South African motorists were in for a nasty surprise on Wednesday (3 November) when fuel prices were set for another increase. According to the Automobile Association, diesel went up by R1.48/litre, illuminating paraffin was set to jump by a staggering R1.45/litre, and petrol increased by R1.21/litre for an inland price at the pumps of R19.54/litre of ULP95.
It is by no means a comforting thought for our countrymen and -women trying to make ends meet. The fuel price hike will have far-reaching effects than just at the pumps, as it will directly impact living costs, as well.
The AA says: “The fuel price has a direct bearing on an already weak economy as it continues to drive up inflation on essential consumer goods and affects every South African. As we have said many times in the past, all the fuel elements must be fully interrogated to determine if they are necessary. Given that the fuel prices are now at record highs, such a review is overdue.”
SA’s most fuel-efficient cars
While the increases are intense, it could also affect how and where prospective buyers will spend their hard-earned cash when acquiring a new vehicle. The ideal option would probably have been an electric vehicle, but a lack of infrastructure and too-long charging times are some of the things that rest heavily on South Africans’ minds.
To keep it simple, we took a look at three fuel-efficient vehicles in South Africa – one each powered by a diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrain.
The Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Xs (R419 900) is not only the second most-affordable hybrid vehicle in South Africa, but it is the most efficient of its kind. The 1.8-litre naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol engine is mated to an electric battery, with total power output rated at 90kW and 142Nm. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) channels power to the front wheels, and Toyota claims a fuel return of 3.5-litres/100km.
With the 43L fuel tank filled, the Corolla Hybrid has a theoretical range of 1 229km.
One of the most efficient diesel vehicles in South Africa is the Mercedes-Benz CLA 220d, available in both Progressive R805 240) and AMG Line (R834 240) trims. The car shares its underpinnings with the A-Class sedan and is powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. With power rated at 140kW and 400Nm, the front-wheel driven CLA 220d has a fuel return of just 4.4-litres/100km.
It also has a 43L fuel tank, allowing for a theoretical range of 977km on a full tank of fuel. An eight-speed automatic transmission does transfer duties.
If the CLA 220d’s price is too aggressive, the A 200d has a starting price of R724 000. While the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine has the same power output, torque is down by 80Nm versus the CLA 220d. Here, fuel consumption is rated at 4.5-litres/100km.
Both the Corolla Hybrid and CLA 220d are above the paygrade for many South Africans. Therefore, it is only natural that the petrol brigade’s efficient offering is both a favourite and easy on the pocket. The Suzuki Swift 1.2 GA is the entry-level model in the Swift range and comes in at R180 900. Its naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine offers 61kW and 113Nm, and fuel consumption is rated at 4.9-litres/100km.
A five-speed manual gearbox sends power to the front wheels.
Source: Charlen Raymond (www.wheels24.co.za)