The FAW V2 starts at R99 995.
The FAW V2 starts at R99 995.

Johannesburg Motor Show - There's very little in the way of spice or variety if you're trying to find a new car for under R100 000. In fact, pint-sized dimensions and an engine to match are pretty much the order of the day.

But now those willing to take their chances with a less well-known Chinese brand can buy South Africa's cheapest 1.3-litre car for just R99 995.

And, on paper at least, the new FAW V2 is not as much of a 'Tata ma chance' prospect as you might think. Not only is it backed by the Imperial Group, but the hatchback also comes with a two-year/40 000km service plan and a three-year/100 000km warranty. The V2 has been thoroughly tested under local conditions too.

FAW says that, in terms of size, the V2 fits into the upper end of the B-segment and it also offers a relatively sizeable 320-litre boot.

There's also little lacking in the way of features, with standard items including alloy wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 audio system, electric mirrors and remote central locking. Safety kit comes in the form of dual front airbags and ABS brakes.

Motorvation comes from a 1.3-litre petrol engine that develops 67kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 4400rpm. FAW claims a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.5 litres per 100km.

Even the suspension is surprisingly fancy for a car in this class, with a double wishbone independent rear axle in place of the torsion beam design usually found in compact hatchbacks. That should (theoretically) endow it with commendable ride and road holding manners.

As for dealer back-up, the FAW V2 is sold and serviced through 22 dealerships around the country.