Cape Town - Despite being a relatively rudimentary car, Renault's previous Sandero Stepway did rather well for itself, notching up over 3000 sales per year since 2012.
The all-new Stepway, launched in South Africa this week, is almost certain to reach new heights given that it's a substantially improved product.
Like its predecessor, the new Stepway is based on the Sandero hatch - the latest generation in this case - and it's been dressed up to resemble an SUV, sort of. 15-inch wheels make way for 16-inchers and the Stepway sits 29mm higher with its ground clearance of 193mm. Other visual garnishes include silver skid plates at the front and rear, wheel arch trims and silver roof rails.
FRUGAL 0.9 TURBO
There's big change in the engine compartment with the previous 64kW/128Nm normally aspirated eight-valve 1.6-litre making way for a new 66kW/135Nm 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol. In addition to the improved performance, particularly given the turbo compensation for reef altitudes, the new model is also said to be almost two litres per 100km lighter on the juice - with Renault claiming a combined consumption figure of 5.4 litres per 100km.
Our launchman Minesh Bhagaloo describes the Sandero as a fun little car that also looks a lot nicer than its predecessor. As for the drive, “there isn't a substantial ride height difference, so it feels very much like the normal Sandero on the road. It's also got a nice little engine that's quite nippy.”
The cabin could be described as generously proportioned, with seating for five and 292 litres worth of luggage capacity. The generous standard features list includes cruise control, MP3/CD/USB audio system linked to steering controls, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows front and rear, electric mirrors and a rear parking sensor.
Like its more ordinary Sandero sibling, the Stepway also has the edge when it comes to safety kit with items like ESP traction control and Hill Start Assist being part of the deal, in addition to the obligatory ABS brakes and front airbags.
The package is topped off with a rather sensible price tag of R159 900, which undercuts the VW Polo Vivo Maxx 1.6 by R15 400. The price includes a five-year/150 000km warranty and two-year/30 000km service plan, with intervals spaced at 15 000 kays.