Renault Sandero Turbo Dynamique review

Renault-Sandero-2-039New Renault Sandero Turbo Dynamique

The new Renault Sandero should be the car that really puts Renault on the map in South Africa. It should sell in droves.  It is good looking, handles nicely, is guaranteed for 5 years and is very affordable.

The Sandero is a budget small family car with a generous boot.

In Dynamique guise it has all the bells and whistles and is really good value for money.

All new Sanderos come with a full suite of electronic safety aids, even hill start assist, front airbags and ISO Renault-Sandero-2-012childseat anchors. They also all have central locking, electric front windows, radio fingertip controls, Bluetooth and power steering.

The top model of the new Sandero adds airconditioning, cruise control, onboard computer, rear electric windows, 2 more airbags and foglamps.

In a nutshell, the new Sandero is well equipped.

I found the seats comfortable. The fabric looks and feels good and appears to be durable. The interior is functional, smart and seems well put together. Five adults can fit in, if for shortish distances. It also has a large boot.

The multi-function steering wheel feels good and the steering is good for its class and actually gives you feedback.

The engine is a new generation turbo petrol delivering 66kW and 135Nm of torque. Do not worry that it is a 3 cylinder 900cc unit. It has a very low inertia turbo combined with Variable Valve Timing which results in exceptional performance.  All the manufacturers are going in this direction. It felt more powerful to me than a typical German 1.2 turbodiesel engine. I found it to be willing and well suited to the Sandero.

Renault-Sandero-2-112

Handling and roadholding is good and at least matches its competition. It is based on the same platform as the fourth generation Clio so inherits the good road manners of its sibling.

The first three gears are quite close, giving you lots of grunt when you need it, but the last two are designed for the open road and good economy.

Renault claims a mixed cycle fuel consumption of 5.2 litre per 100km. This is very optimistic. Expect between 6 and 7 l/100km. Top speed is 175km/h and you will get to 100km/h in just over 11 seconds.

The plus factors for this car are:Renault-Sandero-2-077

Interior space and a big boot

Great price, exceptional value

Good looks, modern design

Expansive standard equipment list

I think the new Sandero has shifted the goalposts in the affordable small car market. It is a very good affordable small car with space to seat 4 adults in comfort. You get a lot of car for your money.

It should make a good business car, especially considering the five year warranty.

Price as tested: R141 500. The base model Expression is R123 900 (R133 900 with aircon).

Warranty is a very good 5 years or 150 000 and the service plan is for 2 years or 30 000km.

Also look at the Toyota Etios, Volkswagen Polo Vivo and Ford Figo.

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Suzuki Celerio

Suzuki Celerio

The new Celerio is the first Suzuki model to be fitted with the  new automated manual gearbox, which allows clutchless operation of a manual gearbox without the energy losses usually associated with conventional torque converter-based automatic transmissions. Very clever.

The Celerio range replaces the Ato as the entry level offering in South Africa, but is a little bigger.

Suzuki Celerio

Suzuki Celerio

Suzuki finally offers a new generation normally aspirated three-cylinder one litre engine, in this case case delivering 50kW and 90Nm and promising less than 5 litre/100km fuel consumption.

This mini hatchback gives the impression of space on the inside thanks to its tall roof.

The Celerio is 100 mm longer and 70 mm taller than the outgoing Alto, while width has remained exactly the same. The wheelbase has increased by 65 mm to 2 425 mm, which greatly benefits interior space.

celerio dashCompared to the Alto, headroom in the Celerio has improved by 21 mm in front, and by 43 mm at the rear. Significantly, there is also 60 mm more elbow room for rear occupants. The Celerio’s extended wheelbase has boosted rear legroom by 50 mm, while the rear footwells are 28 mm wider.

At 235 litres, the luggage capacity is best in class, while the large tailgate opens all the way down to bumper level, reducing the load sill height to just 692 mm.

The  new automated manual gearbox uses an electro-hydraulic actuator to change gears without the need for a clutch pedal. The system offers both full auto and manual shift modes, and ensures a smooth shift action by synchronising clutch control, gearshift action and engine speed.

The AMT can operate in fully automatic mode, or in manual override, allowing the driver to change gears manually. There’s also a creep mode, which ensures smooth operation in stop-start urban traffic.

The Celerio is the most fuel efficient automatic car in our market.

Dual front SRS airbags, an ABS anti-lock braking system, inertia reel seatbelts, childproof door locks and a high-mounted third brake light are all standard.

The new Celerio is available in a choice three models, all powered by the same engine, but offering two transmission options and two specification levels: GA and GL.

The top of the range 1.0i GL AMT Alloy CR5 seems to be the best buy.

