Renault takes the fight to competing hatches
A DECADE ago, when I was paying for two Renault cars in my garage, the brand’s dealers and I were not as friendly as we are now.
Ten years later we still have one Renault, but we now tell all those who remember the bad times that parts are distributed at 95% plus rate. Pinetown’s parts price guru Malcolm Kinsey also has the Sandero among most competitively priced in SA.
People need reminding of this, as most only remember how the brand slipped up on logistics and then priced itself out of the market. But as we keep saying, all that is past and people who drive often really owe themselves a ride in a Renault at least once.
Not for the sweet engines or direct handling, mind, but for the ergonomics.
Only the fugly Fiat Multipla can boast a more people-focused cabin, but the Italian does not offer as many nooks and crannies for all the stuff families travel with as a Renault does.
The Sandero is no exception, and especially the new Sandero Stepway Plus offers buyers an entry level model with all the buttons in exactly the right places, plus features like hill start assist.
As a made-in-Rosslyn, affordable hatch, the Sandero was one of the five cars subjected to safety tests by the AA to determine their crashworthiness. The other cars were the Toyota Etios, Volkswagen Polo Vivo, and Datsun Go+.
Seatbelt pretensioners ensured a four-star win for the Etios, followed in a joint second place by the Sandero and the Polo Vivo, both with three stars for adult occupant protection in the frontal crash test at 64 km/h.
The Sandero’s body structure was rated as stable with acceptable general adult occupant protection. As for the babies, the Sandero scored four stars for child protection, if ISO-fix child seats are used, compared to the three stars for the Etios and Polo Vivo. A 292-litre luggage bay has space for the baby bags, while a split-folding rear seatback makes it easy to load big items.
Under the hood
A frugal 0.9-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine makes 66 kW and 135 Nm, with a fivespeed manual transmission sending power to the front.
This small engine makes 90% of the torque available from 1 650 rpm, which is very clever engineering indeed.
The Expression rides on 15inch wheels while the Stepway gets 16” dark metal flex rims.
The Sandero comes with Renault’s five-year or 150 000 km warranty together with a standard two-year or 30 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.
A five-year or 150 000 km warranty and two-year or 30 000 km service plan are standard.
Apart from the Volkswagen Polo, competition in the R200 000 price range comes from the Ford Figo, Honda Brio, Suzuki Ignis.
Expression R171 900 Stepway Expression R186 900 Stepway Plus R206 900
Sandero stepped up the value offering among R200 000 hatches way more in the Stepway Plus.