The network of Namibian Motor Trade
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The time has come to buy a new, or used (but let’s face it, it’ll be new for you) car. Not just any old car though. Maybe that luxury 4x4 or SUV is currently out of your financial reach. Perhaps there’s a new bundle of joy in the family. Either way, you’re interested in a car that offers valuable luggage space and/or can comfortably cater for family roadtrips. Nobody wants to suffer through a trip from Windhoek to Walvis Bay with their knees under their chins. Or uncomfortable toddlers moaning, crying, and fighting with one another out of frustration. With pieces of luggage pressed into various, awkward places due to a lack of space. Just….no.
Namibia’s big three manufacturers – Toyota, Volkswagen, and Ford – all have tried and trusted family-oriented vehicles for you to choose from. Let’s take a look at what each one has to offer in terms of features and affordability. After that, making a choice should be as simple as reaching out to your nearest dealer and booking a test drive!
Ford’s entry in the family hatchback market is the Figo. Looking at the Figo Trend, you’ll get a 1.5l petrol engine with a manual transmission. It comes with a 42 liter fuel tank and, in optimal driving conditions, achieves 18.5km/l. It’s worth noting that we normal folk never manage to achieve optimal driving conditions, so the reality is that the actual consumption will likely be closer to 13km/l.
The car comes with power steering, 257 liters of bootspace, and seating for five individuals. Other niceties include air conditioner, electric windows, cup holders, airbags, and keyless entry.
While Ford parts aren’t in short supply in Namibia, registered servicing agents are. Depending on where you live, it could be a big inconcenience when it comes to maintenance and repairs. It might be worth checking in with your local mechanic if they would be willing to service this car according to its specifications. If nothing else, they could advise you what your maintenance requirements will be like before you actually buy this car.
With all the nitty gritty details covered, it is time to look at the price tag. If you’re looking at buying a new car you can expect to pay in excess of N$200,000. If that’s a bit unpalatable, have a look at the available pre-owned models. Depending on the model, prices range from N$80,000 to N$190,000.
Volkswagen’s Polo is probably one of its most recognised offerings in Namibia. The latest Polos come in four models, with the Polo Trendline serving as the entry-level model. Depending on the year the car was manufactured, it will sport either a 1.2l or 1.4l Volkswagon-specific TSI engine. With a 5-gear manual transmission and 40-liter fuel tank, the factory specifications indicate the car can achieve a fuel consumption rate of 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers. Put another way, you get roughly 22km/l. Again, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, unless you see yourself driving in optimal conditions on a regular basis.
These cars also feature power steering, seating for five people, and 350 liters of bootspace. Other features to look forward to include: USB and Bluetooth connectivity for phones, airbags, alarm, air conditioner, electric windows, and heat-insulating glass in the side and rear windows.
Comfortably occupying the second position in the Namibian car market means that there are sufficient dealers or servicing agents to see to your car’s needs. There should also be sufficent stock available if you need to provide your own mechanic with the necessary parts in case you aren’t able to make use of the registered Volkswagen shops.
All these features come with a price. Buying a new Trendline will set you back roughly N$200,000. Happily, the price drops quite significantly if you are willing to buy a pre-owned vehicle. Used Trendlines vary between N$80,000 and N$170,000. Naturally, the higher end models will cost more across the board.
As the undisputed king in the Namibian car market, Toyota has a variety of options to choose from for the hatchback, family-oriented car. For the purpose of this article, we’ve selected the Toyota Etios 1.5 Xi. This entry has a 1.5l petrol engine, only comes with a manual transmission, and can hold 45 liters of petrol at a time. The manufacturers promote a fuel efficiency level of 16km/l, but by now we know about the disclaimer about optimal driving conditions. Depending on the way and conditions you drive in, expect about 12-14km/l from your car.
This car also sports power steering and seating for five people. The bootspace runs to about 251 liters. Surprisingly, this model does not come with electric windows. However, you will get airconditioner, airbags, and central locking.
Being the market leader, there will be no shortage of available parts for this car. There are numerous dealers who specialise in Toyota and are registered service providers. Its popularity also means that most regular mechanics will also be willing to work on a Toyota, and do a good job on it.
The spread in price between the various Etios models is actually quite small, especially compared to that of the Volkswagen Polos. For a new Etios you will be looking at something between N$190,000 and N$210,000. On the second hand market there are some gems available for below NS100,000. However, you’re more likely to spend between N$110,000 and N$180,000 for a recent used model.
Which one should you choose? That’s entirely up to you. They are all good options and on almost equal footing in terms of price per feature. Polos outshine the competition in terms of bootspace. However, that’s likely also a big contributor to the higher price tag for the brand. Figos come with slightly more features than the Etios for roughly the same price. Toyota can offset this with the more readily available parts and service centers.
At the end of the day, unlike your family, you can definitely choose your own car!
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