Let’s face it - a GWagon is amazing. It’s a beautiful piece of machinery, built like a beast, and drives absolutely bonkers both on the road and off of it. And it’s not cheap. For 600,000 AED you’re getting a lot, and some moore, but does that justify you selling your house and your kidneys to get one? We really hope not.
And that is exactly why we’re here today to show you some of the best cars in Dubai that you can buy for absolute peanuts. B ecause not everyone in the GCC is driving around with a hundred thousand dollars change in their pockets, and a cheetah calling shotgun.
On our quest to bring you a list of the most affordable cars your hard earned dirhams can buy, we came across a little hurdle of sorts - The GCC market is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of vehicles in the affordable category, and most of them are mediocre at best, if not complete garbage (looks disappointedly at the 2017 Altima). So to filter out the cream of the crop, we’ve decided to fix a budget to this list.
This list is going to contain cars with a maximum cap of 100,000 AED, not a penny above, so you get the best bang for your buck, and that buck stops at 100,000 AED. And in case you’re wondering why the 2020 Fortuner isn’t in this list, that baby comes at north of 103,900 AED. Tough luck.
So with that in mind, here’s our pick of some of the best cars that you can get if you’ve got a tight budget, and would really like to own one in the GCC. Let’s get started.
Price Range: 34,000 AED - 50,000 AED
Let’s start small for those on a really tight budget. This option is for those who would much rather travel on a bus, but still have a bit of money stacked up for getting a ride of their own. The Picanto is all about functionality. If you just want a car that gets you from Point A to Point B quickly, without being a big burden on you, then the Kia Picanto is one of the best options for you to consider.
The Picanto is pretty decent overall, with a 1.2 litre, 4 cylinder single scroll turbo powering the tiny piece of machinery. The vehicle does exactly what it claims on paper with its all-wheel drive CVT, and that is to get you from point A to B. It’s a great family car, if you’ve got a family of four (although the backseats claim to boast enough space for 3 people, we think that only applies to kids). The vehicle is compact, but makes sure not to cramp into your personal space.
There’s a fairly adequate infotainment system (or an MP3 player as you would have it), and a functioning air conditioning system. The plastic interior, including the dashboard, feels a bit flimsy and cheap at times, although you can’t argue much at this price point. But for all these tradeoffs, you do get excellent fuel efficiency, making it perfect for daily travel.
Function over form, the Kia Picanto is ideal as the budgeted man’s first car or a rich man’s second “play” car. There’s also the Hyundai i10 that you can prefer at this price point, but between the Korean brothers, our bet is on the Picanto - a solid car, built to do exactly what a car does, and not a gear more.
Price Range: 65,000 AED
Source: Car Bike Trend
You can always trust the Japanese to build reliable machines. The Kicks is no different. Its tiny dimensions may be close to the Picanto, but don’t let that catch you off-guard, the little guy punches way above its weight.
The Nissan Kicks comes with a 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder DOHC engine, which naturally allows for better airflow and ride performance. Unlike the several dozen vehicles in this same price range, you get a machine that just works. The Kicks checks off all the right boxes for a compact crossover car - great mileage, extremely comfortable city drives, good safety systems, and better interior space optimization. At this price point, you simply couldn’t argue for more.
The plastic interior and overall “lazy” design (almost everyone in the market is doing a two-tone design, show us something new!) still feels a bit cheap, which sometimes may feel like you’re paying a little too much for this vehicle. But trust us, the Nissan Kicks is worth it. But if you still feel like you want a better deal, used Kicks are always in the market for about 50,000 AED. YallaMotor is a good place to start your used car search, so go crazy.
Mazda 6 2019
Price Range: 80,000 AED
It ain’t a list without a Mazda.
The Mazda 6 is the car to go for if you want to be associated with the executive dad-cum-party guy-cum-guy who knows his shit kind of person. Quite literally, that is exactly what the Mazda 6 speaks of - it is not the top in its segment, it is a bit too pricey for just about anybody to afford, and it's not the most functional vehicle in the world. And yet, it is one of the most desirable vehicles on the planet. What does that speak of the person who drives it?
That is just how crazy the Mazda 6 is. A 2.5 litre naturally aspirated engine (just the way pure motorheads like it), pumping out a commendable 182 HP, with an okay-ish fuel efficiency, this car doesn’t need perfect scores to be respected. People like it just the way it is.
