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The best cars for students and graduates

Vehicle purchasing decisions are no longer governed by the notion of “I want a car” but rather by “my lifestyle requires a car” – and being a student is no different. Moving from one class or campus to another, and adhering to employment obligations, for some, can prove to be difficult without a set of reliable wheels.
The Consumer Awards powered by WesBank provides a trusted voice for consumers to consider when making that all-important car buying decision, and the budget vehicle category is one of 13 car categories in these industry awards. The price cap for this category is R200,000 and it is aimed at identifying a stylish and trendy car for the value, in addition to the more practical aspects.
Fuel costs, tyres, services, as well as last years’ VAT increase, all have a significant impact on the car buying decision, and it is therefore important to consider the economics of a buying decision, especially because it is a long-term commitment.
The path to purchasing a vehicle can be stressful for students and graduates, especially because they do not always have a credit history. They also have to factor in the daily running cost of the vehicle and the complexity of budgeting in this way might be new to them. However, this does not mean the graduate is left to buy anything less than what their heart may desire, or compromise on style, practicality and most importantly safety! and all such “common sense” considerations. The price cap in this category is set at R200 000.
“The first purchase is always exciting, yet scary at the same time. It is therefore imperative to be clear about one’s needs as well as affordability.” said Ghana Msibi, WesBank’s Executive Head of Sales and Marketing.
“The Consumer Awards gives car manufactures and consumers a great platform to better evaluate particular cars based on their needs, whilst also involving the most important stakeholders, the consumers, in choosing the deserving winner in the respective categories,” concludes Msibi.
The winner of the budget category will be evaluated and selected based on the following aspects:

  • Fuel Economy
  • Value for money
  • Practicality
  • Brand strength – which refers to preference for established brands with a proven track record; includes peace of mind that comes from a large servicing network, resale value, a strong warranty and length of service plan

According to Khulekani Dumisa, motoring expert and Budget Car judge “The winner of this category will essentially represent as much a reliable and trendy car as possible for the money. Value is very important, as are running costs and all such “common sense” considerations. Being part of the judging panel and particularly being exposed to this category, even though my student days are long gone, has opened me up to how car manufactures are slowly giving consumers, even first-time buyers, great value for money; spending wisely and driving in style”.
Information about the Consumer Awards can be found on and its social media channels, using the #CarsAwards hashtag. To participate in the Ownership Satisfaction Survey consumers can visit
The 13 categories and respective finalists are:
1.Budget Car (up to R200k)
Kia Picanto 1.2 Style
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL
Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4 Comfortline
2. Compact Hatch (from R200k to R300k)
Ford Fiesta 1.0T Titanium
Mazda2 1.5 Individual Plus auto
Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI Comfortline auto
3.Premium Compact (from R450k to R600k)
Mercedes-Benz A200 AMG Line
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Volvo XC40 T3 R-Design
4.Compact Family Car (from R300k to R400k)
Ford EcoSport 1.0 Titanium Auto
Hyundai Creta 1.6D Executive
Nissan Qashqai 1.2 Acenta Auto
5.Family Car (from R400k to R500k)
Mazda CX-5 2.0 Individual
Peugeot 3008 2.0 HDI Allure
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 1.4 TSI Trendline
6.Business Class (from R600k to R800k)
Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI S-Line
Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG
VW Arteon 2.0TSI 4Motion R-Line
7.Leisure Double-Cab Bakkie (from R500k to R800k)
Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak 4×4 Auto
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider Auto
Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion Highline Plus
8.Adventure SUV (from R550k to R700k)
Ford Everest 3.2 4WD XLT
Isuzu MU-X 3.0 4WD
Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto
9.Executive SUV (from R700k to R900k)
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S-Line
BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport auto
Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design
10.Premium SUV (from R1m to R1.3m)
Porsche Cayenne S
Range Rover Velar D300 R-Dynamic SE
Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI Luxury R-Line
11.Hot Hatch (below R700 000)
BMW M140i 5-door sports auto
Honda Civic Type R
Renault Megane RS Lux
12.Performance Car (below R1 million)
Audi TT RS
BMW M2 Competition
Porsche 718 Cayman S Automatic
13.Executive Sedan (from R800k to R1 million)
BMW 520d M Sport
Mercedes-Benz E220d Avantgarde
Volvo S90 D5 R-Design