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By Miles Downard
Now that the dust is most likely settling on 2015’s Christmas and we’re all looking forward to signing off the year with a bang of some description, we take a look at the top 5 cars you should buy for your kids. To keep things civil we’ve capped the budget to a reasonable R250,000 and made sure there’s something for everyone.
What can we say, other than that we’re great fans of this – and to be honest the other – French manufacturer. And the 208 is one of its best offerings, coming in at the right price with all the trimmings, some typical flair and that all important consumer protection in the form of a 5 year maintenance plan. That’s unheard of in this segment of the market. There’s little to fault with the 208 in our books, the worst complaint being that the steering wheels blocks out your instruments. Fortunately the little 1.0 or 1.2 litre motors can be thrashed without fear of breaking any speed laws, so no need to see that speedo anyways. We can’t stop recommending this thing to people, and so we’ll also recommend it to you for your kid.
There’s something about this little Japanese manufacturer that seems to have escaped the public at large. The other Jap crowd (Toyota) have people bowing at their feet for the privilege of owning one of its vehicles. We can’t figure out why it isn’t the same for Suzuki. Regardless if you want a car that your kid, and your kid’s kids, and their kids can learn to drive in, then the Swift is your best bet. It’s insanely economical too, very important when you’re a student. It won’t shoot the lights out in a popularity contest, or in a light-to-light dash, but it’ll do everything else for years and years to come.
Odd one to make the list, but SUVs are all the rage nowadays and so it wouldn’t come as a surprise should your kid ask for one as their first car. We spend a fair bit of time trawling the likes of Autotrader just to see what’s out there – and what we’ve found is that a new Duster is almost as cheap as basically any decent 2nd hand SUV. Good start. It’s also an all round pleasant car to be in and drive. Simple, no frills, honest motoring. On top of that the Duster is actually a very capable offroader if you opt for the 4×4 model, but even if you don’t it’s still the best value for money compact SUV available.
This is an interesting pick for us. It isn’t the best car in the segment from a driver’s perspective, which would be our normal stomping ground. But it offers so much tech that’s normally reserved for a good few segments up the list, that it’s hard to ignore. With a price tag of under 250k it’s even more unbelievable. And all that kit is the sort of thing that the average youngster of today will be well stoked with, especially when bragging with his mates in res (university residence). Good on you dad.
This is for the more active youth, one who might find him/herself camping in the mountains for an evening followed by a trip to the beach the next, in Namibia. There’s enough space for one, plus a potential significant other and a bit of gear, but more importantly it’s the most capable of off roaders outside of the R1mil plus club. So you won’t need to worry about your kid calling you out to the middle of nowhere on a rescue mission in the Discovery. If you’re raising the next Kingsley Holgate, this should be his/her first car.
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