Most powerful cars in South Africa under R800,000 — with an electric model on top

The most powerful car South Africans can buy under R800,000 is an electric vehicle (EV) — the Volvo EX30.

The compact electrified SUV rolled out to local shores in early 2024, and it is Volvo’s smallest car and most affordable EV yet.

The dual-motor version of the EX30 is also its fastest-accelerating production model ever — going 0–100km/h in just 3.6 seconds.

However, you will have to cough up at least R935,900 for that particular variant.

Nevertheless, the single-motor sibling with 200kW output and 343Nm of torque is anything but slow — with an acceleration of 0–100km/h in 5.7 seconds.

That makes it faster than the petrol-powered Volkswagen Golf GTI and BMW 128ti, both of which cost more.

It is worth keeping in mind that you will still have to pay a handsome monthly fee if you plan to finance your EX30.

If paid over five years at an interest rate of 13%, the premium will run about R17,751 if you don’t opt for a balloon payment at the end of your term.

Over six years, the premium drops to R15,669.

Top Auto previously calculated that you would have to earn a salary of R86,000 if you want to buy the EX30 while sticking to financial experts’ advice of not spending over 20% of your monthly gross income on vehicle repayments.

Photographer: Francesca Volpi/Bloomberg

Other powerful options

There is a wide variety of body types among the most powerful cars selling for under R800,00 in South Africa.

Joining the BMW and VW hatches is the Mini John Cooper Works 3-door model.

For those to which the more conventional sports car body appeals, Toyota offers the GR86 with 174kW and 250Nm for R763,100.

Buyers interested in comfort can opt for one of three high-end SUVs — the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max, Haval 1.5T HEV Ultra Luxury, or the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.

The adventurous can get the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 4.0 V6 single cab or Jeep Wrangler-like BAIC B40 Plus 2.0T for R763,100 or R609,500, respectively.

The Land Cruiser boasts 170kW of power compared to 160kW for the BAIC, but the latter offers faster acceleration.

Below are 10 of the most powerful cars you can buy in South Africa for under R800,000 in January 2024.


Volvo EX30 Single Motor — R775,900

  • Power/torque: 200kW/343Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 5.7 seconds


Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max 2.0TGDI 390T Executive— R669,900

  • Power/torque: 187kW/390Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 7.3 seconds


Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0 TSI — R793,500

  • Power/torque: 180kW/370Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 6.3 seconds


BMW 128ti — R789,260

  • Power/torque: 180kW/380Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 6.1 seconds


Haval H6 1.5T HEV Ultra Luxury — R669,950

  • Power/torque: 179kW/530Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 8.3 seconds


Toyota GR86 2.4 Manual — R763,100

  • Power/torque: 174kW/250Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 6.3 seconds


Toyota Land Cruiser 79 4.0 V6 single cab — R749,200

  • Power/torque: 170kW/360Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 12.6 seconds


Mini John Cooper Works Hatch 3-door — R691,438

  • Power/torque: 170kW/320Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 6.1 seconds


Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid GX-R E-Four — R748,700

  • Power/torque: 163kW/221+e
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: Unspecified


BAIC B40 Plus 2.0T — R609,500

  • Power/torque: 160kW/320Nm
  • Acceleration from 0-100km/h: 9.6 seconds

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Most powerful cars in South Africa under R800,000 — with an electric model on top