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By 5 April 2012 | Categories: feature articles

 

For most things in life it's a case of you get what you pay for. But these days however, budget vehicles aren't merely just the car you drive until you can afford something better. They offer excellent fuel-consumption and great looks - all at a nice price (sub-R120k) that won't put a crater sized dent in your budget. We take to the road to find the best compact cars currently on offer.

VW Polo Vivo 1.4

VW Polo Vivo 1.4

Volkswagen's Polo Vivo sports a highly functional and comfortable interior, while that silver badge on the radiator grill means that it will most probably have the best resale value out of the whole bunch. However, you have to pay for that privilege, since it is also one of the more expensive cars listed, and the most spartan in terms of its standard feature set. It goes for R118 300, and then you have to fork out more cash to get your specs up to the same level as most of the other vehicles being compared. For instance, it will set you back R2040 for ABS brakes and R2250 for a radio and speaker system that sports four speakers.

Ford Figo 1.4 Ambiente

Ford Figo 1.4 Ambiente

Unlike the Polo, Ford's Figo 1.4 Ambiente offers excellent spec bang for your bucks. Its retail price of R118 670 is a little bit more than that of the Polo Vivo's, however, you get features such as an air-conditioning, radio/CD plus auxiliary jack for an MP3 player or iPod, as well as ABS with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) as standard. Other specs include dual airbags, power steering and key operated manual central locking. The Figo is also quite zippy in terms of performance, with the 1.4l Duratec engine developing 62 kW of power at 6000 rpm as well as a maximum amount of torque that comes to 127 Nm at 4000 rpm.

Chevrolet Spark 1.2 L

Chevrolet Spark 1.2 L

The American car maker's Spark boasts a 1206 cc DOHC four cylinder engine that delivers 60 kW of power and 108 Nm of torque. This with Chevrolet claiming an impressive combined fuel consumption figure of only 5.4 litres per 100 km. Like Ford's Figo, the Spark also boasts many standard features such as power steering, radio, air-conditioner, airbags for the driver as well as the front passenger, and remote central locking. You also get ABS with EBD, height adjustable driver's seat, airbag de-activation switch for when you a have small toddler in the front seat as well as an isofix child seat in the back. Pricing for the Chevrolet Spark 1.2 L kicks off at R115 495.

Hyundai i10 1.25 GLS manual

Hyundai i10 1.25 GLS manual

The baby Hyundai's 1248 cc four-cylinder motor manages to push out 50 kW of power at 5500 RPM and 99 Nm of torque at 4500 RPM. According to Hyundai, it will provide you with a combined fuel usage figure of a mere 4.8 liters per 100 km, the best out of all the cars on our list. Even so, this little car will get to 153 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 15.2 seconds. Buyers will receive a driver and passenger airbags as standard along with a passenger airbag disable function, radio/CD sound system with four speakers, and air-conditioner. You can get behind the wheel of one for R 114 900.

Renault Sandero 1.4 Ambiento

Renault Sandero 1.4 Ambiento

Taking top place on the budget podium is the locally constructed Renault Sandero 1.4 Ambiento. At only R109 900 we think it's a steal, offering power steering, height adjustable driver's seat, four speed heating and ventilation with air-recycling feature plus air-conditioning. Those concerned by safety will be impressed with the ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and side protection beams on all the doors.

The Ambiento is quite the zippy little car, since 112 Nm of torque is available from low down in the rev range (3000 RPM), whilst 55 kW of power is on tap at 5500 RPM. It comes with a five year or 150 000 km warranty, as well as a claimed combined fuel usage figure of seven litres per 100 km.

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