Top 10 Best Used Cars in SA: 2023 Update

Did you know that there are over 50 different car brands available in SA, including more than 3,000 various models and variants1, with nine2 of these manufacturers making cars right here in Mzansi? With so many local and international options, variants and ranges available, picking the best pre-owned vehicles can be challenging. And when you add in the countless makes and models that have been sold over the years and are now on the market as pre-owned vehicles, figuring out which one is best for you requires an understanding of the best used cars in SA.

In this post, we check out 10 of our most popular top second-hand cars in South Africa. We look at their popularity, availability, price and overall options to help you figure out which options will meet your needs.

Used cars in 2023

Second-hand cars were once seen as risky buys. Many people found their used car buys to be faulty, unreliable and in a worse condition than what they expected. But times have changed. Laws governing the sale of used cars and the used car industry have worked together to ensure that buying a used car in SA is now safer, more affordable and more dependable than ever before.

Many people turn to the most popular used cars in South Africa instead of spending large amounts of money on brand-new ones. Many used cars are still essentially “new”, with thousands of kilometres to go before they start developing problems. Other used cars have clocked huge distances already but are still in excellent condition, while some brands of used vehicles are renowned for being amazing options for pre-owned rides, outlasting many of their competitors.

Buying a used car in 2023 has never been easier – or more accessible. With innovative deal assistance programs available, guarantees that used cars have been serviced, checked and approved, and a bigger market than ever, getting your hands on a quality vehicle and one of the best used cars around, can be a better investment than buying a brand new one.

But which used makes and models are proven to deliver quality and value to their buyers? Let’s take a look.

Things to think about when buying a used car

Knowing the ins and outs of the best pre-owned vehicles market means understanding what to look for when buying one. Whether it’s the reputation a brand has for making cars that last or the status as one of the most popular used cars in South Africa, there are many options to choose from. But finding the right combination that meets your requirements involves thinking about a couple of things to suit your needs.

All second-hand vehicles come with their own story. Each car served someone else previously. Getting an idea of what that history is will help you choose a used car that’s right for you instead of a dud that costs you money. Thankfully, many used car industry players have made it their mission to provide accurate, transparent and complete information to prospective buyers, making your choice that much easier.

Here are some of the things to look at when looking for the best used cars available in SA. If a second-hand vehicle is missing one or more of these bits of information, think twice before putting a deposit down or ask the seller to provide it for you.

Vehicle history

All quality used cars should come with a history. How many people have owned it before? Was it ever involved in a major accident? Has it moved around from province to province? Was it used for commercial or private purposes, or both?

This important storyline will help you to develop a good idea of the car and what it has been through. There are various tools and apps to help you check a used car's info.

Car mileage

Many people will ignore a car if it has done above a certain amount of mileage in its life. But today’s cars are built to last longer, and a car that’s done three times as many kilometres on the open road could be in better condition than one that’s done far less in the city.

Mileage isn’t as important as it used to be in a used car decision, but it still matters. Balancing budget with mileage will help in selecting the right quality used car. This article comparing a car's mileage with its age will help you understand why it matters.

Car make & model

Some manufacturers make only two or three models, while some produce dozens. Some brands are known for their cars’ looks, while others focus on reliability and performance.

Whatever you’re looking for, there are dozens of makes, models and variants out there to choose from. Getting a good idea of what different brands mean for top second-hand cars is a helpful indicator of the option that works best for you.

Quality service & checks

Anyone can swap out a spark plug, pump the tyres and top up the oil. But nothing beats a high-quality, full-vehicle service performed by experts who know what to look for.

Some used car dealers will take shortcuts and claim to have performed checks when they actually haven’t. Buying a used car from a company that performs services themselves is the safest and, really the only option.

The price of the used car

Price is a big issue when it comes to used cars. While most brand-new vehicles come with a fixed price tag, used car prices depend on many things, making it tough to know what is good value for money and what isn’t.

