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Revised, refreshed Renaults: We drive facelifted Sandero, Stepway in Joburg

2017-03-10 11:48

REFRESHED SANDERO RANGE: Renault has launched its refreshed Sandero range in South Africa. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Sergio Davids

  • Revised range for 2017
  • Design tweaks front and rear
  • New 7” touchscreen satnav
  • Priced from R159 900 - R189 900

Johannesburg - Renault’s popular Sandero and Stepway receives a makeover in 2017 comprising design tweaks and interior enhancement. 

The facelifted models form part of a range revision for the automaker.

Leading the line-up is its flagship Stepway Dynamique, followed by the Stepway Expression (which replaces the current Sandero Dynamique) and entry-level New Sandero Expression.

Engine

Engines remain the same as the outgoing models, with all variants powered by a 66kW/135kW 900cc three-cylinder, 900cc (1.0-litre in Renault speak) turbo petrol mated to a manual five-speed (no auto available in the new range). Fuel consumption is rated a at a claimed 5.2-litres/100km for the entry-level Sandero and 5.4-litres/100km for the Stepway, with emissions of 119g/km and 124g/km, respectively.

Driving it

The Sandero Stepway manages to find that sweetspot between affordable family car and practical crossover. Driving it couldn’t be simpler; acceleration is even, gear shifts smooth and there’s torque when you need it.

It handles adequately in corners though body roll is noticeable and while understeer is present, it’s manageable provided you avoid spirited driving. It makes for a great family car, but owners should be mindful of additional weight (road-trip luggage, sports kit for the kids etc) limiting its performance. 

WATCH: Renault's 108kW Sandero RS in action

These are not performance hatchbacks; buyers need to play to the Sandero/Stepway's strengths - a comfortable ride with adequate power. 

Overall, its drive can best be described as “adequate” and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It means it has met the criteria for a budget family crossover by delivering a comfortable ride that’s not easily unsettled on irregular surfaces and judging by its safety systems (ABS, front and side airbags), will keep your family safe on our roads.

Design tweaks

At the front, the Sandero and Stepway display the automaker’s new design identity with headlights and grill borrowed from its Megane and Clio siblings. The headlights incorporate the characteristic C-shape Daytime Running Lights (LED), plus C-shape rear lights and both the front and rear bumpers are of new design.

The Stepway sports an integrated roof spoiler, higher ground clearance than the entry Sandero Expression, roof bars, front and rear skid plates, wheel arch mouldings and fog lights.

The Sandero is fitted with 15” wheels while the Stepway receives 16” dark metal variants. 

New centre console

Inside, both models gain a new centre console, new air vents, updated trims, seat upholstery and power window switches on door panels.

The facelifted models gain a new steering wheel, now with hooter in the middle and one-touch indicators.

Luggage space is rated at 292 litres can be further improved upon thanks to the split rear bench. The New Stepway Dynamique has a centre armrest for extra comfort and leather seats as an option.

Image: QuickPic

Improved tech

Many of the features and fitments which come standard with the new Sandero range are not seen in this vehicle segment. These include:

Standard features include side-airbags, front and rear power windows, power side-mirrors, leather steering wheel and gear knob and rear park assist. Cruise control and satnav are also standard while leather seats are an option. 

The New Stepway Dynamique is fitted Renault MediaNav - an integrated multimedia system with 7” touchscreen.

READ: Rise of the urban crossovers - Six new models to look out for

In teams of safety, Renault says its refreshed Sandero is the only car in its class to include EBA (coupled with ABS) and ESP (+ ASR) as standard. Passive safety features. Also unique to this segment are front side airbags for the Stepway Dynamique. 

The ABS now comes with EBA which kicks in and automatically applies maximum brake pressure when emergency braking conditions are detected; interesting fact, only 60% of drivers brake sufficiently hard for the ABS system to switch on in an emergency situation. 

Renault says: “40% of road deaths are as a result of accidents that involve loss of control over the vehicle. ESP ensures vehicle stability and assists the driver to avoid possible loss of control; detects and reduces loss of traction (on slippery road surfaces, for example) and reduces engine power and brakes on independent wheels in the event of loss of control.”

Hill Start Assist (HSA)

HSA is automatically activated (upon complete stop) as soon as an incline of at least 10% is detected. The revised Sandero and Stepway range are sold with a 5-year or 150 000km warranty and to a two-year or 30 000km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000km.

What about parts? Renault said: “New Sandero parts are very competitively priced and Renault’s Gauteng-based Parts & Distribution ensures that parts availability is running at 95% plus.”

Image: Wheels24 / Sergio Davids

Overall

I enjoyed both the second-generation Sandero and Stepway when they first arrived in SA back in 2014 and the 2017 facelift builds on its predecessors with eye-catching design tweaks and interior enhancements. It’s priced aggressively and well worth considering over its competitors.  

If you’re looking for an affordable, practical and safe family vehicle, the new Sandero and Stepway might be for you. They're both packed with creature comforts and a host of safety features even if the ride isn’t too stimulating. 

Prices

Renault Sandero Expression - R159 900
Renault Stepway Expression - R174 900 
Renault Stepway Dynamique - R189 900 

Optional:

Leather seats (Stepway Dynamique only) - R10 000
Metallic paint - R 2500




                                   
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