The second generation Renault Sandero has been on sale since the middle of March 2014 and after attending the launch in Johannesburg, we get our hands on one for a week-long evaluation.
As mentioned in my Renault Sandero launch article, I was impressed with the generous specification, safety features as well as interior space. For a small entry-level city car to offer this much, it's quite an eye opener. However living with the car for a week-long period is a good chance for any faults to make themselves known and it's an opportunity to see what the vehicle is really like.
SpecificationIs there a vehicle which can match the Renault Sandero in terms of specification for under R150 000? I don't think so, and your R141 500 puts you behind the wheel of a vehicle equipped with cruise control, speed limiter, radio with Mp3/USB/Bluetooth, satellite radio controls, electric windows all round, leather steering wheel and alloy wheels. It's truly impressive and you wonder how Renault makes any profit from these cars.
It beats the competition in terms of safety features too. This is the only vehicle in its class to offer Electronic Stability Programme and Anti-Skid Regulation. There's ABS with Electronic Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution too. The Renault Sandero Dynamique also comes with front driver and passenger airbags, as well as side airbags for the driver and passenger.
EngineThe 0.9-litre three-cylinder engine in the Renault Clio 4 also does duty in the Sandero. On paper it looks promising with its 66 kW and 135 Nm, which then leads you to believe you're getting thrifty consumption. In reality, even with Eco Mode and driving like someone who is double my age, I couldn't get the fuel consumption to under 6l/100km in urban areas. On the open road I did see 5.5l/100km, but it's nowhere near Renault's claim of 5.2l/100km on the combined fuel consumption cycle. Perhaps it'd be worth entering a Sandero into the national Economy Run competition to see what it can really do?
Despite its average fuel consumption, the engine itself is pleasant enough. It emits a typical three-pot engine growl, which is quite nice and completely different from the mechanical dull thrum of a generic 1.4. It can be quite fun to drive too, and you can feel a little turbo surge as you accelerate. Its acceleration figures are not too dissimilar to its 1.4-litre rivals, so don't be put off by the tiny displacement of the Renault Sandero.
Ride and handlingThe Renault Sandero rides well, but don't expect a sporty drive. This is a basic city car, designed for the commute and poor quality roads. It excels at soaking up the bumps and interestingly, it offers a ground clearance of 164 mm making it quite good when driving up steep driveways or over speed bumps.
Conclusion / SummaryYou'll struggle to find a car which personifies budget motoring more than the Renault Sandero. The amount of specification and cabin space is superb, and there are cars which cost almost double this which don't offer as many features as standard. My only gripe is the fuel economy as it doesn't quite live up to expectations. That said, the overwhelming value-for-money feeling definitely outweighs the engine's lack of efficiency.
Renault Sandero price in South AfricaThe Renault Sandero range starts from R133 900 with the Expression. Reviewed here is the Sandero Dynamique which offers more specification for R141 500. The vehicle comes with a five year / 150 000 km warranty. There's a two-year/30 000 service plan, with service intervals every 15 000km.
Renault Sandero (2014) Quick Specs
|Engine||0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||66 kW @ 5 250 rpm|
|Torque||135 Nm @ 2 500 rpm|
|Transmission||5-speed manual gearbox|
|0-100km/h||11.1 seconds (claimed)|
|Fuel economy||5.2 l/100km (claimed)|
. Best in class specification levels . Fun engine . Spacious cabin