We spend a few days behind the wheel of the latest small crossover from Le Regie, the Renault Sandero Stepway Plus and share our impressions in this review.
We’ve written about a few Renault products since Double Apex was launched last year. There are two reasons for this: 1) the brand ensures that all its models are sent to us for review (which we appreciate), and 2) it has launched several new products into the local market since early 2018.
Renault SA realises that to maintain public interest in the brand it has to keep its portfolio updated. The latest addition to its local portfolio is the Renault Sandero Stepway Plus, a small crossover.
You can read our Renault Koleos review here.
A new derivative
Renault’s Sandero Stepway is not a new product for local consumption, it has been on the SA new car market for some time already, but this Plus derivative is a new range-topper of the Stepway family. Stepway is a well-known quantity; it is small crossover that competes with the likes of VW’s CrossPolo.
The new family head, this Plus version, has added new specification to the Expression model to earn its places at the top of range. Gloss black mirror caps on electrically adjusted exterior mirrors, fabric seats with a unique motif, rear electric windows, a leather-covered steering wheel, on-board computer and cruise control are the key differentiators.
The tech-savvy will also appreciate the addition of a 7-inch, full-colour, touchscreen infotainment system that comes as standard on the Plus. The systems features integrated navigation, Bluetooth audio for a streaming and hands-free calls as well as smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the display for a rear-facing camera to help with parking.
Power is derived from a turbocharged 0,9-litre, three cylinder petrol engine. Thus unit makes 66 kW and 135 N.m of torque. Drive from the motor is channelled through a five-speed manual transmission to the front wheels.
We found that the engine lacks in shove. Turbocharged engines typically have a lot of oomph in the mid-range, just where you need it in urban driving, but the small displacement triple doesn’t display that trait. In fact, it tends to run out of steam pretty easily. When overtaking on a motorway you have to drop a gear more than expected to make safe progress. It is for this constant rowing of the gearlever that we feel the Renault Sandero Stepway Plus could do with an automatic transmission.
The upside of that small engine is extremely low fuel consumption. It took over 300 km of driving before we saw the digital fuel gauge drop one bar from full. We bet that if driven carefully some will even match Renault’s claimed figure of 5,4 litres/100 km.
Easy on the rump
Another highlight of the Renault Sandero Stepway Plus is its easy-going ride quality. The 16-inch wheels are shod with tyres that have high sidewalls. This gives the Stepway a ride that does not jar except when faced with the worst road imperfections.
Standard safety equipment (across the range) includes anti-lock brakes with EBA + EBD plus an electronic stability control safety net. The Plus model adds side airbags to the dual front items found on other Stepway derivatives.
The Renault Sandero Stepway Plus builds on the solid base that is the Stepway. It adds a good selection of added specification to make it more attractive and appealing to young, trendy first-time buyers. As a package we found it quite agreeable. Do not expect scintillating performance, expect to makes lots of gearshifts and you will not be disappointed by what it has to offer.
Price: R213 900
Engine: 0,9-litre, inline three, turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power: 66 kW
Torque: 135 N.m
Top speed: 168 km/h
0-100 km/h: 11,1 seconds
Fuel consumption: 5,4 L/100 km
All models come with a with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a two-year/30 000 km service plan.