Recently the new Renault Sandero 0,9 turbo Dynamique joined my long term test fleet, the following review is an unbiased assessment.

Now let’s have a look at the Renault Sandero, It seems that recently Renault has been on a winning streak when it comes to hitting home runs with new models, the Clio is a great example also true to the previously launched Duster. Now Renault has turned its sights on the entry-level market aiming to change the goal posts. Built on the same platform as Clio the Sandero offers little ‘big car” proportions with the latest in engine technologies.

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Passenger space

The Sandero is very spacious for such a small car and two adults should find decent space in the rear seats. All model offers a decent range of adjustability and enough support for longer journeys.

Boot space

Where the Sandero really shines is its practicality – it’s 320-litre boot is not only bigger than the Ford Fiesta’s (276 litres) or Opel’s Corsa’s (285 litres), but also edges the Ford Focus’s (316 litres) which is one class larger. The only supermini with a bigger boot than the Sandero is the Hyundai i20 with its 326 litres of space.

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Driving dynamics

Quieter than before and has a sporty feel behind the wheel. The Sandero feels quite old-school French in the way it drives, riding nicely but not exactly matching a Ford Fiesta in terms of dynamics. Grip levels are described as “decent” while some testers even found the steering to offer some feel – perhaps as a result of its old school hydraulic assistance, rather than electrical systems found in most modern cars. For many, though, the pseudo-off road Stepway model, with more ground clearance and a better ride, is the better-driving car.

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Engine technology

Just one engine option available, but a better distance car than before. The nice-sounding 0.9 TCe, which improves on performance and refinement. Surprisingly it’s the technological jump in this segment that impresses because the Sandero now utilises the same three-cylinder 900cc turbo-engine found in the new Clio. It’s an extremely smooth powerplant that proves that downsizing is the way of the future. Capable of offering a relatively sporty drive from its 66kW of power and 135Nm of torque, it can go from standstill to 100km/h in 11.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 175km/h. Granted, it’s not going to beat any land speed records, but it will be a treat at the pumps, particularly with where the fuel price is headed. Renault claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.2 litres/100km and we know these figures are usually largely unattainable. However we managed to muster up a very impressive 5.5 litres/100km while driving like a young Sebastian Vettel, making the claimed figure that much more impressive. The CO2 emissions rating is 119g/km.

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Standard features

The car offers Bluetooth functionality, MP3 radio with USB, air conditioning for those hot days to electric front and rear windows, the car is properly loaded – even boasting cruise control, which is unheard of in this segment.

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Safety

On the safety front it boasts ABS and EBD as well as EBA. Furthermore, ESP and hill start assist are fitted across the range, along with Isofix fasteners and driver and passenger airbags. The higher Dynamique spec, includes front side airbags. Experts at Euro NCAP have determined the Sandero is structurally sound in the event of a crash. They note that, unlike its more expensive rivals, it doesn’t come with many of the safety advances that cost extra in other models and, as a result, only received a four-star maximum safety rating instead of the full five. If you’re looking to save money, you won’t get better elsewhere. Active safety on rivals usually costs extra.

Conclusion

Having jam-packed the Sandero full of the latest tech, Renault is clearly out to make a statement with this car, leaving the consumer wanting nothing extra. In such a hotly contested segment it seems like the French have done their homework, especially with such a good price proposition. The only thing you may be found wanting is an automatic option as the five-speed manual box can get tedious to use in traffic. Ultimately it’s a user-friendly car, especially on the pocket of the cash-strapped consumer. While it doesn’t ooze personality or an engaging drive, for the nine-to-five work week, it’s perfect. The new Sandero comes with Renault’s industry leading 5-year/150 000km warranty completed by a standard 2-year/30 000km service plan.

The Dealership experience

Renault Bryanston

Sales experience 5 stars

Finance and administration 5 stars

Dealership facilities 5 stars

Staff friendliness 5 stars