Although it falls short on the power segment in front of its competitors, it surely rides high on the sheer enjoyment of driving the vehicle. The ride quality and steering response is simply a cut above the rest, no matter which way you look at it. If you feel that this isn’t enough to get you excited, you may also go for the lesser priced Toyota Camry - an equally good option, but we stayed away from it because we just love our Mazdas. And if that sounds just a teensy bit biased, it probably is.
Honda Civic 2020
Price Range: 75,000 AED - 98,000 AED
We just can’t get enough of Japanese automobiles. The Civic is probably the most loved car on the planet, let alone the GCC. Combining both form and function, it’s this close to being the perfect sedan in most people’s opinion. It’s popular on social media, it’s adored by thousands of motorheads, and it’s a car that everyone needs to experience.
Sitting on a 1.6 litre 4 cylinder engine, it churns out 123 HP, has all your basic amenities like an automatic air conditioning system, comfortable fabric seats, leathered steering wheels, all the basic stuff. You also get a good infotainment system as well as mechanical seat adjusters. So why is it so popular if it’s not much different from the other sedans out there?
One, the reliability. You can find a good dealer like MySyara almost anywhere in the GCC, who will work to provide any and all services for your Civic, no matter what condition it arrives in. The popularity of the vehicle makes it easier for a regular shipment of parts and components, so there is no concern about service issues, at least in the GCC.
Another reason why the Honda Civic is popular is because of its adaptable design. It’s great straight out of the factory, but it also provides great compatibility with aftermarket parts, making it very attractive to youngsters who like to keep their cars “unique” to match their personality. You do you, kids.
So, should the budget-constrained person consider buying a Civic 2020? Absolutely. It works great for daily commutes, as well as for some fun cruising when you’re on holiday, it’s got a good fuel optimization, it’s family friendly, it’s sporty, and it’s extremely reliable. It’s the perfect sedan (Almost - the crappy infotainment system looks a million years behind the rest of the vehicle).
Price Range: 58,000 AED - 70,000 AED
We started the article complaining about how expensive a GWagon is, so it’s only right that we end it with a trimmed down affordable alternative. The Jimny is nowhere near as posh or grandiose as the GWagon. It’s 1.4 litre engine doesn’t have the power to compete against a 2.9 litre 6 cylinder mammoth. Don’t even get us started on what would happen if the two had a head-to-head race (Here’s a hint: The Mountain Vs Oberyn Martell).
But guess what? The Jimny can still do 0-60 mph in a little under a sweet 12 seconds. It’s super compact and tiny enough to squeeze its way through traffic in a jiffy. It can handle off-road driving without a sinch. And it’s 10 times cheaper than a GWagon.
For all the trade-offs Suzuki has made to keep the Jimny at the affordable price that it is, you can never complain, because you won’t get a competitive off-roader at this price range. And why are you even driving in the GCC if you’ve not off-roaded into the wild wild desert?
The Jimny is not a marvel of a vehicle by any means, but it’s tiny yet spacious inside, not the fastest yet fast enough, not perfect yet extremely fun. It’s perfect for your first affordable off-roader, or if you’re rich enough to buy your young kid their first car. The car is built for fun - everything from its funky colours to its off-roading capabilities, it’s made to be enjoyed. So don’t get too stressed up on the spec sheet of the vehicle, and get this to enjoy yourself outside the laid out boring maps of the city.
Side note: If you’re in Al-Jumeirah, you definitely need to consider this one, because with that traffic, it’s either this, or a walk to the office. Also, our mates at MotoringMiddleEast have done a thorough review of the Jimny, so be sure to check it out before you jump in.
Of course, the list doesn’t just stop here. There are many cars in the affordable range that deserve a spot here.
For instance, we ridiculed the 2017 Altima at the start of the article. And it rightly deserved it, but if you’re able to get your hands on a 2019 Nissan Altima, get it, because it’s a great car. The Toyota Camry is another brilliant piece of Japanese machinery that we adore. Same with the Honda Accord, perhaps the best sedan in the gulf market, just a smidgen over the 100,000 AED mark. The 2019 Kia Optima (image below) is another beautiful vehicle we didn’t get to mention in this article.
All of these options are great, so if you can find a good deal for them, please be our guest. Like we mentioned earlier, this article is aimed to point you towards the best vehicles in the market, to help you stay away from the garbage out there. Research helps, so if this article helped clear out the air on your buying conundrum a bit, we’re glad we could help.