2016 Renault Sandero Stepway Privilege 1.6 16V from Uruguay
Very comfortable, easygoing and appointed vehicle
So far, and as to be expected, nothing has gone clearly wrong with the car. I just went to the dealer to have the car inspected at 1000 km as per their instructions.
Anyway, there are some minor issues which I think might be important to someone considering this car, though they certainly wouldn't have prevented me from buying it (I already knew some of them from my previous test drive).
1) Slight unevenness in RPM when driving at a stable speed - I can't affirm if this is totally subjective (the passenger does not realize this), and I haven't been able to confirm it with the RPM indicator. But it feels as if I very slightly pressed and relieved the accelerator pedal, when in fact I'm not.
2) Related to the above (in fact, this issue led to discovery of the first) - with cruise control activated, acceleration is somewhat erratic. The slightest incline will, as it should, produce an acceleration effect, but the computer's feedback feels as if there was a big delay. So, when you get to the top and begin another incline, the car will still accelerate a little bit, then let it go. It might well be that this is the first car I have ever driven that has cruise control, a relatively small engine, AND a manual transmission.
3) A-pillars are too thick, as in most modern cars (even though this is not such a new design, it's a 2014 mid-life modification of a 2012 car).
4) Power steering is heavy. I'm not looking for a 1970s Chevrolet Impala power steering, which would move just by looking at it. But I'd appreciate being able to maneuver with just one hand when parking, which is possible but uncomfortable. I have had non-power steering cars whose steering was not that much heavier.
5) Fuel consumption - the car is new and my driving is stop-and-go in town. Then again, 7.5 km/liter is guzzling. It got to around 13 in a 300 km stint doing about 100 km/h almost non stop.
So much for negative comments at this point.
I traded in a 2013 Chery Fulwin, which was my first Chinese car. I was looking for a taller car, which would be easier to enter, provide better visibility, and be altogether more comfortable.
My requirements also included power steering, manual A/C, power windows in four doors that would close when activating the central locking, remote opening trunk lid, power mirrors, and lots of space.
The Sandero Stepway was the car that best fit my requirements. It doesn't have all I wanted (no remote trunk lid opening, no automatic closing of windows), but it has climate control instead of manual A/C, a better radio with touch screen and navigation system, and better upholstery than I was looking for. I paid for it a little higher than I intended, but then again, most of us do.
It's very comfortable, access/egress is amazing and the vertical seat regulation allows for quite a variety of body frames to get a good seating position.
The 19 cm road clearance lets the car absorb South American potholes and road irregularities in good comfort. Damping is not too soft, so these irregularities will not hamper car control at reasonable speeds. I don't think this is a vehicle to drive at 140-160 all day long on roads that aren't very, very good. Then again, few cars are.
Road noise is adequate. Engine noise is a bit high, with the valvetrain making itself heard almost all the time. The cabin, however, closes like the proverbial vault, so the feel of isolation is very reassuring.
If there's interest in knowing about this car (I will be able to tell by the eventual comments), I'll let you know how it goes about every 1000 km.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th December, 2016
6th Jan 2017, 20:05
I haven't experienced any hesitation when using cruise control when ECO mode is not activated. I would usually set cruise control to 130km/h on the highway, and when I end up slowing down to say 80km/h, pressing 'resume' accelerates the vehicle back to 130km/h quickly, BUT it's by no means a fast car.
I've been enjoying this vehicle when I got it with 12 000km on it, now sitting at 21 900km and nothing has gone wrong, touch wood. I just find that although it's built well, with no rattles, there are some questionable gaps between the panels.
It is a comfortable car. I love it and the sound of the exhaust.