New Renault Sandero Stepway driven
Ever since the new Renault Clio arrived in South Africa, the French brand has been on a bit of a roll. They were expecting to sell 200-250 units a month but are currently pushing close to 500 out the door on a regular basis. Then along came the Duster and to Renault’s surprise that also manages to sell around 500 units a month. With the facelifted Sandero joining the onslaught, and now the new Stepway derivative, you can see why they’re ecstatic about their prospects.
The previous Stepway accounted for around half of all Sandero sales. The raised ride height, outdoorsy feel and value for money pricing suited the up and coming modern family. This new model seems to be hitting the same notes; it’s raised up off the ground to 193mm (29mm more than standard Sandero), kitted with bolt-on parts like roof rails, front and rear skid plates, 16-inch flex wheels (steel wheels made to look exactly like alloys), wheels arch trims and front fog lights.
The interior of the Stepway doesn’t alter much from the regular Sandero; there’s a bit of stitching in the front seat that says ‘Stepway’ but that’s the only new addition. That still means you’re well catered for, however, because there’s a leather steering wheel and gear lever, front and rear electric windows, radio with CD, MP3 and USB capabilities, Bluetooth, cruise control and steering wheel controls for the radio and cruise control. The rear seats fold down in the standard 60/40 split whilst the boot offers 292-litres of luggage capacity.
Frugal TCE engine
The engine powering the Stepway remains the same as well, so the 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder TCE does duty. It puts out 66kW at 5250rpm and 135Nm at 2500rpm of which 90 per cent is available from 1650rpm. Renault say economy is the biggest upside of the small turbo as it’ll return 5.4l/100km on the combined cycle.
Safety is where Renault really pushes home its value for money. The Stepway is packed full of high spec safety features from the basics such as Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), ABS, EBD and Electronic Stability (ESP) to the useful bits like Hill Start Assist (HSA) and rear parking sensors. There’s also front and side airbags for the front passengers.
During our 200km drive around Cape Town we found that the extra ride height goes unnoticed from the driver’s seat as the Stepway feels identical to its shorter Sandero sibling whilst driving on road. It isn’t until you need to mount a kerb or traverse a pothole that the lack of scraping from underneath is noticeable.
Competitor wise the closest rival would be the VW Polo Vivo Maxx but at R175 000 the Vivo is R15 000 more expensive before you even start counting the extras the Sandero trumps it on. The Stepway comes with a 5-year/150000km warranty and a 2-year/30000km service plan.
Renault Sandero Stepway R159 900