We look at South Africa’s seven most affordable 4×4 crossover/SUVs, each from a distinct manufacturer…

1. Suzuki Jimny 1.5 AllGrip — From R326 900


Priced from R326 900 for the entry-level GA model, the Suzuki Jimny is arguably the most characterful off-roader ever. So much so that, recently, I bought one… It’s also extremely capable on the roads less travelled. And, even in top-tier GLX automatic guise, the Japanese marque’s compact 4×4 undercuts the second SUV on this list by R6 000. 

As a reminder, bolstering the local Jimny line-up, earlier in 2022, Suzuki SA introduced the mid-tier GL trim grade to our shores. However, we’d argue that the GLX manual is the one to go for as it comes with an array of standard convenience items, such as Apple CarPlay-enabled touchscreen infotainment, making the journey more enjoyable. Suzuki SA also offers the heritage-inspired Rhino Edition kit for those wanting more presence. 

The Jimny is equipped with Suzuki’s 1.5-litre petrol engine. The K15B unit produces 75 kW and 130 Nm of torque, available from 6 000 r/min and 4 000 r/min, respectively. The firm claims average fuel consumption figures of 6.3 L/100 km for the five-speed manual model and 6.8 L/100 km for the four-speed automatic version. 

Sitting on 15-inch wheels (steelies for the GA and alloys for the GL and GLX derivatives), the 1.1-tonne SUV measures 3 625 mm nose to tail, 1 645 mm in width and 1 670 mm in height. The wheelbase measures 2 250 mm. The ground clearance comes in at 210 mm. The Jimny has an approach angle of 37 degrees, a break-over angle of 28 degrees and a departure angle of 49 degrees. 

2. Renault Duster 1.5 dCi 4WD Zen MT — R391 900


The sole all-wheel-drive variant in the local Duster line-up is equipped with a punchy 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine, exclusively coupled with a six-speed manual ‘box. The 1.5 dCi powertrain produces 80 kW and 260 Nm, the latter available from 1 750 r/min. The French firm claims an average fuel consumption figure of a commendable 5.2 L/100 km, allowing an average range of 962 km on the 50-litre fuel tank. 

Available in only Zen level of specification, the Duster features an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and sat-nav. The set-up in this model also features 4×4 monitoring. Wireless smartphone charging and climate control are included in the package. Boot space is a claimed 414 litres. 

The Duster measures 4 341 mm in length, 1 804 mm in width and 1 682 mm in height. The wheelbase is 2 676 mm. Ground clearance is rated at 210 mm. It rides on 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 215/65 tyres. A full-size spare wheel is included. The (1 276 kg) Duster has an approach and departure angle of 30 and 33 degrees, respectively. Unbraked and braked towing capacity are rated at 621 kg and 1 500 kg, respectively. 

3. Mahindra Scorpio 2.2 CRDe 4WD S11 MT — From R406 999


The updated Scorpio S11 arrived in South Africa in 2021, with Mahindra saying the box-fresh SUV’s engine has now been coupled with an “improved” six-speed manual transmission. The mHawk turbodiesel unit produces 103 kW and 320 Nm, the latter available from a lowly 1 500 r/min to 2 800 r/min.

The seven-seater 4×4 measures 4 456 mm bow to stern, 1 820 mm in width and 1 995 mm in height. The wheelbase measures 2 680 mm. The ground clearance is 165 mm. The approach, break-over and departure angles are 25, 14 and 18 degrees, respectively. The wading depth is rated at 800 mm. The Scorpio 4×4 weighs a claimed 1 925 kg. Braked towing capacity comes in at 1.9 tonnes. 

However, in 2021, Mahindra launched the Scorpio S11 Adventure for those looking for additional off-road prowess. Priced at R453 999, this variant is set apart from its standard 4×4 stablemate with the addition of several off-road-ready items. These include a more rugged front bumper, incorporating fog lamps and anchor points. This derivative’s 17-inch alloys are also wrapped in “upgraded” all-terrain rubber. 

