Automatic limits choice of new cars

Dear Morgan,

Dear Morgan,

My wife and I would like to buy a brand new car. She can only drive automatic cars so we are looking for a family automatic vehicle in the range of about R100000 - R110000.

We are presently a family of five, planning some day for the sixth member. We are looking for something that has great fuel efficiency and is spacious with safety features.

It does not have to be fast, but must give us comfort on long trips, which we do quite often. Though not necessary, we want something with good looks as well.

Could you advise us on a good buy, either a sedan or 4x4, or whatever you think is best.

I have read your advice quite a few times, I think it's great!!!


Dear Branden

Unfortunately anything automatic is a little pricier so you might need to save up some money for a bigger deposit or perhaps even consider buying on residual so that your instalments can be pegged at a slightly lower monthly figure.

Cars like the seven-seater Toyota Avanza are pretty zippy with adequate space and functionality, but no automatic gearbox yet.

Chinese car maker Chana will also be launching the hugely impressive CM8 multipurpose vehicle next year and this is spacious and robust with two possible engine derivatives on order. Again, I doubt whether an automatic version will be part of the initial launch for this vehicle.

My suggestion is that you shop around for a Toyota Corolla Verso MPV, or even the Opel Zafira, which are considerably more than you want to spend, but will more than meet your needs for reliability, good fuel consumption and affordability. Speak to your bank or car dealership about a residual deal with guaranteed buy-back option that might enable you to buy in a higher price range.

If your family is going to grow further, even a sedan will end up being uncomfortable on long journeys, so your options are going to be a little limited and pricey.

Can your wife do her licence test again so she can drive manual cars? Then you might consider the recently-launched Meiya range, a Chinese double-cab bakkie selling for R114900 and backed by the McCarthy Group.