It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for a house, a computer, a mountain bike or a 4×4; there’s what your head says you need, and then there’s what your heart says you absolutely must have. Here’s how you should, and shouldn’t, spend R300 000.
Have you ever been to Hi-Fi Corporation with the intention of buying a vacuum cleaner but instead, you’ve come home with a flat-screen television or PlayStation 4? Well, don’t worry about it; we understand. These things happen. It was on special for one day only. They were practically giving it away. It was an offer too good to refuse (and so on). As much as we’d like to think that our buying choices are rational, our impulses get the better of us occasionally. Most of the time, we can get away with it. If, for example, you’re asked to pick up groceries but come home with four large pizzas instead, you might very well be hailed as the family hero. Similarly, you might experience some buyer’s remorse if you allowed the salesperson to talk you into a 55-inch curved OLED TV, but ultimately it’s not the end of the world.
However, things can go very wrong when we start making bad choices on some big-ticket items; like a car, for instance. Make a bad buying decision, and you’ll literally be paying for it for years to come. With that in mind, let’s play a game called ‘Good Buy, Bad Buy’. We’ll look at a sensible and rational buy in the R300 000-range, and contrast it with a what-the-hell-were-you-thinking purchasing decision.
The people mover
Your needs You’ve got three kids and a fourth on the way. You need something sensible with which you can safely and reliably transport your family. It’s all about space and practicality.
Your wants Okay, so you’ve become that guy; the one who drives around from one kids’ party to the next in an MPV. But maybe you can compromise. Isn’t there something with a little pizzazz? You just want to show people you’re still a little bit of a rebel.
VW Caddy Trendline 2.0 TDI
If you’re looking for something to move people about, the VW Caddy is a great option. It’s spacious, reliable, frugal and about as attractive as you can expect a van to be. This particular Caddy is a solid example. It’s very clean and has only 31 000km on the clock. It’s practically new. You’d struggle to find a more sensible buy. Your wife and mother will be very proud.
Price R289 950
Mileage 31 000km
Engine Two-litre turbodiesel
Transmission Five-speed manual
TX4 London Taxi
We’re not joking. We found this vehicle for sale locally on Gumtree (it’s standing in Midrand, should you be interested). It is a proper London taxi. What’s good about it? Not much. It’s ugly, underpowered, and it will be impossible to find parts for. But just imagine what your mates will say when you arrive at the braai in this thing. It’ll be mental! You’ll be a legend! Who says an MPV must be boring?
Price R299 000
Mileage 8 000 miles (12 874km)
Engine 2.5-litre diesel
Transmission Five-speed auto
The serious 4×4
Your needs You need a practical vehicle that you can drive every day, but which can handle a serious 4×4 trail over the weekend.
Your wants You don’t like to blow your own horn, but you’re pretty good at this whole ‘4×4 thing’. You’ve taken your previous soft-roader where few people would take a pukka 4×4. So you want a vehicle that can keep up with your considerable skills.
2013 Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4×4
Is a Fortuner a pukka 4×4? Well, it’s not a Wrangler Rubicon or a G-Class, but it is plenty capable. Chances are it’ll handle anything your average weekend warrior has in mind. Plus, it’s a comfortable SUV that’s frugal and easy to live with on a daily basis. It’s one of the best all-round 4×4s out there. This particular example has a bit more on the clock than we’d like, but it is clean and has a full franchise service history. As long as you don’t roll it on a 4×4 trail, it’ll hold its value well.
Price R280 000
Mileage 112 500km
Engine Three-litre turbodiesel
Transmission Five-speed manual
The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is such a sought-after vehicle that someone can ask R300 000 for one that’s more than 30 years old. If you’re into serious off-road driving, it’s especially tempting since it has a reputation for being phenomenal in 4×4 situations. But it’s not a very good buy. It is old and basic and not easy to live with at all. Sitting in traffic will become irritating very quickly. Also, after 30 years it’s been tampered with so much that you don’t really know what you’re getting.
It’s impossible to know what the mileage truly is, and this one has been fitted with a newer 606 Mercedes engine (which was produced from 1993 to 2001). If you’re a collector with money to burn, you might be able to justify buying it, but otherwise, stay away. There’s also no way you’re getting finance on a vehicle of this age.
Price R300 000
Mileage Who knows
Engine Three-litre diesel
Transmission Six-speed manual
The family SUV
Your needs You need a spacious family SUV that you can drive during the week, but that can also handle overlanding and 4×4 situations.
Your wants You’re looking for something with personality – the sort of thing Arnold Schwarzenegger would drive. The last thing you want is what everyone else is driving.
Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8D 4X4 LTZ 4×4 auto
Yes, it’s a bit more than R300 000, but this Trailblazer is still a good buy. It’s a top-spec model with 4×4, and it has less than 100 000km on the clock. It also has a full franchise service history. With its powerful but frugal engine, you can drive it every day, and it will perform well on longer trips, too. It’ll also be able to 4×4, should you ask it to. It’s perhaps not the most exciting or unique SUV, but it is a lot less common than the Fortuner. So you’ll still stand out a bit.
Price R329 900
Mileage 91 672km
Engine 2.8-litre turbodiesel
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Hummer H3 V8 Auto
There is something cool about the Hummer, no doubt. It’s bold and impressive. You’ll certainly stand out from the crowd. However, this is a very, very bad buy. It’s got lot of kilometres on the clock, that V8 engine is incredibly thirsty and its size makes it hard to manoeuvre in traffic. There’s also the fact that parts will become harder and harder to find, since the whole brand has gone under.
Price R255 000
Mileage 178 000km
Engine 5.3-litre V8 petrol
Transmission Four-speed automatic