South Africa’s Best-Selling Cars Under R50K

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South Africa’s Best-Selling Cars Under R50K

The festive season can often bring hefty price tags. Apart from the cost of living during this particularly social time of the year, there’s the price of Christmas presents for loved ones and long-awaited holiday destinations. There might even be a car on the festive shopping wishlist.

But what if the budget only stretches to a car costing no more than R50,000? What budget-friendly and reliable options can consumers find on the used car market in this price bracket?

Cars priced under R50,000 are expected to be somewhat long in the tooth, high on mileage and short on creature comforts. Yet, whilst no youngsters, most of the cars that featured in AutoTrader’s top ten used car models sold under R50,000 are still able to stand the test of time.

There’s the ever-popular Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p ) Polo hatchback with the highest average price of R40,204, Mercedes-Benz E-Class executive sedan with the lowest, and the Toyota Corolla sedan, the oldest. With the exception of the Tata Indica, all models are aged between 18 and 28 years with an average mileage in excess of 200,000km.

The youngest in the top ten line-up is the Tata Indica, with 13-year-old models selling on average for R32,882. Historically,

South Africans have grappled with the quality of Indian-manufactured cars, so despite being the second cheapest and having the lowest average mileage (144,215km), the 1.4-litre manual hatchback was outsold by significantly older models with considerably higher mileages. Not particularly renowned for its fuel efficiency, consumption in its youth was around 9/10-litres/100km.

“Fuel efficiency can decline with age, however this has less to do with the age of the engine and more to do with how the car is maintained. The fuel efficiency of poorly maintained cars will continue to reduce over time,” explains George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader.

Still going strong after 26 years and an average of 304,251km speaks volumes about German engineering and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Selling on average for R31,298, the luxury 5-seater sedan boasts an elegant interior with wooden trim, leather seats, traction control and airbags among its features. The automatic 2.8-litre petrol variant claimed consumption of 10-litres/100km.

Smaller sibling the Mercedes-Benz C-Class heads sales with an average selling price of R36,624 for 22-year-old models, followed by the fuel-frugal (between 5.9 and 7.9-litres/100km) and well-packaged Opel Corsa hatchback. Premium sedan favourite the BMW 3 Series rounds up the top three ahead of the facelifted version of the original Volkswagen Golf, the VW Citi.

The oldest of the top ten is the robust and reliable Toyota Corolla, still on the move after 28 years and 301,047km. One of the country’s most popular family sedans at the time (SUVs were not yet trending), a new 1.3-litre Corolla cost R51,000-odd while the flagship fuel-injected 1.8-litre was priced around R96,000. Today, 28-year-old Corollas sell on average for R39,382.

Strong and built to last, if properly maintained these older generation cars still have plenty of life left in them for consumers looking for a budget-friendly car.

Top 10 most sold used cars priced under R50 000

Ranked by most sold


Price (R) Average

Mileage (km) Average

Average Registration Year


Mercedes-Benz C-Class

R36 624

278 729



Opel Corsa

R37 060

221 962



BMW 3 Series

R39 323

265 122



Volkswagen Citi

R33 240

235 913



Ford (NYSE: F ) Fiesta

R39 267

210 934



Volkswagen Polo

R40 204

222 364



Tata Indica

R32 882

144 215



Toyota Corolla

R39 382

301 047



Mercedes-Benz E-Class

R31 298

304 251



Renault (EPA: RENA ) Clio

R33 550

202 849


Source: AutoTrader Used Car Sales data: 1 January – 31 October 2023

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