For the Sandero Stepway, Renault has opted to make its newest little hatch proudly South African. Assembled and manufactured at the Renault Nissan Alliance assembly plant in Rosslyn Gauteng, the new Stepway is poised to take on the likes of Ford's new Figo and Volkswagen's Polo Vivo. Of all cars for sale in its segment, the Sandero Stepway breaks the mold of some bland entry-level offerings and steps out with a bold and exciting - almost crossover SUV - design as well as a large-for-the-segment 1.6 litre engine. And all this for less than R150 000!
From the outside, the Sandero Stepway looks sporty and even a little rugged. Buy a car like this and you'll get A-segment value for money with B-segment dimensions. It has chrome roof racks and front and rear skid plates giving it a rather unique look. In Renault speak, its 'urban warrior stance' makes the vehicle stand out, literally, with an extra ride height of 20mm. The Sandero Stepway's outer parts are clad in a type of robust and hard-wearing black plastic and it boasts a set of rather handsome 16 inch alloy wheels.
Inside the Renault Sandero Stepway boasts the biggest boot space in it class – 320 litres and 1200 litres with the 40:60 rear seats folded down. There is a high lists of standard specifications including: power steering, a trip computer, air-conditioning, central locking and electric front windows. Additionally there is a Sony four-speaker sound system that happens to be both iPod and USB friendly. Simply and cleanly designed, there is a satin-chrome dashboard fascia and door handles which seem to be of a quality that will last. Renault says that it paid particular attention to producing an uncluttered and practical driving environment, with easy-to-read instruments and user-friendly controls. The back seats are fine for small children or petite adults, but is by no means a big 5-seater – but the Sandero Stepway is not trying to reach that market anyway.
The Renault Sandero Stepway is powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine that outputs 64 kW at 5500 rpm and 128 Nm at 3000 rpm of torque. The Sandero Stepway accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 11.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 175 km/h. Fuel consumption is fairly good and is quoted at a conservative 7.2 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 183 grams per km.
The Sandero's body structure has good safety standards. All doors are reinforced with side protection beams and there is a highly rigid and robust occupant's cell that ensures that driver and passengers are kept from harm in the event of an accident. Other standard safety features include an ABS braking system with electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and dual front airbags.
Worth mentioning here is the 2010 Kinsey parts report, where the Renault Sandero Stepway came out as the 'most affordable car to maintain' in South Africa! Aiming to re-shuffle the pecking order of our local entry-level cars, the Sandero Stepway's modern conveniences combined with its 'large-for-its-size' engine derivative and good value for money puts this hot little hatch at the top of the many buyers' lists. Buy a car like this and you will not only get 'all that' but also a fresh-looking Renault that proves that budget motoring really can have a measure of pizazz and style. The Sandero Stepway's price range competitors include the VW Polo Vivo, Daihatsu Sirion, Hyundai Getz, Chevrolet Aveo and Suzuki Swift. Recommended retail pricing starts at R149 900. (Prices are subject to change according to various factors so please consult your dealer for the latest price.)