New Renault Kadjar 2019 review

We’ve driven the updated Renault Kadjar to see if its updates make it worth choosing over the competition

The Renault Kadjar has always deserved serious consideration among the usual crop of family crossovers, and the latest updates raise its game further. The new engines mark the biggest improvement, and deliver strong performance with the promise of great fuel economy. Some rivals are better to drive, and some feel more special inside, but as a practical, comfortable all-rounder, the Kadjar is hard to fault.

This is the refreshed-for-2019 Renault Kadjar SUV. The C-segment crossover has been treated to a variety of tweaks to keep it fresh – vitally important, considering it sits in arguably the busiest and most competitive new car class. So are the changes enough to make it worth choosing over a SEAT Ateca, Ford Kuga or Nissan Qashqai?

As before, the Kadjar is mechanically similar to the Qashqai, and the latest updates include the same overhauled engine lineup which was recently introduced to its Nissan cousin.

The diesel range kicks off with an updated version of the existing 1.5 dCi; there’s now an Adblue filter to reduce emissions, more soundproofing around the block and a nominal power and torque increase. The old 1.6 has been redeveloped into a 1.7-litre unit which, with 148bhp on tap, is significantly more muscular than before. It’s also the only Kadjar offered with four-wheel drive and a locking differential.

But in a sign of how the market has changed within the last year or two, it’s the petrol engines that are expected to account for almost 70 percent of Kadjar sales in the UK. A new 1.3 litre turbocharged unit, co-developed with Daimler, is available in two outputs. There’s a 158bhp unit at the top of the range, and a 138bhp version driven here.

Along with the new engines, the Kadjar is treated to a styling revamp. The front grille is wider and gets new chrome inserts, and the number plate is moved upwards to emphasise the 4×4-inspired splitter. Around the back, there’s a new bumper with integrated LED reversing lights; and the brighter lighting tech is also applied to the tail lights and indicators.

The exterior changes are finished off with the introduction of a few new alloy wheel designs and three new colours: Oural Green, Highland Grey and, on the top two trim levels, Iron Blue.

Inside, Renault has made a series of small detail improvements. They don’t transform what is still a slightly bland cabin, but the changes are all positive. The redesigned seats, for example, are more supportive than before (particularly at the sides), there’s a new sliding centre armrest, while illuminated window switchgear from the Megane looks more expensive. The centre console cup holders are an improvement on before, but still comically shallow.

The new climate controls are great, too: three big dials each have built-in screens to show temperature and blower direction. They’re dead easy to use and look much better than before.

The touchscreen, now installed flush to the dash, looks much tidier and is more responsive to the touch. It’s just a shame that it’s still hampered by the same slow loading times, clunky menus and messy graphics. At least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range now.

Little has changed from a chassis point of view, so it’s the new engines which make the difference to the way the car drives. The news is pretty much universally positive: the 138bhp unit is much stronger than the outgoing 1.2 throughout the rev range. While it’s not the smoothest unit when revved hard, it settles down into a hushed cruise.

If anything, this version of the engine performs so well that it’s questionable whether or not the more potent option is really necessary. The 158bhp version is claimed to be 0.5 seconds quicker to 0-62mph, but the difference is barely noticeable even when the pair are driven back-to-back.

Both are available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes. The manual is pleasant enough, and although the auto is easier to use around town, it can be slow to kick down when you want to accelerate or overtake.

Elsewhere, the Kadjar driving experience is as before: on the 19-inch wheel model we sampled, the ride is slightly firmer than in the Qashqai yet smoother than a SEAT Ateca. Turn into a corner and body control is reasonable, and the steering is precise enough, if offering little feel. Not fun, but perfectly adequate for a practical family car.

And that’s where the Renault fares well. It’s 472 lite boot is larger than the Nissan, and it’s got plenty of space inside for five. Back seat passengers are now treated to central air vents and a pair of USB sockets.


The range starts in Play trim – one of four available. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control and that 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration. The pick of the range looks to be the Iconic, which adds 19-inch alloys, satellite navigation, a reversing camera, and lane departure warning.

And at its price, it compares very favourably with its closest rival. Compare the Kadjar Iconic with the roughly equivalent Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta with identical 138bhp engines, and the Renault is reasonably cheaper. Renault is yet to release finance deals, but even though the Nissan’s offers are very competitive at the moment, that’s a big difference if you bear in mind that the pair are much the same to drive and the Renault has more space inside.

Test drive the Kadjar and experience its power, grace and wonder for yourself, at a Group 1 Renault dealership.


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Renault Clio 2018 Review

At 25 years old the Renault Clio for sale is still going strong, having undergone a number of iterations to keep up with the times. We had the chance to live with the GT-Line version of the Renault Clio TCe 90 and put it through its paces. Here’s what we thought on the areas that matter.


