Renault's Sandero Stepway Plus punches above its weight in tough segment

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AMBIANCE TECHROAD - PLANCHE DE BORD - MEDIA NAV AVEC ANDROID AUTO - BOITE DE VITESSES MANUELLE - CLIMATISATION MANUELLE - CONDUITE A DROITE
AMBIANCE TECHROAD - PLANCHE DE BORD - MEDIA NAV AVEC ANDROID AUTO - BOITE DE VITESSES MANUELLE - CLIMATISATION MANUELLE - CONDUITE A DROITE

South Africans appetite for pseudo crossovers has resulted in the popularity of vehicles like the Volkswagen Cross Polo and Sandero Stepway. 

Its the latter that I'm interested in as Wheels24 has one for a long-term test, and I've grown to like it despite some quirks. 

The French automaker says they've flogged 26 000 Stepways in eight years, and now for 2019 they've spruced up their flagship. 

New flagship

First you need to know that the Stepway Plus replaced the Dynamique model as the flagship of the Stepway range earlier in 2019. 

It retails for for R213 900 and has quite a bit of kit, more on that later though. To get it moving, the Stepway Plus is powered by a peppy 66kW 900cc turbocharged petrol engine. 

It's gutsy little three-cylinder that suffers from a mountain of turbo lag but once it gets going it's fine. Renault send the power to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. 

The 'box is a tad 'notchy' but I rather enjoyed rowing my own gears in the Renault, the clutch is light and bites early so it's not a difficult car to drive. 

Fuel consumption is good, I averaged around 6.0-litres per 100km during the week I had it, which was a combination of city and highway driving. 

READ: Renault's all-new Sandero Stepway Plus makes a great little getaway car


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What does the Stepway Plus add?

Keen-eyed Renault fans will notice new 16-inch two-tone wheel covers, glossy black door mirrors and the addition of three new colours. Our test unit is clad in 'Fusion Red', which is more maroon than Ferrari Red.

There are new LED daytime driving lights which add a dollop of premium to the Stepway, very nice Renault. 

On the specification side, standard kit includes side airbags, front and rear power windows, electric side mirrors, a leather steering wheel and gear knob and park distance control at the rear.

Chuck in cruise control and a reverse camera, and the Stepway Plus starts to look like good value. 

Leather pews are optional, our test car is fitted with cloth seats which are comfortable and soft. 

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Inside, the Plus pulls big bunches over its rivals with access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as sat-nav on an integrated 17.78cm touchscreen.

It's easy to use and I merely plugged my phone via the USB port and CarPlay sprung to life. It's pretty simple and the touchscreen works well. 

I like the volume controls on the bottom right of the back of the steering wheel (a Renault trademark). 

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I've enjoyed the past couple of weeks in the Sandero Stepway Plus, it feels durable, has enough tech and toys to keep a millenial happy. 

But remember, the Stepway Plus is a pseudo crossover and has no business on anything other than tar roads or gravel that doesn't have a tall 'middel mannetjie'. For the city, well it's perfect if you want to channel your outdoorsy side. 

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