Big and cheap SUVs

What does R170 000 buy you these days when it comes to SUVs? Not much, right? Think again. Shop in the right places, and you can get a lot of car for your money.

Much has been made about the affordability of the Renault Kwid, and indeed, it does offer good value for money. The top-spec 1.0 Dynamique is priced at R134 900, and for that reasonable amount you get cool crossover looks, a funky interior and a fancy infotainment system with satellite navigation. You do not, however, get a 4×4 system, an airbag for the passenger or ABS brakes. The Kwid is also on the small side. Luggage space is pegged at 224 litres with all the seats up, but this can be increased to 840 litres if you lower the rear bench. Up a rung from the Kwid is the Suzuki Ignis. It offers more kit and more refinement than the Kwid, but it is quite a bit more expensive (starting at R169 900).

Also, it doesn’t offer much more when it comes to space, and you obviously don’t get a 4×4 system either. When it comes to buying new, the Kwid and the Ignis offer good value for money, but they are city runabouts. If you have a family, or you’re interested in overlanding, these vehicles won’t work for you. So, what sort of proper-size SUV can you buy for the same money? Here are six interesting options if you’re looking for something a little bit bigger.


The previous Ford Everest wasn’t as impressive or capable as the latest model, but it was still a solid SUV. Most notably, it had an impressive 3.0-litre turbocharged oilburner that was tough, reliable and boasted loads of torque. Even today, this is an engine that’s easy to live with. This particular vehicle is an XLT version, which means it’s well equipped, although it doesn’t have a 4×4 system. It is 2WD only.

However, it is large and spacious, and could be a great family vehicle. It has three rows of seating, and its boxy shape results in a spectacular amount of space. Luggage space ranges from 341 litres (with third-row seating in place), to 1 680 litres with the second and third rows of seating folded down. This vehicle has 171 000km on the clock, which is a bit much, but as mentioned, the Ford 3.0-litre engine is a solid one. The vehicle also has a full franchise service history.

The good So much space. Great engine.
The bad A lot of kilometres on the clock.

Price R169 900
Year 2012
Service history Full franchise
Kilometres 171 000km
Engine 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power 115kW
Torque 380Nm
Gearbox Manual
4WD system None
Luggage 341–1 680 litres


While it’s hugely popular in Australia, the Patrol has never been a huge seller here. It does have a small but (extremely) passionate fanbase, though, and the reason is simple: it is a fantastic 4×4. It is spacious, tough and extremely capable. This 2005 model can be yours for a mere R129 950. It’s got a lot on the clock, 221 000km, and doesn’t have any sort of service history; a huge warning sign. When buying a vehicle like this, it’s important to have it thoroughly checked out, but if it’s given the green light, it’s a great deal.

The 4.8-litre petrol model offers the better experience, since the oilburner (118kW and 368Nm) is a tad underpowered for a vehicle of this size, but it is undoubtedly more economical. If you don’t mind a ‘relaxed’ drive, you’ll be happy with the diesel. You’ll also be impressed with its off-road ability. If you’re looking for an overlander with a proper 4WD system, this is a good choice.

The good Very affordable. Amazing off-road.
The bad Underpowered. Vehicle has a lot of kays on the clock.

Price R129 950
Year 2005
Service history None
Kilometres 221 000km
Engine 3.0-litre turbodiesel
Power 118kW
Torque 368Nm
Gearbox Manual
4WD system Part-time 4WD with low-range
Luggage 550–3 000 litres


Like the Patrol, the Pathfinder is a tempting buy in the second-hand market. For an excellent price (well below R200 000), you can get a 4×4 SUV with three rows of seats and loads of space. Unlike the Patrol, the Pathfinder is not a hardcore overlander, but it is a great everyday family vehicle. It is certainly easier to live with on a daily basis than the big and heavy patrol. This particular model is the 4.0-litre petrol version.