Street view

The Clio’s DNA has remained largely the same in its 25 years, the 2018 model however, is the slickest incarnation yet. Stylish and compact, this car attracts eyeballs, especially in Flame Red, the colour we had in for review. Eight other colour options are available, including a classy Iron Blue that would be my second choice.

Some people may have avoided the Clio because of its dainty shape over recent years, but this year’s 5-door frame is intentionally bolder. Even more so in the GT-Line trim, which offers 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome detailing, including chrome exhaust and dark metal door mirrors too. Arching upwards, the Clio GT’s full LED headlamps also add to the car’s bold personality. The overall look is stylish with a hint of aggression from both its side profile and head on.



Cloth covered seats and synthetic leather great you when you open the door. The seats are designed to look sporty and provide adequate back support. There’s a black velvet option with red piping that works well and would be my preferred choice, particularly if you’ve gone for the one of the two red paint jobs.

There’s plenty of room in the front for people with longer legs and wide shoulders and the seats are easily adjusted. I found a comfortable driving position within seconds of sitting in this car for the first time. There isn’t much storage upfront though, which may be a plus for some who want to avoid filling their car with tat. But as someone who carries at least two phones, water and often wears accessories like hats/glasses, there wasn’t always enough space to store everything securely. The glovebox is quite small and the central and side compartments don’t fit much more than two phones, and a water bottle or small brolly. Additionally, slope of the car limits headroom for particularly tall people who are forced to sit in the rear. With that said, it’s a spacious-looking cabin with some modern materials and design flourishes, but it’s not the fanciest in its class.


Boot Space


The Clio offers average boot storage for its class, which is in line with what you’d expect from a small car. However, if you do need a bit of extra room the rear seats can be folded forward, but annoyingly don’t collapse flat. In general use, this isn’t an issue but it may be a challenge if you have to make a trip to a Swedish flat pack furniture store.




The Clio GT has a 7-inch R-Link multimedia touch interface, with Android Auto and basic but clear graphics. Navtech satellite navigation and bluetooth connectivity come as standard. Its hands-free keycard with push-to-start functionality is also a nice touch. USB and AUX sockets are available for external audio sources. It also has a DAB/FM/AM radio, which is intuitive to programme with your favourite stations.


Two premium tech packs give you a choice between audio by BOSE or Arkamys. Even if you want to save a couple of hundred pounds and skip the BOSE option, the Arkamys audio is still pretty decent and gives a full sound without the need for blasting music at full volume. If you’re not the most confident parker, this car comes with rear parking sensors for support. Additionally, rear view visibility from its central and electronically-powered side mirrors is adequate enough to provide good visibility of the car’s position.


Headlights, wipers and climate can function on automatic mode, but they are all easy to adjust manually with straightforward controls. All comfortably within reach. The same can’t be said for the stereo controls, which are oddly tucked behind the steering wheel out of plain view. However, I did get used to operating them by feel within a couple of drives.



This car is an ideal runabout for city or small town living. It comfortably fits down narrow roads and is a breeze to park in most spaces. I’d usually be reluctant to drive a compact car like this across country, but the Clio GT holds its own in the fast lane. At top speeds, the Clio feels stable and handles weaving roads with composure. It also does a fair job of keeping road noise from becoming a distraction when on the motorway. Its 0.9-litre petrol engine climbs through five gears with a decent amount of grunt from 2,250rpm. Although when facing hills, I did find myself having to drop into second to give it a hand.

If you live in a place with a lot of steep hills, like Bristol or High Wycombe, you may want to go for a Diesel option, which offers significantly more torque 220 (Nm) vs 140 at 2,250rpm. With a maximum speed of 110mph and decent fuel economy, this car in this configuration is more than adequate for commuters and people who may want to go on the occasional road trip.




All of the features you’d expect are here; including seatbelt reminder, emergency brake assist, deadlocking, cruise control and speed limiter, as well as electronic stability and traction control. To protect you incase of a collision there are six airbags covering the front and side of the head and anti-whiplash headrests. Additionally, both of the rear outer seats have ISOFIX child seat anchoring points if babies are a thing in your life.

However, some of the competition are offering more advanced safety features as standard, including auto-emergency braking, advanced vision sensors and parking cameras.



Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the GT-Line Clio 2018. It exceeded expectations. I like a car that makes a good impression at first glance and this one handles as pleasantly as it looks.


Experience the Renault Clio first hand at a Group 1 Renault dealership with a test drive!


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The Renault KWID has just landed in South Africa and in many instances has elbowed its way to the front of the compact queue.

Here are five compelling reasons to get behind the wheel of the new Renault KWID:

  • Free Insurance (for a year)

First time buyers and those who are on a tight budget, free insurance for a year can provide much needed breathing space when taking on a big investment, such as buying a new car. A conservative insurance premium for around R500/month equates to a R6000 saving for the first 12 months of ownership.

