Great value for money

Kia produces winners for business and leisure drivers

At the most recent Wesbank South African Guild of Motoring Journalists Car of the Year awards banquet, the Porsche Panamera won, making it the 4th time in five years that the German luxury car maker has won the top prize. No one can deny how incredible the Porsche is, but in the grand scheme of things, it is out of the financial reach of 99% of us, and the South African Car of the Year really should represent a car for South Africans. So here's our pick for Car of the Year, for you and for your business.

For you

Some of the worthy finalists, who didn’t make the top three, were the Suzuki Ignis and the Kia Picanto. We thought for love or money that the final decision would be between these two worthy entrants to the top 10. Our favourite for the evening was the Kia. The little Picanto punches way above its weight and offers the owner incredible value for money and is a great overall car for drivers of all ages.

The K2500 is a fabulous all-round performer from the reliable Korean brand Kia. At under R300 000, it delivers above its weight in a saturated market.

At under R140 000, the Picanto is a complete package. Yes, it is small, both on the outside and in, but you have the illusion of grandeur when you drive it. The nippy 1.0 litre engine provides plenty of thrills and delivers enough power never to feel sluggish. The 1.2 litre variant is even better and often feels like a go-kart behind the wheel.

Inside this stylish little motorcar is where you see the most bang for your buck. A vivid 7" colour LCD screen is shared by the rear-view camera and the audio system. The large screen makes it simple to select radio stations and operate other audio system controls with the touch of a finger. You can connect audio players and mobile devices via USB or mini-RCA cables for instant playback. And with buttons mounted on the steering wheel that let you adjust audio functions, you never have to take your eyes off the road. The entire interior is well laid out and feels spacious, even with four adult passengers. The luggage space in the boot is tiny, but it is a sacrifice worth making for all the other perks you get.

For your business

The competition for space is crazy in the workhorse segment of the South African market. It feels like everyone is trying to undercut everyone else in order to get the consumers' much-desired business. This has its benefits for the man on the street who is trying to get by and earn a decent wage, but through all the price competition, what are the good deals?

The Kia K2500 is a standout in this specific segment. It seems like only a handful of years ago that Kia was nothing more than a fringe brand struggling to get by in South Africa, but over the last decade or so, it has invested heavily in delivering great vehicles at affordable prices, making sure the cars tick all the right boxes.

The inside of the K2500 is packed with incredible features you often don’t find in these kinds of vehicles. The multifunctional centre console allows the driver organisational space for miscellaneous items. The front centre seatback folds down to reveal the multifunctional console for practical storage, in addition to a storage space within the centre console. The seating is comfortable and adjustable enough to provide a preferred driving position if you are planning on spending a lot of time behind the wheel.

It has an impressive load capacity and multiple features to ensure the longevity of your investment, with features such as a covered rear gate chain to protect the chain from corrosion and maintain lifelong use. The folding-type stopper safely props up longer items that extend beyond the bed and the easily operated catcher has a better grip thanks to its ergonomic handle and an inner spring to ensure smooth movement.

The K2500 is a fabulous all-round performer from the reliable Korean brand Kia. At under R300 000, it delivers above its weight in a saturated market.