What is the best small automatic?

Ivan Leon

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Hate shifting? Here are South Africa’s five cheapest new automatic cars - Wheels24​

• Gridlock traffic is causing motorists to opt for automatic transmissions.
• This trend is forcing automakers to follow suit.
• We list the five cheapest auto models in SA.


As much as the old-school petrolheads among us adore the manual gearbox, there's no denying the presence of a third pedal is a largely unwelcome one when stuck in soul-destroying traffic. While manually swapping cogs as you scythe through a deserted mountain pass makes for an appropriately visceral experience (in the right car, anyway), it becomes something of a chore when dealing with the daily gridlock.

It's for this reason motorists are increasingly turning their backs on the humble manual transmission, in turn compelling automakers the world over to tailor their line-ups to suit. That means the slowly disappearing stick shift is these days largely limited to doing duty in performance vehicles (though even there, they're fading) and the most basic of budget cars.

That's not to say South Africa's new vehicle market doesn't include a handful of wallet-friendly two-pedal cars. We've combed through the data and picked out the five cheapest vehicles – each bearing a sub-R200 000 sticker price – that come equipped with an automatic transmission. Let's dive right in...
 

Sumen

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Instead of starting a new thread I'll just continue this one:

I am also looking for a reliable small auto, max budget R200k, preferably new or almost new.

So far, the list is:
1. Kia Picanto 1.0 AT Start
2. Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion AMT
3. Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GL AMT

Are there any other options worth considering that are reliable, cheap to run/maintain/insure, have a long warranty (5+ years) etc.
Renault Clio https://www.autotrader.co.za/redirect/listing/26235945

You can always extend the warranty.

You just wasting R200k on those unsafe cars.
 

Medres

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Used a Honda brio hatch for just over a year, that little egg was bullet proof
 

Instacar

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I also don't get the fascination with these small cars, but maybe I am old fashioned.
Can probably name 10 new budget cars from India alone currently under 200k so the South African market is filled with cheapish new cars and manufacturers are pushing volumes with adverts, making it hip & trendy.

I think however the current amount of budget cars that are sold, has much to do with the fact that lockdown has had an economic impact on almost every household, so debt is higher, people cut back from luxury spending and perhaps many cannot be approved for vehicles outside of this price range.
 

Sumen

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SauRoNZA

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“It should be noted here that while the Picanto in European markets receives a wide range of safety equipment as standard, these safety features are not even offered as optional on the car on sale in Latin and Caribbean markets.”

Looking at the other two links it’s also rather specific to the Indian market versions of the cars and not the ones we get here (to my knowledge).

And sure your comments on body structure could translate across but it’s also not the case for the Picanto mentioned. Usually these cars come from completely different factories and these kinds of things are very specific to those territories.
 
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SauRoNZA

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Only 2 airbags and no VSC plus a couple of other active safety features that comes standard in the Clio, plus being tiny is also a disadvantage on its own in a crash.

So “less safe” than the Clio then.

Very very far stretch to “unsafe”.

I would say a French car likely to break down at random is far more of a safety hazard in this country than how it performs in a crash.
 

Ϲhristopher

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Renault Clio https://www.autotrader.co.za/redirect/listing/26235945

You can always extend the warranty.

You just wasting R200k on those unsafe cars.
An aftermarket warranty is probably not going to come close to a factory warranty, it also costs money. While I don't think French cars are as unreliable as people make them out to be, issues like parts availability might be a problem. I have a friend who had an accident with the same model Clio and had to wait weeks for parts that weren't available.
The Clio is also a bit more expensive to insure than the Picanto and it will likely also cost quite a bit more to maintain.
 

Claymore

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Renault Captur second-hand is really nice. Decent car, and the turbocharged engine and DCT go together really well.
 
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