Renault has had a tenuous reputation since its return to South Africa and indeed the local manufacturing front since the first generation Renault 5 built locally in the 1970's. While critics of the brand may have been justified in their claims 10 years ago, the French automaker has since improved in its quality, reliability and its entire model range.In March 2009, the locally built Sandero five-speed hatch made its debut and, according to Wayne van der Merwe, senior product manager at Renault SA, the model's affordability has been an ideal vehicle in the A/B entry-level segment.Renault’s decision to regain local-manufacturer status after more than 30 years was achieved with a R1-billion investment by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. THIRD IN ENTRY SEGMENTVan der Merwe said: “By the end of 2011 the Sandero finished off with a 10.5% share of dealer channel sales in the A/B segment and 10% of total sales. Since launching in 2009, we've sold 16 773 units - 12 359 of them through our dealer channel to take 74% of total sales.“The Sandero is third in the A/B entry level hatch segment with a 2012 year-to-date unit sales average of 11.1% through the dealer channel and sales overall of 9.5%.One of Renault's biggest challenges has been to combat grumbles about parts and reliability. Seven months after its launch in October 2009, the Sandero earned top honours in the annual Kinsey Parts Pricing Survey.The Sandero’s parts proved between 8.5 to 25.8% more affordable than its Japanese, Korean, German and French counterparts competing in the same segment.MODEL CHOICEThe Sandero 1.6 Dynamique, with its standard kit is quite competitive in the R120 000 - R130 000 price bracket while the 1.4 Ambiance is the only model offering dual airbags and ABS in the sub-R110 000 class. The Sandero Stepway, launched in 2010, could be worthwhile if you're in the market for a spacious and versatile vehicle below R150 000.PRICESRenault Sandero 1.4 Ambiance - R109 900Renault Sandero 1.6 Dynamique - R129 900Renault Sandero 1.6 Stepway - R149 900Standard across Renault’s entire product range is a five-year or 150 000km mechanical warranty and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty. A three-year service plan is standard on the Dynamique and Stepway, optional on the Ambiance.