  • Ground Clearance and Trendy Crossover Styling

Because Renault KWID is modelled around a compact crossover, the 180mm ground clearance allows inexperienced drivers the freedom to make little mistakes. Whether you’re touching the pavement with a tyre or ramping a speedbump by mistake, parking on the grass at “Uni” or taking a gravel shortcut, KWID takes all of this every day mayhem in its stride, making it a compelling choice for parents or students wanting a robust, attractive and modern vehicle.

  • Interior Space

With height adjustable front seats and spacious rear leg and head room, KWID’s crossover roots once again give it an advantage over its competitors.  Add to that the 300 litres of available stowage and you’re looking at a class leader


  • The Engine

The 999cc 3-cylinder engine pushes out 50kW and, with KWID’s weight being just 700kg, it has one of the best in class power-to-weight ratios. This all adds up to a respectable claimed fuel consumption figure of 4.7 litres/100 km.

  • Class-leading in-car Technology

Bluetooth, aircon, USB and modern interior all come standard in the new Renault KWID.  Another first in this segment is the 7” Touchscreen MediaNav Multimedia system. Electric power steering, digital dashboard and electric front windows round off a spec list that wouldn’t be out of place a few segments up.

Modern and wearing a badge that has earned a reputation for innovative technology without attaching the lofty price tag, the Renault KWID is on sale at Group 1 Renault  in Expression and Dynamique specification.


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New 2018 Renault Duster SUV: Full details and specs

All-new Dacia/ Renault Duster SUV gets a pair of punchy turbo petrol engines and extra infotainment features for 2019

Two new petrol engines have been added to the Duster range, broadening the appeal of the budget SUV. The new 1.3-litre turbo unit will be available in two guises, replacing the old 123bhp 1.2-litre from early 2019.

The entry-level turbo petrol engine is a 1.3-litre motor with 128bhp and 240Nm of torque. Performance figures haven’t been revealed, but it’s likely to be slightly faster (and slightly more economical) than the old 1.2-litre car. That means 0-62mph in around 10 seconds, and up to 50mpg. The second engine is a variation of the same unit boosted to 148bhp; the most powerful production engine ever fitted to a Renault Duster. Again, data hasn’t been revealed, but with 250Nm of torque, it’s expected to be even punchier.

Both of the turbo petrol engines will be available in 4×2 and 4×4 guises, with the former on sale from early next year. The four-wheel drive petrol cars will arrive towards the middle of 2019.

Elsewhere, the Duster will soon be available with a new infotainment system. Media Nav Evolution adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a more responsive touchscreen with faster menu access. Again, pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s likely that the new system will only be standard on the very top-spec Duster models.

Of course, the second-generation Duster is still available with the familiar 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine and a single 108bhp diesel. Four trim levels are offered to Duster buyers: Access, Essential, Comfort, and Prestige.

All Dusters come as standard with LED daytime running lights, 16-inch steel wheels, electric front windows, an engine immobiliser, automatic door locking, Emergency Brake Assist, new full-length curtain airbags, and two ISOFIX points in the rear.

Essential spec models feature body coloured front and rear bumpers, manual air conditioning, heat adjustable driver’s seat, DAB radio, and Bluetooth. Comfort spec adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, seven-inch touchscreen, and heated electric mirrors. Range-topping Prestige models benefit from larger 17-inch ‘Diamond-cut’ alloys, a multi-view camera, blind spot warning, climate control, and keyless entry.  

The SUV is based on the same platform as the outgoing car, making it almost identical in terms of dimensions. However, the marque’s design boss, Laurens van der Acker, says every body panel is new.

As part of the overhaul, the new Duster has reprofiled side panels, along with a wider wheel base to ensure the wheels fill the arches better. Also, on a more practical note, the windscreen has ventured forward 100mm to increase space. The bonnet and belt-line have been raised up, giving a secure feel for occupants, and the tail-lights have been pushed out to each corner.

In the cabin, the interior has been overhauled extensively with a brand new dashboard layout, new materials, and new technology. The new dashboard makes use of cleaner surfaces and repositioned air vents, alongside fresh instruments and a new steering wheel. The centre console is angled towards the driver, with the infotainment system positioned higher up. Elsewhere inside, Dacia (Renault) has introduced new seats, and the interior storage spaces have been revised to inject additional practicality.

Dacia/ Renault bosses expect the new model to retain a three-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating. However, an optional safety pack will be made available, bringing autonomous braking and another active tech. This is likely to add another star to its score.

