A TOYOTA Tazz is an excellent choice, given Toyota's reputation for quality, durability and reliability.

Your problem is how to find a good one, in fact an excellent one, because for the money you are prepared to spend you are entitled to insist on the best Tazz in the country. Places to look:

l The Internet - do a Google search for Toyota Tazz;

l The classified adverts in your local daily newspaper;

l Toyota used car dealers. Find a salesman that will understand if you tell him to contact you only if they receive a really, really good Tazz.

Used car dealers will mostly offer some sort of guarantee. Scrutinise this carefully. In some cases it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

You can usually get a better deal from an honest private seller than a dealer, but unless you are very knowledgeable and streetwise, or can get a friend with such credentials to accompany you, a private seller is a risky proposition.

Insist on seeing the car's full service history. Study it well. Look carefully for signs of accident damage - ripples on body panels, or slight over spray in hidden places.

Always take the car for a test drive before committing yourself. Walk away if the seller tries to hurry you into a deal.

Unscrupulous sellers arrange for an accomplice to arrive while you are viewing the car and wave a wad of money around, purporting to be a buyer . Make very sure it's not a stolen car.

You are in a very strong position. You can insist on a 2004 to 2006 model Tazz with less than 75000km on the clock. Be patient, play hard to get, somewhere out there is a pristine Tazz with your name on it.

I would like your advice about opting for a residual when buying a car on HP. I am considering buying an Audi A3 2,0-litre petrol on residual, but want to know the advantages and disadvantages of a residual.


Sipho, a residual (also called a balloon payment) is a certain percentage of the purchase price on which payment is deferred until the end of the HP contract.

Suppose you buy a car for R100000 and you put down a deposit of R10000.

The HP loan will be for R90 000, which, if you pay it off over 54 months at 13percent monthly, with no residual, will translate into a monthly instalment of R2210. By the time you have paid the 54 instalments, the car will have cost you R129340.

But, if you opt for a 30percent residual (the maximum the banks will allow is 35percent), it means that R16766 is deducted from your R90000 loan first, and you only pay off R73234.

Taken over 54 months at the 13percent a year interest, your instalments drop to R1798 a month, but at the end of the last month you have to pay the residual of R30000.

That's the amount to which the initial rebate of R16766 will have grown with interest over 54 months. Now the car will cost you R137092 in total.

If you don't have R30000 to settle the residual, you can ask the bank to pay that off over a further period or you can trade in or sell the car and pay the residual out of the proceeds.

Buying a car on residual will suit someone who doesn't intend to keep it for long, but who prefers to be always driving a fairly new car. The fact that the car might never be owned outright by him (without the burden of further monthly instalments) is of less concern to him.

There is an element of gambling in a residual: You are gambling that your personal financial position will allow you to raise the residual four or five years from now, or failing that, that you can get enough for the car on the used car market to settle the residual when the time comes.

If you invest the monthly difference of R412 between instalments (without residual and with residual) at the same interest rate , the proceeds after 54 months will be exactly the amount of the residual. And if you get a better interest , you will score.

The problem is where to find a safe investment offering a better return than the HP rate?