If a deal looks too good to be true, it usually is. At the same time, people must avoid being scammed or tricked into paying too much for a used vehicle. Reputable used car companies use economies of scale (where they keep prices manageable because they sell a lot of used cars) to the advantage of their customers.

Top 10 best used cars

We’ve identified the top second-hand cars available in South Africa based on our own data for 2023. While some excellent models haven’t made it onto this list, this Top 10 represents a range of vehicles that provide great value for money, are extremely popular on our roads and can be counted on not to let you down.

In this list, we also unpack the different variants and options available from our list of best pre-owned vehicles, the general pre-owned car price range, who we think these cars will be most ideally suited for and the features that make them the best used cars in SA.

  1. Toyota Fortuner

The mighty Toyota Fortuna is a common sight on our roads and one of the most popular used cars in South Africa. Ever since the World’s biggest car company released this iconic model, South Africans have been queuing up to get their hands on one.

  • Type SUV
  • Options 2.4gd-6 4X4 / 2.4gd-6 Automatic
  • Price range R499,995 to R599,995
  • Best for Families, taking holidays, and general daily all-purpose use
  • Top features Reliable, with modern features and excellent resale potential
  1. VW Polo & Polo Vivo

The legendary Polo continues to dominate our roads and is the car of choice for many people. As VW’s legacy grows in South Africa, everyone from first-time car buyers to students, moms and dads, and the everyday worker can count on the Polo and Polo Vivo to get them from A to B with fewer issues.

  • Type Hatch or Sedan
  • Options 1.0 TSI GT / 1.0 TSI Trendline / 1.4 Trendline / 1.6 Comfortline
  • Price range R210,995 (Vivo 1.4L) to R487,995 (Polo GTI)
  • Best for Everyone
  • Top features Easy to drive, locally available parts and exceptional value for money
  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

For anyone interested in a luxury vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a status symbol like no other. Beautifully designed and boasting an ultra-luxurious interior, the C-Class is in high demand in the best used cars market and surprisingly well-priced for a vehicle of such high quality.

  • Type Luxury saloon sedan
  • Options C180 Petrol / C180 Automatic
  • Price range R399,995 to R499,995
  • Best for Anyone looking for a luxury top-of-class vehicle to enjoy in style
  • Top features Low emissions, world-class safety rating and stylish, iconic design
  1. Renault Kwid

For borderline hatch and crossover, the Renault Kwid packs a punch for its affordable price range. This innovative French-made car is easy on the eye while impressing with its amazingly powerful 1.0 engine and different variants.

  • Type Hatchback Crossover
  • Options 1.0 Dynamique / 1.0 Dynamique Zen / 1.0 Climber / 1.0 Expression
  • Price range R144,995 to R174,995
  • Best for Budget buyers looking for a great city car and the weekend away
  • Top features Excellent fuel efficiency and smart tech for a budget vehicle
  1. Toyota Corolla Quest

The top everyday vehicle of the Toyota fleet, the Corolla Quest has taken the market by storm. This dependable car is popular among workers and is a solid investment for anyone looking to balance budget with reliability and simplicity.

  • Type Sedan
  • Options 2020 Quest 1.8CVT Automatic / 2021 Quest 1.8 / 2022 Quest 1.8
  • Price range R244,995 to R269,995
  • Best for Work commutes, family shuttles, and general everyday use
  • Top features Powerful 1.8L engine with top safety and excellent parts reliability
  1. Suzuki Swift

This top hot hatch is quickly becoming an SA favourite in the best pre-owned vehicles category, rivalling the likes of the Polo Vivo, the Toyota Yaris and the Ford Figo. With a low price tag and nippy performance, the Suzuki Swift is a winner among young buyers and anyone on a tight budget looking for a ride that won’t cost them much over the long term.

  • Type Budget Hatchback
  • Options Swift 1.2 GA / Swift 1.2 GL
  • Price range R177,995 to R196,995
  • Best for Everyday use, short trips and students looking to save on their car
  • Top features Lightweight, saves on petrol, and shorter wheelbase for easy driving
  1. Toyota Hilux

Everybody knows how much of a role the iconic Toyota Hilux has played on SA’s roads over the decades. The legendary bakkie continues to form the backbone of the economy, transporting materials, workers, and anything else across the country daily. Rugged, solid and durable, the Hilux will never let you down, no matter how many people have driven it before you.