Get Into A Duster

Test drive the Renault Duster at your nearest Group 1 Renault dealership and experience this powerful vehicle from behind the wheel.
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The Renault Clio is impressive in small hatchback class

The Renault Clio is a hot cake

The French brand is an exceptional one due to its simplicity, reliability and practicality. Though getting aged but its popularity graph is still high among small hatchback class. It’s comparatively good, is wide and has spacious interior with economical engines that offer a good driving experience too its users.


The interior of Renault Clio is simple but a reasonable one

The edge that Renault Clio has on its rivals is of its good, simple and reasonable interior that is not fussy at all and the manufacturer seems not in the try to impress the audience by pouring lot of equipment, systems and controls in its small interior.

The Clio offers a good driving experience with noise free interior. The material is of good standard and well knitted. The plastic material along with metal touches gives the interior a classy look. The steering is of good weight gives good handling and accurate driving experience.

The power train of Renault Clio is good enough to support this hatchback

There are good and efficient petrol and frugal diesel engines for Renault Clio. Though not with extra and gigantic power, but reasonable in response and offer smooth driving experience.

Renault Clio is not a big hatchback so its engine range is rightly compatible with its smaller body design and built. All engines produce fluent and smooth power rather than bombastic sprint with extra brisk and speed.

Renault Clio enjoys a good variety of diesel engine

The diesel engine range of this hatchback starts with 1.5 litre dCi unit. It is capable of 88bhp and 162lb/ft torque. It is a four-cylinder and eight-valve engine, perfect match with Renault Clio’s small built.

It takes 11.6 seconds to get from 0-62m/h with top speed of 112m/h. It offers massive fuel average of 85m/g with just 85g/km of CO2 emissions. It is fitted with five-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive unit as standard.


The 1.5 litre dCi unit with 110bhp version

The other diesel engine for Renault Clio is of 110bhp and 192lb/ft torque. It is available in six-speed manual gearbox rather than five-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive system as standard.

It is also a four-cylinder and eight-valve engine and takes 10.8 seconds to get from 0-62m/h with top speed of 121m/h. The fuel average is efficient one with 80m/g and CO2 emissions are 90g/km.


The petrol engine lineup has more option than the diesel engines

The petrol engine lineup starts with 1.2 litre unit that is of just 73bhp and 79lb/ft torque. The interesting thing of this engine is it’s built. It is four-cylinder and sixteen-valve engine rather than eight as we find in all diesels and takes 14.0 seconds to reach from 0-62m/h with top speed of 104m/h.

The fuel average is also not good as we have in diesels. It gives 51m/g of fuel average with 127g/km of CO2 emissions and is equipped with five-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive system.


The 1.2 litre with 118bhp version

The other petrol version in 1.2 litre TCE is of 118bhp and 140lb/ft torque. It is quite responsive in speed due to six-speed EDC automatic gearbox assembly and takes 9.6 seconds to get from 0-62m/h with top speed of 121m/h. The fuel average of this version is also impressive with 54m/g and emissions are 120g/km. It is fitted with front-wheel drive system as standard.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine with 88bhp version

This is a 1.0litre TCE petrol engine capable of 88bhp and 100lb/ft torque. It is three-cylinder and twelve valve engine and takes 11.8 seconds for 0-62m/h sprint with top speed of 113m/h. Renault Clio is quite feasible with this tiny unit. It offers excellent fuel average of 62m/g with 104g/km of CO2 emissions and the strange version is fitted with five-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive assembly.

The 1.6 litre TCE petrol engine with 197bhp

The Renault Clio is available with powerful petrol engines also as we have its 197bhp and 192lb/ft torque version which is fast enough to take this small hatchback from 0-62m/h in 6.5 seconds. The fuel average of this engine is 47m/g with 133g/km of CO2 emissions.

It is fitted with six-speed EDC automatic gear box and front-wheel drive system. The other version available in this 1.6-litre petrol engine is of 216bhp and 192 lb/ft torque. It is used in Renault Clio Sport Trophy model.

It takes 6.3 seconds to get from 0-62m/h. The fuel average of this engine is 47m/g and CO2 emissions are 135g/km. It is also fitted with six-speed EDC automatic transmission and front-wheel drive unit.


Safety and reliability

In my own opinion the Renault Clio is the safest car in small hatchback category. The French automaker has used standard safety features in its vehicle such as six airbags with extra head protection accessories.

The Renault Clio is smart enough with hill start assist system, traction control and emergency braking system. Some of its models are with day-running LED lights. There is no blind spot warning system and Clio is not equipped with latest safety features as lane departure warning system and driver alert system etc.

The Renault Clio has parking sensors and reverse camera along with LED headlights and tail lights. The Clio has secured five stars in stability control from Euro NCAP.  The design is enough solid and gives good road grip and stability in awkward situations.