You can also get the Pathfinder with 2.5-litre oilburner, but if you buy a vehicle in this price range, it’s going to have a lot of kays on the clock, so a petrol version is a safer buy. The engine will be thirsty, of course, but the vehicle is so well priced that you can save a good chunk of money for fuel. This example has 170 000km on the clock, and a full service history.

The good Practical SUV with loads of space.
The bad Thirsty. A lot of kilometres on the clock.

Price R139 950
Year 2006
Service history Full history
Kilometres 170 000km
Engine 4.0-litre petrol
Power 198kW
Torque 385Nm
Gearbox Automatic
4WD system Permanent 4WD with low-range
Luggage 467–2 242 litres


When it comes to the realm of luxury SUVs, Mitsubishi has fallen behind its competitors. We haven’t seen a truly ‘new’ Pajero in a long time. However, it doesn’t diminish the fact that it is a great buy when shopping around on the second-hand market. It is comfy, capable and spacious. For around R170 000, you can get a decade-old model in reasonably good shape. This particular example has a full service history.

As you’d expect, though, it has a lot of kilometres on the clock so you’d want to have it checked out before buying. It has a 3.2-litre Di-D engine that delivers 118kW and 381Nm of torque, which isn’t a lot by the latest standards, but it’s enough to hurry the Pajero along. It certainly never feels sluggish. You still see a lot of these old Pajeros around, which shows how practical and reliable they are. If you’re looking for a practical all-round SUV that can also be used for overland journeys, a Pajero is a great buy.

The good Excellent all-round SUV
The bad More than a decade old. Lots of kilometres on the clock.

Price R169 900
Year 2006
Service history Full history
Kilometres 220 000km
Engine 3.2-litre turbodiesel
Power 118kW
Torque 381Nm
Gearbox Automatic
4WD system 4WD with low-range
Luggage 1 050 (third-row seats down)–1 790 litres


When shopping around for a used but still reliable overlander, the Prado is an obvious choice. However, because of its popularity, there aren’t a lot of bargains to be had. Still, if you take your time and shop around, you can still find a good deal. This 2004 model is a decent buy. Sure, it’s almost 15 years old, but compared to most examples out there, it has relatively low mileage (185 000km), and a full franchise service history.

The vehicle is powered by a 4.0-litre petrol mill, which means that it’s sure to be thirsty, but it reduces the odds of mechanical trouble and the cost of servicing. The engine delivers a good amount of power (179kW) and decent torque (376Nm). For a vehicle dating from the early-2000s, is quite refined and easy to live with. Should you want to go overlanding or tackle a 4×4 trail, the Prado will prove itself to be more than capable.

The good Excellent all-round vehicle.
The bad Thirsty. Used Prados are popular, and therefore pricey.

Price R169 990
Year 2004
Service history Full franchise history
Kilometres 185 000km
Engine 4.0-litre petrol
Power 179kW
Torque 376Nm
Gearbox Automatic
4WD system 4WD with low-range
Luggage Not stated


Here’s a left-field buy. Instead of opting for a decade-old SUV, why not opt for a vehicle that’s only five years old and has relatively low mileage? True, Chevrolet is exiting the South African market, but that’s exactly why you can find some excellent deals. This is a 2012 model with 120 000km on the clock. Compared to the other vehicles on this list, it’s practically brand new. It is in great condition, offers loads of space (including a third row of seats), and has a full franchise service history.

This is a lower-spec model, so you don’t get a 4×4 system, but you do get a solid 2.5-litre turbodiesel powerplant that delivers 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque while remaining relatively economical. If you’re looking for a solid family SUV, this is a good buy. The fact that the brand is leaving the country is worrying, but third-party parts suppliers appear to be stepping into the breach.

The good Excellent value for money.
The bad Chevrolet is leaving local market.

Price R175 000
Year 2012
Service history Full franchise history
Kilometres 120 000km
Engine 2.5-litre turbodiesel
Power 110kW
Torque 350Nm
Gearbox Manual
4WD system None
Luggage 205–1 830 litres

Text: GG van Rooyen