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Budget beating Renault Sandero even better

31.03.2017

Budget cars are important to say the least as they more accurately reflect what we regular folk drive on a daily basis, compared to massive SUVs and fun-per-mile sports cars. Recently, I drove the updated Renault Sandero Stepway in Dynamique trim and surmised a few things during my tenure.

The updates

The updates made to the Sandero in terms of exterior and interior styling include an updated front grille, refreshed C-shaped headlamps and a new bumper.

At the rear, there are new taillights and a shapelier bumper. There has been a notable improvement made to the quality inside, while new air vents, different trim and relocated power window switches to the door panels and a new steering wheel round off the changes.

Whether you opt for the base Sandero Expression or the two more crossover-esque Stepway variants, I feel that you are getting a good looking budget machine.

Budget blues banished

There was a time when driving a basic budget car was a quite a depressing experience; you had a steering wheel, three pedals, air-conditioning if you were lucky and perhaps a radio. Now though, there’s no need to have to go without features as budget machines come with a variety of creature comforts. The Sandero is no different in this regard. For the sticker price of R189 900 for the Stepway Dynamique, there are quite a few features that come in handy.

Sandero acronyms

This top-of-the-range model comes with air-conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, Bluetooth, Aux and USB compatibility all of which can be controlled by the fingertip controls behind the steering wheel, cruise control with speed limiter, ABS with EBA, Electronic Stability Programme and Hill Start Assist, electric windows all round, leather steering wheel and gear knob, rear park assist and four airbags.

Items that are missing from the top-spec Sandero include leather seats (R10 000 option), metallic paint (R2 500 option) and alloy wheels, although the caps on the 16-inch wheels do a convincing job of pretending to be alloy items. Overall though, if you can do without leather seats, I cannot think of a new car with more specification and the desired crossover looks for under R200 000 within the local automotive sphere.

Driving Sandero

The Stepway provides some of the best ground clearance within the budget segment for those inclined to some dirt road driving, or even just for the added ride height with 193 mm of ground clearance and a height of 1 618 mm. Combine the ground clearance with the electronic aids mentioned, and you have a car that feels stable on a gravel or dirt road.

On the road there are some plus points too, with the little 898 cc turbo petrol motor providing 66kW/135Nm and a claimed fuel consumption figure of 5.4-litres/100km, however, I achieved still commendable figure of 6.8-litres/100km during my 700km or so with the vehicle. There is quite a bit of turbo lag lower in the rev range, but I feel this is an unavoidable aspect of owning a small turbocharged car.

Verdict

The Sandero is an excellent product made better by the update. If I was shopping within this segment, the Sandero would be top of my list by virtue of the fact that it provides great features and peace of mind for owners.

Warranty and service

The Sandero range comes with a five-year / 150 000 km warranty and a two-year / 30 000 km service plan.

Article written by Sean Nurse
31.03.2017
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