JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Family SUVs have, Renault says, ”evolved dramatically with the frequent addition of features and styling enhancements”. The brand’s flagship Stepway arrived in 2011 and Sandero sales accelerated to total more than 64 100 today (August 2020) – more than 30 500 of them Stepway units.
Which brings us to the newly-arrived Sandero Stepway Techroad, the replacement model for the Stepway, with the Sandero Expression the entry model and the Expression the halfway-house. Each, however, has Renault’s ”F1-inspired” 66kW turbo-petrol engine and a number of standard features, among them:
ECO Mode function, front power windows lifts, remote central-locking, Bluetooth, connectivity and music streaming, radio/CD/MP3 with USB port and fingertip controls, front and side nitrogen crash-mitigation bags, cruise control, data computer, 19cm touchscreen satnav, and a rearparking camera.
The turbo engine, driven sensibly, can return 5.2 litres/100km.
Lookswise, each Sandero carries C-shaped headlight/datime running lights assemblies common to all Renault models, a shape repeated at the cars’ rear. Front and rear bumpers, however, are new.
Each Stepway’s aim is to be a city and leisure vehicle with its wagonised shape emphasised by a roof-mounted spoiler, higher ride height than the entry Sandero Expression (helped by 15″ wheel rims (Sandero Expression) and 16″ dark metal rims (Stepway), roof load-bars, front and rear skid plates, wheel-arch mouldings, and front foul-weather lights.
The cabin can take five people (the rear bench drops to handle lots of luggage for two folk on a lengthy trip) and the Sandero has three stars for adult safety and four for children.
Renault says it is the safest in its class for carrying children with IsoFix kiddieseat anchors and a third (central) crash mitigation shoulder belt.
Auto emergency braking (the car adds the extra pressure when sudden braking is detected) – Renault says the system can knock nine metres off an emergency stop from open-freeway speeds.
The Sandero range has variously, according to model (see *), a number of features not common in their price brackets, such as\ satnav*, smartphone mirroring* (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibile*, push-button fuel-economy optimisation and a trip data/fuel consumption computer.
The 66kW engine spins a five=speed manual gearbox which can reach 100km/h in about 11sec and roll on to a maximum (though illegal in SA) 170km/h.
…ALL OF WHICH BRINGS US TO THE STEPWAY
This newbie to the range has more of an SUV appearance and, Renault SA believes, ”is an even more value-for-money product”. (All prices at the foot of this text.)
The model rides on 16” rims/tyres that have two-tone Flex wheel covers, black external powered mirrors, distinctive decals on the B-pillars and lower doors. Standard in the cabin are side crash mitigation bags, power window lifts, leather-wrapped steering-wheel and gear-shifter, cruise control and, for a fee, leather upholstery.
The units’ comprehensive MediaNav multimedia system has a 19cm touchscreen, smartphone mirroring, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.
PARTS & PRICING
Renault claims the Sandero range is rated highly for parts prices and servicing. Indeed, in October 2009, eight months after launch, the Renault Sandero 1.6 swept the board in the B vehicle segment of Malcolm Kinsey’s annual Parts Pricing Survey with comparative parts pricing against competitors’ models ranging from 61% to 188% better.
”The Renault Sandero,” its maker says, ”leads its peers in having the most affordable parts basket.
WARRANTY & SERVICE PLAN
THE Sandero and New Stepway Techroad come with Renault’s five-year or 150 000km* warranty and two-year or 30 000km* service plan. Services intervals 15 000km.
*Whichever comes first.
…AND SO TO THE PRICES
Renault Sandero Expression – R209 900 (incl. VAT) 66kW Turbo
Renault Stepway Expression – R223 900 (incl. VAT) 66kW Turbo
New Renault Stepway Plus – R243 900 (incl. VAT) 66kw Turbo
New Renault Stepway Techroad – R243 900 (incl. VAT) 66kw Turbo
Leather upholstery (Stepway Plus) – R10 088
Metallic paint – R2 522