Renault Sandero Stepway Dynamique (2017) First Drive

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Renault’s fast-selling budget offering, the Sandero, has been facelifted and the range rejigged to focus more on the popular Stepway derivative. We drive it.

In many ways the sales success of the Renault Sandero was predictable. Originally launched in 2009 and offering great value for money through its practical packaging, big-car features and good warranty, the first-generation (and locally built) Sandero sold briskly.

If anything, the second-generation car (imported from Romania), has been doing even better. Since its launch in 2014 more than 17 000 have been sold, with a significant percentage opting for the crossover-inspired Stepway derivative.

Now, Renault South Africa has introduced a mildly facelifted version, and also took the opportunity to rejig the model line-up to be more in tune with current trends. Consequently, the previous higher-specification Sandero (called the Dynamique) has been dropped in favour of an additional Stepway derivative in Expression trim.

Small, but stylish upgrades

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Look closely and you’ll notice a stylish new rear light signature.

For the launch drive, we were offered the popular flagship Stepway model (Dynamique), which is priced at R189 900 (correct at time of publishing). The pre-facelift car was hardly in need of aesthetic attention, being one of the better-looking budget offerings on the market, but the changes have certainly given the Renault a more upmarket look and feel, and also brings it into line with some of the newer models in the Renault arsenal. Tweaks to the grille, bumper and lights have been subtle, but very effective.

You’ll have to step inside to be able to differentiate the 2 Stepway derivatives. The Dynamique adds a smart leather-wrapped steering wheel, an armrest between the front seats and the neat 7-inch touch screen that we’ve already experienced in the Duster and Kwid, among others. These additions, along with subtle trim changes contribute to a cabin ambience that can hardly be described as “budget”.

Lots of features

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Subtle trim revisions, a smart new steering wheel and standard 7-inch touch screen on the Stepway Dynamique lift the cabin beyond its budget origins.

As far as standard features go, the Renault Sandero continues to be a market leader with the French brand going for a full-house offering where the only optional (cost) extra is metallic paint (R2 500) and, on the flagship model at least, leather upholstery (R10 000).

In addition to the Sandero Expression’s front electric windows, remote central locking, remote audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and music streaming, as well a comprehensive safety package (ABS + EBD, EBA, ESP, dual front airbags, Isofix, hill start assist), the Dynamique adds side airbags, cruise control, rear park assist, rear electric windows, electric mirrors, and the aforementioned touchscreen etc.

As opposed to the situation in the Duster, the touchscreen is conveniently positioned higher and is consequently easier to use. The controls for the front windows have also moved to the (more obvious) door panels. A comprehensive trip computer is included, too.

Comfortable on “real” roads

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With its relatively big boot (for this segment) and 60/40 split/fold rear seats, the Sandero remains one of the more practical offerings in this segment.

One of the main benefits of the turbocharged 0.9-litre engine under the bonnet is its combination of torque and efficiency. Compared with its naturally-aspirated rivals, the Sandero Stepway has excellent torque (135 Nm), with the maximum being available at 2 500 rpm. It is also very efficient, with a claimed consumption figure of only 5.4L/100 km (for Stepway models).

I still encountered some lag on my drive (in Gauteng), which coupled with a somewhat tricky clutch, did make for a couple of slow and “lurchy” getaways during the early phases of the drive, but one soon gets used to the delivery characteristics, and once in the meat of the power band, the Renault Sandero is not only powerful enough but also refined.

Besides its good looks, features, space and efficiency, one of the biggest attractions of the Stepway package remains its ride quality on roads of… shall we say… varying quality. The extra ground clearance, comfort-tuned suspension and plump tyres combine to make the Stepway feel very comfortable on roads where driving normal passenger cars would lead to gritted teeth.

Summary

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With its greater ground clearance, soft suspension and plump tyres, the Sandero Stepway copes very well with South African road conditions.

With a strong warranty (5-years/150 000 km) and standard service plan to support what is, in many ways, a class-leading offering, the Sandero Stepway Dynamique is likely to continue to sell up a storm. If you’re in the market for a budget car, the inclusion of air-conditioning as standard on the Expression model (priced just below R160 000) makes it a very strong contender. And if you want some crossover style, then you now have two excellent Stepway offering to choose from, with your selection largely dictated by budget. Either way, you’ll be stepping into a very good vehicle. Test drive the Sandero and find out for yourself if a Sandero is the right car for you.

Article source: http://devotedtorenaultautomobiles.weebly.com/blog/renault-sandero-stepway-dynamique-2017-first-drive

 

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2017 Renault Kangoo new car review

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Renault’s small van mixes work and family duties all at once.

What is it?

The Kangoo Crew is a small van for those who need the option of a work vehicle but also need to carry up to five passengers whether it be colleagues at work or family at home.

How does it drive?

Small vans have come a long way over the last few years, and the Kangoo is no exception as it drives more like a conventional car than a traditional commercial van.

Unladen the van is very comfortable as small bumps and rough roads are soaked up with little fuss. The 1.5-litre engine gets along very well too with minimal turbo lag and a healthy 240Nm of torque making it feel spritely around town. The steering is well weighted too, the clutch is light and the gearbox shift is direct, albeit a little notchy.

When the rear seats are folded down there is more road noise booming through from the cargo area compared with the seat upright.