Practicality and Boot Space

The Renault Clio is a small hatchback with good practical approach. It offer nice interior with reasonable space. Though it offers not a luxury standard of servings for its occupants, but within this size it is quite affordable.

The leg and head space at front is good but at rear the situation is just acceptable.  The seats are of good material. The dashboard is with standard equipments and practical with simple systems. The boot space is good enough anyhow Clio offers 300-litres of boot space as standard. The rear seats can be folded in 60:40 ratios and you can enjoy 1150-litres of storage capacity.

Test drive a new or used Renault Clio and experience for yourself why it is such a favourite. Simply visit Group 1 Renault online here to request a test drive.


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2018 Renault Duster petrol-CVT

What is it?

A few years ago, having the option of a petrol-automatic SUV would have been quite unthinkable, but given the rise in preference for clutchless driving, manufacturers today offer auto gearboxes on many of their models, and with both diesel as well as petrol engines. Renault too has joined the bandwagon and introduced the option of an auto gearbox on its petrol and diesel Duster. While the Duster diesel gets an automated manual transmission (AMT), the petrol gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Renault offers the diesel AMT only in the top-spec RxZ trim, while the CVT is available only in the RxS trim, which is one level below the top-spec. This means if you go for the CVT model, you miss out on bits like an auto AC and a reverse camera, but you get the touchscreen, and all the safety kit like ABS, EBD and dual airbags. The RxS also gets ESP and hill start assist.

Apart from the Xtronic lettering at the rear, there isn’t much on the outside to differentiate the CVT from the rest of its siblings, and so you get the same square headlights, twin-slat grille, cladding and scuff plates, ‘S’-shaped LED tail-lamps as well as thicker roof rails with ‘Duster’ spelled across. On the whole, the design is a bit too familiar now, but it still looks macho and very SUV-like; an important point for our market.

The insides too are the same as the rest of the range and here is where its age shows. Plastics and fit and finish are not up to segment standards and the touchscreen feels very dated and unrefined in its user-interface design and operation. The cabin, however, does have a few strengths. The space on offer is more than ample and the seats are very comfortable. Legroom and headroom at the rear are great and the large side windows make the cabin feel open and airy.

What’s it like to drive?

The engine is a new 106hp, 1.5-litre H4K petrol motor, instead of the 104hp, 1.6-litre unit used previously. If the combination of a 1.5-litre petrol and CVT sounds familiar, it’s because this Nissan-sourced powertrain has done duty in the Sunny/Scala before. The company has made various improvements with things like the drive belt system as well as the transmission fluid, and it claims the Xtronic CVT is smaller, lighter and also shifts about 30 percent faster than its previous CVTs.

Driving around town, the 1.5-litre engine certainly feels more modern and refined in comparison, and it’s quite a silent performer too. Power delivery is linear but sedate and slow, and that’s because of the gearbox which feels like its doling out power in a very measured manner. Furthermore, the throttle has a dead zone at the beginning of its travel, where nothing much happens. All this makes it a rather lazy performer and you can’t really nip into gaps quickly or make a green light that’s about to change.

Being a CVT, there is no typical shifting of gears – just the belt moving across the two pulleys providing a continuous ratio. The Duster does have a manual mode as well, with six set points effectively giving you six speeds and you will need this to help with timing your acceleration bursts, but the performance only gets a little better in this mode. What’s great about this gearbox, however, is the shift speed and feel; the rubber band effect or stretchy feel while accelerating, typical of most CVTs, is very minimal here, and the shifts are nice and smooth. On the whole, this isn’t a car for a spirited drive but more for a relaxed cruise.

As for the rest of the drive experience, this is a Duster, so the ride is excellent with the suspension easily soaking up the bumps on our uneven roads, and the handling is quite sure footed and predictable too. As for the steering, the early Dusters had road shock coming through, but on the new Renault Duster for sale, this has been minimised.   

Should I buy one?

The Duster has been around for a while now and there’s no getting away from its age. The design is all too familiar now and the interiors look pretty dated, as far as material feel and design go, and it’s not the segment leader in terms of equipment either. However, it does have its fair share of strengths; the design still has the quintessential SUV appeal and the cabin is very spacious and comfortable. The ride is also a major highlight, especially on our roads, but the Duster CVT’s trump card is that, at a price of Rs 9.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s a good Rs 3.5 lakh cheaper than a Creta automatic, and, in fact, over a base Ecosport automatic, and that’s pretty hard to ignore.

Test drive a Duster from Group 1 Renault and experience the power and majesticness of the Renault Duster for sale.

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New 2018 Renault Megane R.S Trophy arrives with 296bhp


Hot Renault Megane R.S Trophy gets more power and uprated brakes in bid to dethrone the Honda Civic Type R

Renault has upped the ante with a Trophy version of its latest Megane R.S, which boasts more power than the standard car, a new exhaust system, improved brakes and some very subtle design changes.


