Driving a bargain

A bakkie for all purposes and an elegant, affordable family sedan

  • by Damian Murphy
  • Aug 19, 2016
  • 675
  • Reviews

 For your business 

The Chevrolet Utility

The Chevy ‘Ute’ is a practical yet rather stylish little bakkie that comes in variants ranging from a base model 1.4 to a 1.3 litre diesel or a 1.8 litre sport version. The model we tested was the 1.4 litre base model with air-conditioning.

Chevrolet hasn’t spared any expense in the safety department.

The interior, although not complete luxury, was very well fitted and neatly laid out. Air-conditioning, however, was an absolute must, and we couldn’t imagine having to spend hours in the Ute without that comfort. After all, this is a work vehicle, so you are bound to spend plenty of time behind the wheel. Having a radio is an optional extra on the base models, and for the relatively small investment; we also found it a must.

The little 1.4 litre engine packed just enough punch to get the job done, but it did lack the grunt we needed sometimes when the air-conditioning was on full whack. The five-speed gear box was smooth to operate and gear shifting was effortless and smooth. The petrol engine delivered a respectable 68kW of power at the very top end, and the 120Nm of torque provides the driver with a decent amount of pull. The pull is most noticeable when there is a full load on the back.

Thankfully, Chevrolet hasn’t spared any expense in the safety department on any of their Ute models, which is comforting to know if you are going to buy a base model like the one we tested. The Ute comes standard with ABS with EBD, driver and front passenger airbags as well as side impact beams to protect you at all times. It has a towing capacity of over half a ton, and the Ute can carry an impressive 1.1 tons in the load bay.

Overall, the Chevy Ute is a great addition to any small business and it is the top selling bakkie on the SA market for a reason. Starting at around R159 800 for the base 1.4, up to R220 900 for the 1.8 Sport, the Ute is a bargain in our books. It comes standard with a five-year/120 000km warranty and services are at 15 000 km intervals.

For your family

The Chevrolet Cruze

The family sedan market is one of the most crowded vehicle segments in South Africa at the moment. Because we live such busy lives and because everything in South Africa is generally so far apart, it is essential to have a car that can not only get you around, but can do so in an affordable manner without compromising on space.

The Chevrolet Cruze is one of those family sedans that not only fits the bill, but also doesn’t break the bank. The Cruze is a stylish four-door car, that takes a lot of its design elements straight from the manual of all those famous German sedans. It ticks all the boxes in the looks department and has a certain simple elegance. It is uncomplicated and sophisticated.

The interior is where you really get your money’s worth in the Cruze. For the price you pay, you wouldn’t expect to get things like an on-board computer with infotainment display, or a leather steering wheel, but the Cruze delivers. The interior is well laid out and very easy to operate. It is fully customised to take care of one person alone in the car, or the entire family.

The Cruze performs well and the 1.6l manual engine we tested certainly didn’t disappoint. It by no means is a speed machine and we have driven better performing 1.6l engines, but what it lacks in overall grunt from the engine, it more than makes up for in economy and comfort. The Cruze is a cruiser and it does all that is asked of it.

You may very well find a better performing family sedan, you may also find one with better features, but at around R250 000 or so, you will struggle to find anything that comes close to the value and delivery of a Cruze.