Bluetooth and radio. Its singular engine also means you will likely save on your monthly insurance premium with this vehicle option.
When it comes to scouting a smaller and more affordable vehicle, the Celerio continues to check all of the boxes.
Price: From R149 900
This bold SUV is neither meek nor mild. This entry-level sporty vehicle shows off its warrior good looks, with height and weight to match. Fueled by a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine with 61 kW and 115 Nm of torque, this car offers drivers a decent driving performance with a 5-speed manual transmission and minimal in-cabin noise.
The Mahindra KUV100 continues to champion safety with the addition of dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), ultra-high-strength steel and speed-sensed automatic door locking.
When it comes to a head-turning exterior with an inviting and comforting interior, look no further than the KUV100 that promises you the ultimate SUV experience.
Price: From R148 999
While we will still dedicate a paragraph to explicitly explaining this vehicle, all you really need to know about the Renault Kwid is that it continues to be one of the best-selling models for Renault in the country. In our opinion, those are statistics that speak for themselves.
And to think that it was only introduced to the market in 2016.
Powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol engine with 50 kW and 91 Nm of torque, this vehicle offers exceptional power and driving ease. It comes packed with nice-to-have elements, namely its infotainment touchscreen system that continues to get all of the praise. It also features front electric windows and spacious interiors.
The Renault Kwid is also particularly fuel-efficient, as it claims to consume 4.4 L/100 km.
Price: From R156 900
If you’re seeking a car that is a fun drive and isn’t notorious for being a petrol guzzler, then the Ford Figo is perfect for you. This refreshing vehicle continues to reign supreme in its category, and it doesn’t shy away from showing why its performance factors keep it dominating the vehicle charts.
This 3-cylinder car has a respectable 88 kW and 150 Nm. The spirited Ford Figo continues to outshine its counterparts, especially given its feature-heavy interiors. With air conditioning, basic audio system and Bluetooth connectivity, its interiors are rather impressive given its price tag. In terms of safety, this vehicle also features dual airbags and ABS brakes.
Price: From R208 400
Hyundai Grand i10
The Grand i10 is the perfect all-rounder that offers great value for its price. As one of the top-selling smaller vehicles on our road, this car proves to have all you will need – nothing less, nothing more. And don’t be fooled by its size, as it promises a fair amount of luggage space.
The standard economical model comes with air conditioning, electric front windows, a Bluetooth audio system, adjustable seating and multifunction steering. Its safety features include dual front airbags and ABS brakes. Its high warranty guarantee is also one of the very best warranties in the vehicle game.
Price: From R182 900
If you’re looking for a more grown-up aesthetic that doesn’t make you feel like you’re driving a bargain win, then you should be looking at the third-generation Kia Picanto. Its adult looking appearance matched with its more upmarket look keeps this affordable vehicle on everyone’s ‘dream car’ list.
The Kia Picanto has proven to be an economical choice as its 1.2-litre petrol engine is low on petrol consumption. Its warranty is also excellent, which is ideal for those planning on taking their car for longer drives. The upmarket Picanto is known for being incredibly spacious despite its small size, offering passengers a roomier interior experience. This base model also comes with top-of-the-range luxuries including a full-colour touchscreen.
Unfortunately, with the Kia Picanto, its safety elements lack in comparison to other vehicles placed on this list. It does not come with ABS brakes and only has a singular airbag.
Price: From R178 995
Suzuki has made another appearance on our list, and for good reason too. The Suzuki Ignis, often referred to as the ‘little urban adventurer’ even won the Car of the Year in 2017. This charismatic vehicle boasts a sassier interior whilst appealing to those that exude a more youthful nature.
The slightly raised appearance of the Suzuki Ignis grants this car the title of ‘ideal travel companion’ as it is capable of driving on gravel roads. It also does not lack in space as it shows a roomy and comfortable interior for all – including adequate legroom for your taller passengers.
This entry-level Suzuki also comes with an audio system, electric windows, central locking system and an onboard computer.
When it comes to safety features, this stylish vehicle comes with dual front airbags and ABS brakes like most of the other contenders on our list. It also comes with LED headlamps for additional driving visibility and rear park distance control.
Price: From R188 900
Finding the perfect vehicle ultimately comes down to a lot of trial and error but using this list as a means of navigation will ensure you maximise your budget with an option that meets your exact needs.
Now that you have some ideas of what you can afford, go out there and test drive some of these beauties, so you can figure out what you like and don’t like.
Sources: Cars.co.za; IOL; What Car
Prices quoted are correct at the time of publishing this article. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.