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The Five Best Cars For New Drivers

Cars that tick the right boxes for first time drivers

By Reuben van Niekerk on 12 Jun 2024
Buying your first car is an exciting opportunity but with a myriad of brands and models to choose from across the new and pre-owned market picking the right set of wheels can be a daunting prospect.

When shopping for your first car it is important to think with your head and not your heart and this means considering factors such as locking in your budget, being clear about what the vehicle will be used for, prioritising running cost expenses such as fuel consumption, considering safety ratings and getting a quote on insurance.

The ideal first car ticks a couple of boxes and while first time shoppers might prioritise looks and what they look like driving the car, the most important factor is really that the car you choose should be reliable and cost effective to run and maintain. The following are five great options from established manufacturers that are worth considering in both the new and in the pre-owned market.

Toyota Vitz

The Toyota Etios picked up where the legendary Tazz left off and it has now been replaced by the Vitz, which continues the legacy of a compact affordable hatchback offered by the Japanese brand. The Vitz combines a lightweight body, with a roomy interior and a nippy engine resulting in a package that offers legendary Toyota traits in an affordable package. Those traits include a reputation for reliability and dependability as well as the excellent resale value of Toyota models. This means that while the Vitz will serve first time buyers well, it will also reward them when it does eventually come time to trade up.

Volkswagen Polo Vivo

The Volkswagen Polo Vivo is one of South Africa’s top sellers for a good reason. It offers solid German engineering in a spacious well put together hatchback or sedan package resulting in a grown-up car at an entry level price. The Polo Vivo is a uniquely South African product and came about when Volkswagen took a previous generation Polo, increased the local content and continued selling it under the more affordable Vivo nameplate. The popularity of the Polo Vivo means that maintenance and spare parts are freely available from a variety of sources at affordable prices, contributing to an affordable total cost of ownership.

Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz might not always be on the radar of shoppers looking for their first car, but it should be, especially for those motorists shopping in the pre-owned market. The latest model that is currently on sale in South Africa has been rebadged the Fit, but it is the previous generation Jazz models that hits the right notes for first time buyers.

The Honda Jazz is one of the best cars on the market when it comes to combining a compact exterior with a spacious interior that boasts standout features such as Honda’s magic seats.

Honda has an incredible reputation for quality and reliability and the Jazz will ensure many happy motoring miles at a low cost of ownership.

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki offer a wide variety of compact models that boast frugal reliable engines and excellent value for money, including models like the Ignis and S-Presso.

However, it is Suzuki’s compact hatchback offering in the form of the Swift that has been responsible for propelling the brand into being one of the major players in the local market as this model is often fighting it out at the top of the passenger car sales charts.

Across the generations the Swift offers excellent Japanese build quality paired with a well-engineered frugal engine. The Swift ticks all the right boxes for first time buyers including reliability and low running costs which makes it an excellent value for money proposition.

The next generation Swift is expected to be launched in South Africa later this year, which could see more of the current generation models entering the pre-owned market, ready for a second life along with first time car buyers.

Hyundai Grand i10

Hyundai’s Grand i10 offers style and flair, roominess, a comprehensive list of features and impeccable road manners that make it the perfect choice for South African motorists shopping on a budget.

A modern design, all-inclusive safety package and cutting-edge connectivity sees the Grand i10 offer customers many features that are not always seen in a car of this size.

The Hyundai is also sold with an extensive warranty and service plan that will extend well into its pre-owned life and ensure a stress-free ownership experience with low running costs which is exactly what one wants from your first car.

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