3 new cars that can save you a Rand while saving face

Downgrading. Many are faced with predicament as the cost of living rises spectacularly. However this need not put a damper on your motoring solutions. We have chosen three cars that are popular in SA and placed them next to a perfect downgrade option that will not inform the Joneses about the pocket situation next door.

VW Polo (R199,900) for VW up! (R135,900)
Up or down, Polo or marbels? Either way both are People’s cars.

We all have Brothers and Sisters who talk and act in more sensible ways than we do. Or perhaps you are the level-headed spawn in the harem. Either way, competition does begin at home and there is no better demonstration than pitting the new VW Up! against the VW Polo.

Concept of VW up!

Think of it as a Polo that has undergone liposuction. Lord knows your Brother needs to hit the gym. The up! is built…err…rather up instead of long and wide. Its very compact. The wheels are stuck at the furthest points of the four-corners and space is maximised. At 3.5 meters in length & 1.6 meter wide you will find it’s rather comfy and adequate inside for four. Ok so you will need to drop down its foldable rear seats to fit in sizable cargo but this is not so bad.

1,2,3 Go!

Power is from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with 55kW at 6200rpm and 95Nm at 3000rpm that’s attached to a 5-speed ‘box. It’s fairly robust and the go is surprisingly sprightly for a non-turbo engine. It’s bit gruff on the ears but reaches and maintains highways speeds respectably. However it saves stiff on fuel all round

Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls, music streaming, message readout is available as is CD, Radio and AUX point. No USB port though.

Scorecard 1-10

Size – (6) For being small but cleverly large inside
Drive – (6) It’s a gutsy little number that 1,0-litre.
Fuel – (9) It’s a life saver
Toys – (3) It’s just the bare necessities
Appeal – (6) Surprisingly good and classy looking, sort of

Rival Model – VW Polo TSI Trendline
Price – R199,900

VW up! (R135 900)
Savings (+- R64000)

adam combo (1)

Opel Adam vs Mini Cooper

Battle of Founders heats up in 2015 as Adam Opel and John Cooper fight it out long after their departures.

Mini was responsible for the successful creation of the small luxury hatch niche. Thing is, when you are good at what you do you are bound to attract challengers. This is exactly what has happened to Mini and, it’s an unlikely adversary that has thrown the gauntlet at its feet.

Concept of Opel Adam

To create a cheaper and as exciting alternative to a Mini Cooper hatch, garish colours, mismatched paints, zany surfaces and all. That’s just it, the concept. However keep it small and tidy and insert a clever little engine that is both spunky but frugal.

So the catalogue of the Adam is geared towards personification in more ways than you could imagine but beyond the hipster look is a fantastic little car that can be had for lesser money with equal aplomb to a lifestyle of Technicolor inspired expressions.

1,2,3 Go!

As engines go BMW/Mini makes the finest 3-cylinder engines of this generation but the 85kW and 170Nm 1.0T triple beating in the Adam is a world-beater. Its power and delivery are phenomenal and combined with the Adam’s petite dimensions means it’ll zip right out of clear sight with impressive vigour. Funny, both companies look to the Go-Kart as inspiration for chassis texture and they are correct, as both cars exude a similar execution. It’s just that one of them is a world cheaper.


Good try indeed. Bluetooth, CD/Radio, AUX, USB, colourful LCD; Check!

Scorecard 1-10

Size – (6) For being small but cleverly packaged inside
Drive – (8) For its lag-free and Go-kart like execution
Fuel – (7) Jump on it and it will drink
Toys – (8) It has plenty of feature and, it can park itself.
Appeal – (8) Spec it right and you have a looker

Rival Model – Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch
Price – R303 500

Opel Adam R189 900
Savings (+- R114 000)

Mini Cooper S A/T vs BMW 320i Steptronic
David swallows instant growth pill and beats Goliath fair and square

Yes, this may very well be preposterous but you will not be laughing when you find out how fantastic and alternative to a 3 series this new Mini Cooper 5 door actually is.

Concept of Mini 5 door

Easily it is the most rational of all Minis thus far. The 3-door is understandably quite teenage; the Clubman a bit bizarre and the Countryman is not a mini car. So enter the Cooper hatch 5-door. Why was this not thought off from the beginning? It’s such an accomplished family run-about with rich amounts of rear room for full size adults. And the boot is usable too. And because the car has been fitted with the kind of gizmos that give BMW owners that smug face essentially it becomes the smallest BMW in the land.

1,2,3 GO!

In Cooper S form the new 141kW and 232km/h strong turbo 2.0-litre turns it ballistic, more so than a peer 320i would ever be. And you know what, that Go-Kart sensation is retained in dollops. Now would you have a 3 series with paltry kit or a seriously luxo Mini with the same practicality for less coins?


There is no certain point of departure here but know this, it can be filled up with every conceivable BMW toy, including HUD (Head-Up Display). The options list is yours to glean upon. Expect all that modern cars can have plus more, as in the option of a full whack Haman Kardon hi-fi system too.

Scorecard 1-10

Size – (9) It’s truly spacious in there.
Drive – (8) It goes like its tail is set on fire
Fuel – (7) All the lost fuel is worth it. Drive it well and it will serve you well
Toys – (8) It’s a Mini badged BMW 3 Series
Appeal – (8) Hard to swallow if you are forty-something but you will develop an unusual and not entirely bad liking for skinny jeans

Rival Model – BMW 320i Steptronic
Price – R451 000

Cooper S 5-Dr R397 900
Savings (+- R53 000)

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