4. Suzuki Vitara 1.6 AllGrip GLX — R429 900

The most affordable Vitara is also the only one boasting all-wheel drive. However, although the least pricy, like its stablemates, it comes exclusively in top-spec GLX trim. Features include touchscreen infotainment with screen-mirroring functionality and climate control. A panoramic sunroof is also included. 

The 4×4 Vitara is equipped with a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. Exclusively coupled with a five-speed manual, the petrol motor produces 86 kW and 151 Nm. Average fuel consumption is a claimed 6.2 L/100 km. 

The Vitara sits on 17-inch alloys, wrapped in 215/15 tyres. Length, width and height come in at 4 175, 1 775 and 1 610 mm, respectively. The wheelbase measures 2 500 mm.  The ground clearance is 185 mm. The approach, break-over and departure angles are 18.2, 17.7 and 28.2 degrees.

5. Subaru Forester — From R496 000


Recently revised, the local Forester line-up comprises four derivatives. The entry-level 2.0i variant is the fifth most affordable 4×4 on this list. This model’s 2.0-litre boxer-four produces the same power and torque as its XV crossover sibling (a worthy proposition if you’re looking for an all-wheel-drive crossover and want to spend less) at 115 kW and 196 Nm. However, although weighing 150 kg more, average fuel consumption is up by only 0.3 L/100 km at 7.6 L/100 km.

The base-spec Forester is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels. Length, width and height come in at 4 625, 1 815 and 1 730 mm, respectively. The wheelbase measures 2 670 mm. The ground clearance is 220 mm. The Forester has an approach angle of 20.1 degrees, a break-over angle of 21.4 degrees and a departure angle of 25.8 degrees. 

For those looking for a Forester with more power, Subaru also offers a 2.5-litre mill in the (R611 000) 2.5i-Sport ES and (R669 000) 2.5i-S ES. This horizontally-opposed four-cylinder motor produces 136 kW and 239 Nm. 

6. BAIC B40 Plus — From R564 500

“Tested in almost every condition, altitude, terrain, and application”, the BAIC B40 Plus was introduced to our market in 2021. According to the firm, the retro-styled 4×4 “is more than capable off-road”. 

Riding on 17-inch wheels, the (2.1-tonne) B40 Plus has a ground clearance similar to the Jimny and Duster at 210 mm. Its approach, break-over and departure angles are 37 degrees, 23 degrees and 31 degrees, respectively. The B40 Plus measures 4 645 mm in length, 1 925 mm in with, 1 871 mm in height and 2 745 mm between the fore and aft axles.

The B40 Plus can be had with two engine options. These are a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and turbocharged oil-burner of similar displacement. The four-cylinder petrol and diesel units produce 160 kW and 320 N.m, and 110 kW and 350 N.m, respectively. Transmission options include a six-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed self-shifter.

7. Toyota RAV4 — From R624 800

Priced from R624 800, the five-strong Toyota RAV4 range kicks off with an all-wheel-drive model, the 2.0 AWD GX-R CVT. A trio of other 4×4 RAV4s are also available. These include the 2.5 Hybrid E-Four GX-R (R663 400), 2.5 AWD VX (R723 400) and 2.5 Hybrid E-Four VX (R744 900). 

As the most affordable RAV4 in the line-up and the seventh most affordable model from a distinct brand on this list, the 2.0 AWD GX-R is arguably the one to go for (however, if you’re looking for more power and improved fuel consumption, the 2.5 Hybrid E-Four in GX-R spec is well worth the extra money). The 2.0-litre engine powering the most affordable derivative in the local range produces 127 kW and 203 Nm. For comparison, the petrol-electric variant has 163 kW. Power is directed to all four corners via a CVT. 

The RAV4 2.0 AWD GX-R has a ground clearance of 195 mm (it’s worth noting that the 2.5 AWD VX has 200 mm). Measurements come in at 4 615 mm (length), 1 865 mm (width) and 1 685 mm (height). The wheelbase measures 2 690 mm. 

In addition, GX-R includes an array of standard features. These include touchscreen infotainment and heated front seats for those cold winter months. A full-size spare is included.