Given the current economic conditions, one has to admire the French brand’s gusto as it continues to offer some rather good products. The latest is none other than the Sandero Stepway, which is basically a Sandero on stilts with some plastic cladding. But it’s the SUV appeal combined with good pricing that’s attracting consumers.
Autodealer recently spent some time behind the wheel of this “raised” Sandero and we walked away feeling rather captivated.
Building on the foundations of its baby sibling, the Sandero (which many feel sets the benchmark in the entry-level market), the Stepway offers something extra in terms of added ground clearance.
Much like super Mario after eating the mushroom, the 40mm added clearance does help, particularly on our battered roads. But this crossover is still strictly urban in its guise because it’s only available in two-wheel-drive.
Up against some stiff competition, including the likes of the new Etios Cross and Vivo Maxx, the previous generation Stepway did make a name for itself as a good value proposition.
That said, the newbie Stepway boasts the same interior as the Sandero, which is laden with tech and creature comforts. Its interior is spacious and functional and the addition of cruise control (as standard), makes it quite appealing. Renault continues to fully load its cars much like the Koreans were infamous for. The fit and finish might leave you wanting, but from a price perspective, you’re missing nothing and you get what you pay for.
Heading out onto the road, the uncomplicated manner in which the Stepway hustles you along is refreshing. We’ve spent quite a lot of time driving the 900cc turbo engine, which is also found in the new Clio and Sandero. Maybe it’s part of its charm, but this petite powertrain embodies downsizing and it knows how to get moving. Sure, at times you’ll need to work the 66kW engine with 135Nm of torque, but our driving style has shifted toward fuel economy and if you treat this car right, it will offer some impressive figures of around 5.4 litres/100km.
The Stepway’s a good addition to the Renault line-up and will surely win hearts like the Sandero has. My only concern is with pricing being rather close to the Clio. I’d be swayed towards looking stylish rather than the added ride height. But there are those who want a crossover-type vehicle and I just wonder whether Toyota’s come in and ruined Renault’s party with the Etios Cross.