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

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Automatic EcoBoost PowerShift Trend review

Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Trend

Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Trend

Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Trend

Wow. What a little surprise package. So much more than you expect.

The Fiesta EcoBoost is fun, frugal, feisty and just plain a fabulous small car.

The engine in the car was International Engine of The Year in 2012, 2013 & 2014*. It is a gutsy little engine producing the amazing torque of 170Nm as opposed to the 1.4 normally aspirated petrol engine which manages just 128Nm. You feel the difference, believe me. Ford calls it an inline three cylinder turbo petrol, direct fuel injection and Ti-VCT. I call it dynamite.

Top speed of 180km/h and 0 to 100 of 10.8 seconds. Ford_Fiesta_1.0_044

Ford claims Fuel Economy – NEDC ℓ/100km (combined cycle) of 4.9litres/100km. Expect6l/100km in normal driving but under 5l/100km on the highway.

There are three levels of trim, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium. Go for the Trend.

The Fiesta Trend line has a full suite of safety equipment including hill launch assist and even the hazard lights are activated under emergency braking. The Trend models have fog lamps front and rear, daytime running lights, a follow me home headlight feature and halogen projector headlamps.

This ‘new’ updated Fiesta looks good. The only really new feature is the nose, more specifically the grill. You will either love or hate it. The rest of the car is sexy. Beautifully balanced lines and just the right weight between glass and sheetmetal.

Ford_Fiesta_dashInterior

The cabin is roomy for the class of car and well appointed. I feel it has the class leading cabin package. The only items missing are cruise control and seat warmers. Fit and finish is excellent.

The driver seat is manually adjustable, horizontally, vertically and the angle of the backrest. The seating is comfortable and looks good.

The legroom for the back seats is good for this class of car.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Powershift

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Powershift

Entertaining

Driving the Fiesta is a fiesta. You just salsa along. The 1.0 is very much a driver’s kind of car. Fun, zippy and sporty with excellent road holding and handling to match. And its economical. The car’s dynamics are best in class. It sticks to the road around corners like marmalade to your fingers.

This new facelifted Fiesta raises the bar for B segment motoring, it is that good.

The 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Trend, as tested costs R236 300. This is quite possibly the pick of the bunch. The other choice could be the 1.6 TDCi Trend manual turbodiesel.

The Fiesta range starts at R178 900 for the Ambiente 1.4 petrol manual. The top of the range Fiesta is the ST at R267 700. The diesels start at R194 900.

Also look at the VW Polo, Kia Rio, Mazda 2,Renault Clio or Hyundai i20.

All Fiestas have a comprehensive warranty of 4years / 120 000 km and a service plan for 4 years / 60 000 km.

* The International Engine of The Year panel of 82 jury members from 34 countries also named the Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter turbo as the best New Engine for 2014. The electric engine from Tesla won the Green Engine prize, and the 4.5-liter V8 from the Ferrari 458 Italia is the top Performance Engine. The little Ford keeps very good company.

Article first appeared in Your Business Magazine