  • Type Single Cab Bakkie / Double Cab Bakkie / Diesel
  • Options Hilux 2.0s / Hilux 2.4 GD-6 Double Cab / Hilux 2.4 GD-6 srx 4X4
  • Price range R302,995 to R549,995
  • Best for On-site work, farmers, contractors and transporting
  • Top features Removable canopy, impressive weight capacity and solid build
  1. KIA Rio

As KIA continues to grow in the SA market, more of these cars on the road means more used options available to buy. The attractive Rio is a class above the ever-popular Picanto, and it fills a hatch segment that is already a competitive one. The Rio is a hot prospect and will soon rank as one of the most popular used cars in South Africa with high demand for this South Korean ride.

  • Type Hatchback
  • Options Rio 1.2 IS / Rio 1.4 IS
  • Price range R219,995 to R259,995
  • Best for Mid-range budgets and as an everyday vehicle also good for long trips
  • Top features Stylish, spacious interior, excellent safety and nice handling
  1. Toyota Urban Cruiser

Another Toyota on this list, the Urban Cruiser has been a smash hit in the local market for some years now. This high-quality crossover is the ideal car for city driving with the added benefit of being able to take on the typical dirt road or weekend away.

  • Type CrossOver
  • Options Urban Cruiser 1.5 xi / Urban Cruiser 1.5 xs / Urban Cruiser 1.5 xs auto
  • Price range R257,995 to R298,995
  • Best for Multipurpose use, commuting and taking a family or friends holiday
  • Top features Spacious boot and interior, excellent fuel economy and many variants
  1. Hyundai Venue

And finally, the Hyundai Venue. This stylish crossover is often mistaken for belonging to the SUV category, and for good reason. Easy on the eye and larger than a typical crossover, the Venue is surprisingly powerful for its 1-litre engine. All things considered, the Venue boasts an amazing price for what you get.

  • Type CrossOver
  • Options 1.0 tgdi Motion / 1.0 tgdi Motion Automatic / 1.0 tgdi Fluid
  • Price range R239,995 to R379,995
  • Best for Drivers looking for a crossover that feels like an SUV
  • Top features Upmarket appeal, good fuel economy and pleasing ride height

Conclusion - Why buying a used car from Auto Pedigree works

With so many options to choose from in a busy best used cars market, finding the segment, make, and model that checks all the boxes can get complicated. Thankfully, at industry players like Auto Pedigree, we are able to put our extensive inventory to work in providing a long list of different top second-hand cars that many others can’t match.

With so much on the line and even more used cars becoming available every day, finding ways to ensure used cars are more accessible, reliable and affordable is a top priority for anyone looking to stay on top as a provider of the most popular used cars in South Africa. That is why all our used cars are meticulously checked, serviced and listed along with all relevant vehicle information to ensure you know what you’re getting.

This, coupled with our amazing deal assistance offers and financial services, makes for a dependable choice of best pre-owned vehicles. Our more than a dozen reputable service centres nationwide ensure the cars we sell stay in top shape (even after we've sold them), making our selection of quality used vehicles hard to ignore. Browse our ever-expanding inventory of vehicles here and find the top used car that’s perfect for you.

References & Resources

Link References:


Car listing & number of available vehicles on AP (07/11/2023):

  1. Toyota Fortuner (100)

  1. VW Polo & Polo Vivo (100) + (235)



  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class (82)

  1. Renault Kwid (153)

  1. Toyota Corolla Quest (70)

  1. Suzuki Swift (245)

  1. Toyota Hilux (135)

  1. KIA Rio (181)

Picanto add-in:

  1. Toyota Urban Cruiser (526)

  1. Hyundai Venue (109)

Link References: (Continued)




General References: