WHEN THE ORIGINAL Renault Sandero debuted in February 2009 with a large-for-the-segment 1.6-litre engine and an under-inflated price tag, it quickly set about jumbling up the local pecking order.
Here was A-segment value with B-segment dimensions plus a good mix of modern conveniences and safety equipment.
The formula hit the sales spot and until last month you could buy a new Sandero for R124 000. Today however, a brand new 1.4-litre Ambience can be driven off the showroom floor for a dramatically lower R104 900 – quite honestly the best value for money seen in SA’s motor industry for ages.
For your hard-earned dosh you get a spacious hatchback with ABS brakes, driver and front passenger airbags, aircon, remote locking and power steering. And, sorry, 14-inch steelies in each corner. Under the bonnet, the 1 390cc engine churns out 55kW and 112Nm, enabling a 13-second sprint to 100kph and top whack of 161kph. Claimed fuel consumption is 7.0ℓ/100km and CO2 emissions a modest 164g/km. More relevant than those figures however is this one: five years and 150 000km, the duration of the standard mechanical warranty which includes roadside assistance. A 3-yr/45 000km service plan can also be tacked on top of this for R3 800. Add the R1 900 entertainment system to the tally and for around R110 000 you have a very complete vehicle.
As an ownership proposition the base spec Sandero delivers a lot of car with very few compromises, but if you insist on a bigger engine there’s good news there too.
The newly consolidated 1.6 Dynamique, priced at R124 000, replaces the United, Cup and League models of last year. Apart from the punchier 64kW/128Nm engine, its higher spec includes 15in alloys, an onboard trip computer and the full Renault service plan. A four-speaker MP3 compatible audio system is standard and features a USB port.
The Stepway derivative, priced just below R150 000, rounds out the trifecta and is unchanged for 2011. Handling across the range is great, largely due to the fact that Sandero is underpinned by the rather good previous generation Clio. Add great value to the fact these cars are built in sunny South Africa and it’s hard to see a downside.