Category: Comparison

Spring is coming! There’s a convertible for everybody.

A convertible for everybody.

Ah! Us South African’s love a good drop-top, don’t we? I mean , what’s better than cruising in the summer heat, feeling sticky whilst the leather seats give us 3rd degree burns? The reality is convertibles should be marketed as winter cars locally, because thankfully we have sunshine and a cool breeze to accompany us. This is assuming you live in Johannesburg, if you’re from Cape Town…eish askies. So, for those looking to get into summer looking fabulous, here are some cars that you might like. We’ve catered for ranging budgets here, so here goes:

Toyota Aygo X-Cite: R 189 500

Coming in at under R200K, this is a car aimed at the young, wild and free. Wild may be an overstatement since it only has a 1.0 litre engine and I don’t know if you can technically call it a convertible, but it will still allow you to feel the wind in your hair. Overall the Aygo X-Cite is an accomplished little car. It’s from a reliable brand, has great connectivity options and is well priced considering the price of anything nowadays. For someone starting out, it’s a decent drop-top to go for.

Toyota Aygo

Fiat 500C: R 240 900

If you can’t spend more than R300K and you happen to be what the youth refer to as a “hipster”, then the Fiat 500C is right up your alley. It has the “I only drink almond milk” appeal to it. Jokes aside, this is a good little car with trendy looks and a summer vibe. It only has a 0.9 litre turbocharged engine but it will still get you from A to B. Again, this is a youthful car, or rather, for someone who doesn’t require much space, as it is compact. It has all the safety features you need and you  also allows you to pair your phone and jam some Katy Perry.

Fiat 500 C

Mazda MX5 Roadster: R 441 700

In theory, this car was meant to be under R400K but we’ll let that extra bit slide. The MX5 really needs no introduction, it’s a small, visceral car that has tons of personality. For decades, the MX5 has offered thrills with its normally aspirated engine and terrific gearbox. The new one doesn’t disappoint toot, too. With it comes a BOSE sound system, heated leather seats and a big grin. It doesn’t have too much power but has enough to keep you driving. If you want some fun at under R500K, this is one great choice.

BMW 2 Series Convertible: R 600 084

Literally scraping the R600K mark, the 2 Series Convertible is a winner in SA with BMW being a brand of aspiration and all. The 220i is what you can get for that money and it gives you a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that has enough power to match its good looks. It’s only available with an 8-speed automatic gearbox so cruising is a stress free thing since all the work is done for you. Those looking for more power have a 230i to choose from and if that’s not enough then there is the M240i, but those cars cost much more. The people’s choice, then, is the 220i since it offers the performance and the looks at a palatable price.

Mercedes C Class Convertible/ Audi A5 Convertible/ BMW 4 Series Convertible -/+ R700 000

These three cars are start at the same price bracket of approximately R700K. All are German engineered and all offer 2.0 litre turbocharged engines as a starting point. There’s really no point is us telling you what’s better than what because it’s all subjective after all, there is no bad car amongst these three. What we can tell you is that all three cars appeal to different people. BMW has always been associated with dynamic driving, whilst Audi is the more chicer option. The Mercedes-Benz is stereotypically the classy car but all of them do the same thing, basically. They are luxurious, they have great standard kit and they carry enough swag to make people look. Isn’t that the whole point of having a drop top? Either way, these are three very good cars indeed.

Audi A5 Convertible

Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Powershift

Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Powershift in South Africa

The newly launched Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R Line is a nifty little thing. The exterior look of this car is one that will pique the interest of many buyers. It’s marketed as a “performance” Polo despite it only having a 1.0 litre engine with 3 cylinders, but after driving it we can confirm that its nippy. The question then for you as a buyer is what’s the better buy, this new Polo TSI or perhaps the also-very-good Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Titanium?

 

The specs:

The Ford has been around for a while as consumers have loved the 3 cylinder 1.0 litre EcBoost engine it offers. With 74kW and 170Nm, the little Ford produces good numbers for both city and open road driving thanks to turbocharging. Equipped with the 6 speed PowerShift gearbox, it makes being stuck in traffic bearable since your left foot can rest. The Volkswagen Polo 1.0 litre TSI R Line has similar figures in terms of displacement and forced induction. It too has 3 cylinders but produces more power with 81kW and 200Nm. The difference is not huge but will be felt by keen motorists who love to drive in a hurry. Since both these cars have tiny engines, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that they would be frugal on fuel. The Fiesta has a great claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 4.9 litres/100km, but the Polo edges ahead with a claimed figure of 4.4 litres/100km, again very closely matched.

The looks: 

In this segment, aesthetics play a huge role as cars like these are aimed at youthful individuals and let’s face it, the youth “like things”. In that case then choosing between the Ford and the Volkswagen may be a challenge as they both look great. The Fiesta has ST bits on it, making it look nice and sporty. The Volkswagen on the other hand comes equipped with the R-Line package, giving it too a racier look. On the inside is where the Polo has the slight upper hand as the cabin layout is simpler whereas the Fiesta is a bit too busy. Both cars offer connectivity such as Bluetooth and USB as well as auxiliary input. The new infotainment screen on the Polo is the nicer of the two but Fords SYNC system is quite good to use as well. In terms of overall appeal, the cars are again closely matched but the Volkswagen has a disadvantage. The fact that there are so many on the road may make the car seem more “common” but the R-Line kit can set it apart. Both cars are also four doors so they’re on par when it comes to space and access into the rear.

The Drive:  

The spikey nature of the Fiesta has always been something we’ve enjoyed about the car, it’s an engine with character. As mentioned having an automatic gearbox makes the car easy to live with day to day, so it will be a dream in the city. The Polo however is more of an angry little car. The DSG gearbox in the car has changed the character of the vehicle, giving it an immediacy that’s quite surprising. The way the VW handles too is something you don’t expect from a little 1.0 litre car. The Fiesta will be the one you want if you’re of a more relaxed disposition, whereas the Polo wants to have more fun.

Overall:

Both these cars are great vehicles indeed. At the end of the day it all comes down to preference and of course price. At R290 000, the Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line is not exactly cheap, the Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Titanium comes in cheaper at R274 900. That price tag comes with a 4 year/60 000km service plan which is a good deal. The Polo only comes with a 3 year/45 000km service plan. So what will you buy? These cars are marketed differently but offer very similar specs. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, we recommend the Polo, but if you want to save some bucks and still have a banging little cool car, the Fiesta is a very good choice too.