It may be long on the tooth, but Renault’s Sandero Stepway has moved with the times
Like wine, cars some mature with age. One that’s improved steadily over the years, the Renault Sandero has impressively kept abreast with changes around it in the marketplace.
SANDERO HAS EVOLVED HANDSOMELY
The entry-level second-generation Sandero arrived as the normally aspirated 55 kW 114 Nm 7.2 l/100km Authentique in 2012. It cost R96K out the box and came with a 3-year 100,000km warranty and an optional 3-year 45,000 service or 5-year 60,000km maintenance plans at 15,000km intervals. We tested it at a tardy 13.3 second 0-100 km/g sprint. My notes had it as a ‘gutless pretend 4×4, a good cheap family mover’.
Sandero has evolved. through the course of its now extensive sojourn. Now more than double the price (as inflation demands), it’s still the same 5-star safe car it always was. That gutless old lump made way for this car’s this 66 kW 135 Nm 5.2 litre per hundred 0.9-litre turbo triple. Today’s Sandero comes with Renault’s 5-year 150,000 km warranty and a standard 2-year 30,000 km service plan at 15,000km intervals.
So like good wine, it may not look very different eight years on, but this little-big Renault presents a far more sophisticated experience. Most significantly, it offers plenty cheery competence to go with its liberating cheapness. Square-cut and substantial to behold, but not unattractive, Sandero has also benefited a raft little of styling updates and quality refinements inside and out, over the years.
FLAGSHIP ROAD TO EXTRA TECH
The basic Sandero comes with an Eco Mode, power front windows and remote central locking. Infotainment stretches to Bluetooth connectivity and music streaming, 2 DIN integrated radio/CD/MP3 with USB port and fingertip controls.
The car on test is the top of the range Sandero Stepway TechRoad. It sells at a forty grand premium. And in a whack of extra spec and a taller, even more SUV-like ride height, Stepway badging with 16” wheels and fog lamps set it apart. Add cruise control power rear windows, power gloss black-trimmed wing mirrors, a leather steering wheel and gear knob.
Techway also gains quick and intuitive 7” Renault MediaNav infotainment system. It comes packed with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a rear parking camera to go with park assist. And segment unique navigation. Our tester’s leather seats are an option to go with a trendy new upholstery design.
It’s based on the global Renault B0 platform it shares with the Nissan NP200 bakkie and the long departed Logan. The five-door Sandero was designed in parallel with the fourth-generation Clio. It’s assertive styling has always offered a broad appeal thanks to more than adequate dimensions and interior space. One of its advantages is that it’s a bit of an MPV in hiding. And it has its direct rivals covered in every dimension from leg, arm and headroom to the boot.
NOT QUITE F1, BUT PERFORMANCE IS ACCEPTABLE
Driving Sandero reveals those surprising levels of comfort, space, specification, fit and finish. It will never be a contender for Renault’s F1 effort, but it does have a well-rounded and quite acceptable performance envelope. Controls are simple, easy and effective and Sandero still impresses in and around town. It’s just as happy on the open road, too.
That little nine-hundred three-pot also sets it apart from its archaic market rivals. Sandero may not be quite match in a drag race at 12.6 seconds to 100, but it’s far nicer to drive and thrifty A three-cylinder thrum gives it great character too. Its genesis helped it defeat the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Grand i10, Mazda to and Toyota Etios in Gumtree’s 2020 Pre-Owned Awards for two-year old used hatchbacks that cost less than R170K.
SAFE, WITH IMPRESSIVE SPECIFICATION TOO
All that said, perhaps the biggest Sandero advantage remains its best in class five-star NCAP safety. In a niche were many rivals struggle to make two stars. Sandero packs front airbags and ABS anti skid braking with EBD and EBA. As well as Electronic Stability Protection with Anti Skid Regulation and Hill Start Assist.
So if you’re looking for a new small car for one of the kids, or you need to compromise downmarket, remember the Renault Sandero. It may not be the newest trick on the block, but like good wine, its matured very well. It still offers a contemporary and competitive set of entry level wheels.
ROAD TESTED: Renault Sandero 6 6kW turbo Stepway TechRoad Engine: 66kW 135Nm 0.9-litre turbo petrol I3 Drive: 5-speed manual FWD TESTED: 0-60km/h: 5.27 sec 0-100km/h: 12.62 sec 0-120km/h: 18.67 sec 400m: 18.9 sec @ 123km/h 80-120km/h: 8.33 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 169km/h Fuel: 5.4 l/100km CO2: 124 g/km Warranty/Service: 5y 150K/2y 30Kkm LIST PRICE: R251K RATED: 7