It uses a revised version of the regular car’s 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, now developing 296bhp and up to 420Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. Torque for the manual car is slightly down on the automatic, developing 20Nm less at 400Nm.

Renault says that the extra power is down to a revised turbocharger system and a new exhaust. The ball bearings attached to the turbine are now ceramic, with the lighter weight and reduced friction allowing the turbo to spool up quicker.

The new exhaust system improves power too, while it’s also equipped with a mechanical valve enabling the volume of the exhaust note to be altered.


With the extra grunt on board, Renault claims 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, while top speed is up to 162mph. That’s a tenth quicker to 62mph from standstill, and 7mph faster than the base car.

The Megane R.S Trophy uses the Cup chassis as standard. Compared to the regular chassis it boasts 25 per cent firmer shock absorbers, 30 per cent tighter springs and ten per cent stiffer anti-roll bars, while the mechanical limited slip differential is equipped on the front axle.

The R.S Trophy gets new brakes at the front, supplied by Brembo. The discs measure 355mm, while Renault claims that they’re 1.8kg lighter than the standard brakes, too. They’re housed behind new, exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, while a lighter wheel design – saving 2kg at each corner – will become available in 2019.

Like the regular Megane R.S, the Trophy comes with 4CONTROL four-wheel steering. It works like any other four-wheel steering setup, turning the front and rear axle in opposite directions in slow, tight corners for increased agility, while turning both axles in the same direction at high speeds to aid stability.


To look at, you’ll struggle to pick out the Trophy from the regular car. The only giveaway design changes are the unique alloy wheels, plus a Trophy graphic added to the front chin spoiler. Inside though, buyers will be able to spec new Recaro sports seats, trimmed in Alcantara.

The new Megane R.S Trophy goes on sale this autumn, with Renault claiming customers will begin to receive their cars come winter.

If you love the Renault Megane and want to know more about the Megane’s specifications and improvements – contact a Group 1 Renault near you and book a test drive today!

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Sandero Stepway is great value

It might be nothing more than a hatchback in hiking boots, but there’s certainly a calling for vehicles like the Renault Sandero, given how just about everyone wants an SUV these days but not all are willing or able to part with the big wads of cash needed to join that trendy club.

And on that note, the Stepway is more budget-friendly than ever following its recent mid-life facelift.

Not only did Renault introduce a more affordable Stepway Expression derivative, and even the new range-topping Dynamique model. On top of that, the Dynamique, on test here, is better equipped. “So much for being a budget hatch,” I thought when first sinking into the car, with its leather seats and gadgets that I would not have expected at this price level. The following is all standard: cruise control and an 18cm touch-screen infotainment centre with satellite navigation, rear park assist, full Bluetooth/USB/CD functionality and audio controls on the snazzy looking leather-covered steering wheel.

In fact, the view ahead is quite pleasing, with its combination of carbon-like trim, chrome surrounds and grainy plastics that are hard but look soft. It’s not as classy lower down and to the sides, and the glovebox on our unit was out of alignment with the dash, but other than that the build quality and finish seemed acceptable at the price.

Ergonomics have also improved with the latest upgrades, the hooter migrating back to its rightful place on the steering wheel and the front electric window controls hopping from the centre console to a far more convenient location on the door panels. The aforementioned MediaNav touch-screen system is also a cinch to operate.

Despite the car’s fairly generous proportions, there isn’t really a lot of space for rear seat passengers to stretch their legs, although the 292 litre boot is big by class standards.

As for stretching the Sandero’s legs, this car has an altitude-cheating advantage over its rivals in the form of a turbocharger, providing a much-needed boost to its ‘downsized’ 898cc three-cylinder engine, which is rated at 66kW and 135Nm.

Unfortunately it is quite laggy through the lower reaches of the rev range, which makes it trickier to pull off, and take gaps in traffic. You really have to stir the five-speed manual gearbox frequently and as a result it’s not as effortless to pilot as normally aspirated rivals such as Toyota’s Etios. That said, when you’re in the rather narrow power band the little engine does deliver very decent-for-its-class performance.

Even if you have to rev it a bit higher than the economy gurus would recommend, fuel consumption remains impressively frugal, our test car averaging 6.7 litres per 100km on an urban-heavy mixture of town and freeway driving.

Chucking it around the urban grind, it’s not only the engine that detracts from its ease of use – there’s also no place for your left foot next to the clutch. The rest of the driving experience was rather painless though and despite a lack of seat height or steering wheel reach adjustment (albeit understandable at the price), I was able to find a comfortable driving position.

The overall ride quality is also reasonably cushy. Despite a slight firmness in the suspension, bumps and ripples are absorbed without any real shock.