1.0i GA MT (No service plan) CR1             R109 900
1.0i GA MT Alloy (No service plan) CR2 R112 900
1.0i GL MT CR4                                            R124 900
1.0i GL MT Alloy CR3                                  R127 900
1.0i GL AMT CR6                                         R135 900
1.0i GL AMT Alloy CR5                              R138 900

Retail price includes a 2 yr / 30 000km service plan

Hyundai Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid Manual review

Hyundai Accent 1.6

Hyundai Accent 1.6

Accent Hatch 1.6 Fluid Manual

There is a very small gap between the i20 and the i30 models in the Hyundai hatch range. Hyundai says so. Its called the Accent Hatch. No t to be confused with the Accent sedan, which feels a different car.

The Accent Hatch is an economical, value for money model which stands apart from the normal range, aimed at the company car niche.

The hatch looks quite modern on the outside and is plain but pleasant on the inside. It is a no frills but not a stripped down offering from the Korean value car brand. It is a car you would not buy based on an emotional response. Its practical, affordable transport. Its bland enough that your bookkeeper would buy one, much like she would have bought an old Corolla 15 or 20 years ago. In a way the Acccent Hatch replaces the Toyota Conquest niche in the market. That is not a bad thing.

The interior is much like the sedan with which it shares many components. Instrumentation is very complete as is the list of comfort equipment.

The seats remain comfortable even after 30 minutes and seem to have a durable cloth covering, leather is a R8 000 option. The fit and finish is good and materials although not luxurious are fine.

Equipment includes steering wheel-mounted audio controls, USB/aux ports for multimedia, integrated Bluetooth for phone calls and music streaming, height adjustable steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, four-speed air conditioner, and park distance control.

Hyundai Accent 1.6 Fluid

Hyundai Accent 1.6 Fluid

On the road the Accent performs acceptably. Steering is a little light for my liking, but effective. It is not a peppy drive, but rather steady and sedate, a result of being set up for economy. Hyundai claims 6.4l/100km in general use. In reality it is more like 7.4, which is still good.

I found the road noise to be more than expected. On the open road it has a bit of a whine or drone which I found irritating.

The six speed manual gearbox is good but the rather ancient four speed automatic should be treated with circumspection.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a shabby offering, it’s just not exciting. It is a practical car solution for somebody who just wants reliable wheels. It is worth a look.Accent-Hatch-108

The car as tested costs R234 900, which I feel is a little expensive. I would rather go for a Suzuki Swift at R188 900.

Also look at the Ford Figo, VW Vivo, Kia Rio, Hyundai i20, Toyota Yaris, Suzuki Swift or Renault Sandero.

The manufacturer’s warranty is for a good  5 Year / 150 000 km and the service plan for 5 years or 90 000 km.

 

 

Nissan NV200 diesel review

NV200-thumb

NV200

Nissan NV200 – Leading the way

The Nissan NV200 is an exceptionally practical vehicle, especially in diesel guise. Whether as a panel van or a microbus, the VN200 is compelling.

We tested the petrol version.

The 200 range of Nissan commercial vehicles comprising of the bakkies, NP200, and the vans, NV200, are the most complete and possibly best value range in South Africa. While the bakkies completely dominate their segment, the vans still have to catch up to the more established VW Caddy range.

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Internationally the NV200 is becoming the dominant small bus. It has been selected as the taxi of choice in both New York and London. A hybrid and an electric model are on the way.

You will have to search far and wide to find a better vehicle to use as a taxi or small shuttle.

Nissan-NV200-041It has the biggest ‘boot’ space of all the small busses at 340dm ³ and the best access.

I immediately liked the vehicle. It does everything smoothly and effortlessly. The NV200 is easy to drive. The combination of relative light weight, peppy engine, light steering and smooth gearbox contribute to car like handling. It is really pleasant to travel in.

This little van from Nissan is the class leader by quite a margin. It goes well, handles well and has loads of space.

This is the second NV200 I have tested. I am almost more impressed this time round. It delivers so much more than it promises looking at it from a distance.

Nissan-NV200-007The interior has been well designed and is practical, comfortable and appears to be durable. Standard equipment include multi-function steering wheel, aircon, radio/CD with aux and USB inputs, Bluetooth for audio streaming and hands-free cellphone, powered external mirrors and windows, front fog lights, loads of storage compartments and a full spare wheel.

This van has very generous space considering its compact dimensions, with 4.2 cubic metres of volume in the rear and a 739kg payload, space for two Europallets, while loads up to 1.36 metres in height can be carried.

A big plus are the sliding doors on both sides. Very practical.Nissan-NV200-036

The 1.5dCi diesel produces good torque and delivers superb fuel economy of around 5.5 to 6 litres per 100km. The 1.6i petrol has more power but expect fuel consumption around 8 l/100km.

Expect to see many of these combis and vans on our roads soon.

Whether you are looking for a small bus/ 7 seater or a smaller van the NV200 has to be on your shopping list.

Also consider the VW Caddy, Toyota Avanza, the slightly smaller Honda Mobilio and even the Suzuki Ertiga. Other vans to look at are the Fiat Doblo and Renault Kangoo.

The diesel van costs R245 900, petrol R221 900, the diesel Combi or bus R303 900, petrol R277 900.

Warranty is 3 years or 100 00km, service intervals are 15 000km.