Looking for a pre-owned car? These offerings below R50 000 from unfamiliar brands are worth considering

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  • All makes and models are listed below R50 000.
  • The list does not feature popular brands like Toyota or Volkswagen.
  • All the automakers listed no longer sell vehicles as brand-new in SA, so while the price is affordable, you need to consider maintenance and aftermarket support.

Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen are household, automotive names in SA, but would you try these less popular cars if you're looking for something cheap and easy to maintain?

'New year, new me' is the phrase we tend to use with the turn of a new year. Aiming to drop a few kilos or (trying) to stop smoking is the usual resolution, while buying a (first) car is a motivation for someone else.

It is becoming increasingly imperative to own a vehicle in South Africa, mainly due to the volatility of public transport and personal safety. Owning a car gives a sense of freedom and security, making it rewarding.

That said, applying for vehicle finance or a personal loan is the best and fastest way to go about it, while some prefer to save a portion every month which can take longer. The pre-owned market is filled with all sorts of makes and models, some in better shape than others.

Tata Indica
Tata Indica

Buy smartly

When any vehicle is advertised with a relatively cheap price tag (mainly on online classified sites), the assumption is that it's too good to be true or there's a potential scammer waiting to pounce unexpectedly. Fortunately, this isn't always the case, and a 'diamond in the rough' could be waiting in the wings, though it might not always be the make or model you thought you wanted.

What are the criteria you factor into your decision when buying a pre-owned vehicle? Please share your comments in the section below the article.

Using the AutoTrader dealer classifieds as a base, we've put together five pre-owned makes and models that are listed for less than R50 000 and with reasonably low mileage - the majority have less than 160 000km on the clock. Perhaps the only downside of buying a car from an unfamiliar brand is part availability.

With that said, many discontinued vehicles still have vast support availability in parts, servicing and maintenance. 

The secret to owning a problem-free car is regular maintenance when issues need attention. In other cases, some cars come with endless mechanical issues.

Driving with J9 | The honest truth about buying a used car - what you really should know

Many of the cars on the list below are older-generation vehicles; frankly, build quality wasn't always their strong point. But, if you're looking for an inconspicuous little run-around and something that is relatively easy and affordable to maintain, these vehicles could be exactly what you need - provided you don't need to travel too far. Or perhaps, you want an affordable car for a youngster who wants their first car or needs something to get to college or university?

Tata vehicles have a much better reputation than they did back then, while any MG cars are now considered classic models and are sought-after.

Either way, you have to check the vehicle thoroughly before letting go of your money. Insist on roadworthy checks, and ensure you take it for a drive and listen carefully to how it sounds. Also, look under the bonnet in the engine bay, open the doors and boot and check hinges, etc; look for differences in the body's paintwork. And, lastly, ask lots of questions!

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