With a ground clearance of 193mm, the Stepway rides higher than the normal Sandero hatch, but it doesn’t feel too top-heavy around corners. Its stance might help it out on the dirt roads, but like most of today’s crossovers and SUVs it’s no off-roader, although those black wheel arch mouldings, bulky bumpers, skid plates and roof rails ensure that it most certainly looks the adventurous part.

By the way, its wheels aren’t actually real alloy mags, but you’d have to give them a good nudge to tell the difference. They’re steel wheels carved in the same shape as the smartly designed plastic hubcaps that cover them, so you don’t see the steel rim at all. They’re not only a lot cheaper to make than alloys, but also more cost effective to replace if you scrape them on a rock while trying to prove that the Sandero is in fact an off-roader (which you shouldn’t). Genius.



Compared with its rivals the Sandero Stepway has a cleaner, fresher look to it and it’s better equipped and cheaper. Providing you can live with its few quirks, it is most certainly an excellent and very desirable buy in its seemingly confused segment. But then if you can go without those trendy pumped-up looks and a few of the gadgets, its conventional hatch sibling, the Sandero Expression, is an even better deal – possibly even one of the best on the market right now.


FACTS: Renault Sandero Stepway 0.9T Dynamique

Engine: 0.9-litre, 3-cylinder turbopetrol
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Power: 66kW @ 5250rpm
Torque: 135Nm @ 2500rpm
0-100km/h (Claimed): 11.1 seconds
Top speed (Claimed): 168km/h
Warranty: 5-year/150 000km
Maintenance plan: 2-year/30 000km

If you’re looking to get your drive on a new or used Renault Sandero – make sure to contact a Group 1 Renault near you. Book a test drive and discuss the Renault Sandero specs with a knowledgeable staff member at Group 1 Renault.
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Renault Megane RS (2018) has grown up

Lately we’ve been trained to associate Renault’s expanding range with inoffensive SUVs, brightly-lacquered crossovers and first-time car buyers but the RS badge has always been a way for Renault to remind the world of their trickle-down motorsport heritage.

Shall we not forget Renault Megane RS initiated this whole front-wheel drive Nurburgring lap time pecking order with the numerous special editions that have become today’s current obsession. A badge vehemently reserved for Clio and Megane, Renault understands something rival brands don’t – integrating the performance division with unsuitable body styles and trim lines dilutes the drama.

Is it a conservative, low-risk evolution?

On the contrary,the latest Megane RS represents a new trajectory that began earnestly in focus groups then deviated from traditional hot hatchback law.  A ground-up approach that repositions the car from purist to mainstream. There are obvious market trends that have rubbed off on the new car; sold exclusively as a five door hatchback, Megane finally has the practicality to challenge GTI while the EDC gearbox is closer than ever to DSG – a benchmark I’m convinced EDC was studied against. The 2018 Megane RS alters the paradigm from uncompromised ride firmness and witchcraft front-end grip to one of user-friendliness.

Then what makes the RS stand out?

Plenty to discuss here. The engine’s downsized to 1.8-litres but because they’ve let the boost slide north (1.7 bar compared to 1.3 bar), there’s still 206kW and 390Nm but lower carbon emissions and lighter consumption. All boxes ticked, even if the noise is muted compared to the predecessor’s raucous intake surge. Then there’s 4Control, the rear-wheel steering assist that was fitted to Megane GT but in this case reconfigured for extra playfulness.  Renault talks up this technology, keen to emphasise it as the vanguard of hot hatch dynamics.

Don’t keep me in suspense, how does it drive?  

RS fans, take a deep breath because there’s some depressing news. This new model re-programmes the RS’s fundamentals, transforming it from a no frills driving machine into a textured, not always cohesive hatchback that can’t replicate the same unyielding mid-corner grip of yore. The semi-locking differential (Cup version) doesn’t bite as hard and the front wheels don’t claw their way back to the apex if you enter too fast. It’s a car that requires finesse on the entry and patience on the exit to prevent wanton wheelspin. I’m not convinced there’d be a meaningful deficit in pace if the engine output was curtailed to 170kW and 350Nm.

What about the 4Control.

If Renault had any intention of developing the understudy to Ford’s drift model on RS, 4Control gets you pretty close to that experience.  In Sport Mode it works up to 60km/h. Race mode keeps it engaged up to 100km/h while deactivating the ESC. Ultimately what you end up with is a chassis balance that’s often unable to reconcile between front and rear stability. The first warning came early in the drive when we entered a downhill right completely sideways for the we’re-not-going-to-make-this-next left, left.

Later I had to give it half a turn of opposite lock at 60km/h on an unremarkable right hander. You could never provoke the same waywardness from the old car, and I’m not sure I’d call 4Control handling progress. Over-stylised, over-engineered. Unnerving. Perhaps we need more time to get comfortable with its quirks.

Same feedback in the stiffer, racier Cup version?

The Cup’s drawcard is the limited slip differential. Frankly owning a hot hatch that has over 200kW and 350Nm without one is a mistake. Other highlights include a six-speed manual gearbox (yay) and conventional handbrake (yay) but the power’s the same (boo), so are the seats (a little too high) and you still feel Renault is deliberately feathering some of the diff’s aggression for the upcoming Trophy. Renault SA is still deciding whether to bring Cup with manual or EDC. Or both. Expect survey poll on forums in coming weeks…

EDC like the one found in Clio

Not as slushy. In fact quite brilliant. Meaty and deliberate with long elegant blades that Renault calls steering paddles. Shame they don’t turn with the steering wheel – are you listening Ferrari – so at times you do slam the engine into the rev limiter.

Is it GTI quality inside?

Interior plushness has taken a big leap in an area that previous versions were never praised for. A quality of execution with the hallmarks of a flagship performance model lavished in abundance from seats that cup you in the right places, aluminium pedals, overtones of red on black, flat bottom wheel…all the reassuring snippets your inner child needs.

The tablet monitor has gone down the same path as so many other systems, intent on migrating all buttons into the submenus, even though functions such as adjusting fan speed would undoubtedly work better as a button. But it’s fairly adept at juggling a few tasks simultaneously, with a convenient home button when you’ve got a bit lost. Standard specification, and an area where Megane holds an edge, includes navigation, the RS monitor, heads-up display, auto parking and heated seats.

You seem underwhelmed

Perhaps but only because cars like the Clubsport, Focus RS, Civic Type R (admittedly more expensive) have pushed the hot hatch game on so far that we’ve been spoilt by their brilliance. The new 2018 Megane RS has greater bandwidth than the old car and by wedging its pretty, smug nose between the GTI and Civic Type R it’ll sell better than any two iridescent generations that came before it. In the end you have to see their point.

If you’re in the smart crowd – visit a Group 1 Renault dealership and test drive the Renault Megane. Group 1 Renault has new and used Renault Megane’s on offer.

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Renault Clio – Honest Motoring Review

IT IS always exciting when you get to test drive a hot hatch, but with the Renault Clio RS 200 EDC, it has been different.

You see, I am the owner of a previous-generation Renault Clio for sale, so when I heard how the DNA of the new version had been altered, I began to worry. But I came into the test with an open mind; I had driven all of its rivals enough to make an informed decision.

The most fuss was about the free-revving 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine being replaced by a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit. It has the same claimed output figure as its predecessor (147kW), albeit now with 240Nm of torque. The six-speed manual gearbox is gone and in its place is a six-speed twin-clutch automatic. There is also only a five-door option now, whereas the third generation was a three-door. The Brembo brakes have also been done away with.

Why would a manufacturer famed for its pure performance hatches do this? Sales. Some of the best-selling hot hatches on the market are the Volkswagen Golf and Polo GTI models, which are mostly also double-clutch automatics. The other thing is that they are locally also five-door-only models. The Clio has taken this recipe for sales success by downsizing in terms of mechanicals and upsizing in terms of practicality.

The gearbox is not very impressive in normal mode – it holds gears for too long and then drones as it changes, but RS Sport mode remedies this problem. The sport setting means that the traction and stability programmes are still on, but they are progressive and only intervene when it is absolutely necessary.

For those who want the pure driving experience, race mode means no traction control and manual shifts via the steering-mounted paddles. The upshifts are truly very quick, but on downshifts the gearbox hesitates to respond to your inputs, which in a track situation could prove frustrating.

We had the Cup spec, which does what it says on the box: the car is lower and can corner better than its Lux sibling, but does sacrifice in terms of comfort.

The straight-line stuff is where the Clio RS is very impressive. A 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds is achievable thanks to a brutal launch-control system. I found the claimed fuel consumption of 6.3 litres/100km difficult to replicate. On a mixed cycle, I could only muster a figure north of 8.0 litres/100km, which is still more efficient than the model it replaces.

Overall I have to say that I liked the new Clio RS quite a bit more than I thought I would. You get the sense that this vehicle was well thought out from a marketing perspective. It has all of the necessary ingredients to appeal to the boy racer market, yet is also something that anyone would be happy to drive as a daily.

I think that it’s only real rival is the Polo GTI, as it’s the only auto-only model in this class and therefore appeals to a different market. As a daily driver I can’t say that I wouldn’t prefer the Renault with a newly found maturity.

If you’re interested in and want to know more about the available Renault Clio’s on offer – contact a Group 1 Renault dealership today. Their capable and knowledgeable staff look forward to assisting you from booking a test drive to buying a Renault Clio for sale.

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