Overall, the van has great vision with glass all round (our test van has optional rear cargo glass) and a low window line making a noticeable impression as soon as you look over your shoulder.

What’s the interior like?

The interior is full of quality hard plastics with different colours and different textures of grain, which gives the appearance they could be made of a soft material, while some shiny black trim around the radio and ventilation controls is a nice touch.

There is a high rise centre console with plenty of storage space but elsewhere the glove box is deep yet it’s small and fairly useless, as are the door pockets even though they have a cup and bottle holder.

The van has a storage shelf in the roof but it has no liner for things to grip on to under hard acceleration or on steep inclines. The sunvisors also don’t have vanity mirrors and the steering wheel only has height adjustment. The front seats have good bolstering, are comfortable and supportive.

The hood lining in the van covers the second row of seats but then stops, which allows for a little more cargo height but creates some more noise resonance. The rear seat has plenty of room, all three seating positions have lap/sash seat belts and the seat itself, which has a 60:40 split-fold function, stows away nicely into the floor.

The Kangoo has cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and headlight adjustment as standard features.

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What’s the payload and towing capacity?

Payload is 750kg for this model variant. Its unbraked towing capacity is 750kg with a maximum 1050kg braked. Tow ball down weight is 90kg max.

What about load space dimensions and anchor points?

The length of the cargo bay, with the seats up, is 1008mm and 1862mm with them down. Its 1251mm high and, coincidentally, the same measurement in width between the wheel arches. It’s total load volume seats up is 1.3 cubic metres as a five-seater and 3.4 cubic metres with the seats down. It has four tie down points at mid height and another four on the floor

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How does it perform under load?

The engine gets along fine and does a good job with the weight on board, and although you will find yourself going through the gears on hills the van had no problems sticking to speed limits when loaded up with our 600kg test weight.

Even though it looked as though it was going to struggle with that much on board, as the rear of the van sat very low. But it was still a full two inches clear of the bump stops and handled the weight surprisingly well.

Bumps and undulations in the road didn’t fazed it, nor did average roads, but the Kangoo did tend to wander around in the back-end at highway speeds.

Any special features worth mentioning?

It takes a full-sized Australian pallet between the wheel arches, which is handy. It also has twin sliding doors as standard.

Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional Lifestyle pack which includes R-Link enhanced audio and navigation, leather steering wheel , rear air vents, body painted front and rear bumpers , gloss black door mirrors and extra tinted windows.

Any criticisms?

The radio controls are mounted behind the steering wheel, and are easily bumped when turning. The accelerator, clutch and brake pedals are too close together – you find your clutch foot catching the top of your brake foot when braking and downshifting, which can make you ‘stab’ the brakes unintentionally.  It misses out on a reverse camera as standard equipment and there’s no automatic option for this model.

Also, the windows in the sliding doors do not wind down but rather push open a few inches. The rear barn doors open in two stages, the first to a 90 degree angle while the second is out to a full 270 degrees, which is handy, but it requires releasing a separate latch around the side of the van and they don’t lock in place to stop them moving. We found this out the hard way when a slight breeze swung the doors shut, one of which gave us an almighty thud in the back while the other hit the pallet on the fork lift.

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What else should I consider?

If safety is paramount then the VW Caddy is worth a look, while the Citroen Berlingo and Fiat Doblo represent viable alternatives.

Verdict

The Kangoo Crew is a flexible small van if you need to mix work and family into the one vehicle, as there is plenty of room for both – even at the same time. But like others in its class the Kangoo is short changed in the safety department and doesn’t have a lot of creature comforts.

The Kangoo Crew is unfortunately not available in all country, some offering only the commercial option, the Renault Kangoo. You can find out more about that model here.

Article source: http://www.drive.com.au/new-car-reviews/2017-renault-kangoo-new-car-review-20170214-guceb0.html

Renault’s F1 car of future is fascinating but the sport must be competitive

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Renault’s vision for a 2027 F1 concept car with 1,340 brake horsepower is exciting when you consider that the current Mercedes engine is producing close to 1,000bhp.

Change is coming to Formula One and the sport, which has evolved in an awkward, disjointed and unsatisfactory fashion in recent years, badly needs to get it right.

In the short term the new 2017 regulations seem to have at least worked in the sense of having two teams – Mercedes and Ferrari – competing at the front, with a good chance Red Bull will be joining them as the season progresses. It is a step forward from the dominance Mercedes have enjoyed for the past three years. However, the big three being in a different league to the rest of the grid is not something that should be accepted and nor is the sport’s inability to ensure the survival of new teams in the paddock.

Renault revealed their concept for the F1 car of the future at the Shanghai motor show on Wednesday. A vision for 2027, the manufacturer presented a 600kg, closed-cockpit car, with four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, driven by a small internal combustion engine, with large battery systems to produce 1,340 brake horse power – a power to weight ratio far in excess of anything previously seen in F1. To put it in context, the current Mercedes engine is producing close to 1,000bhp. It’s a fascinating proposal but first the sport needs to ensure it is still popular and relevant come 2027.

As things stand the de facto two-tier grid is a major problem but the vested interests of the big three and their antipathy to giving away their advantage over the midfield has to be overcome. The next couple of years look promising in terms of competition and the future remains unwritten but in the mid-term the playing field needs to be levelled.

The Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner, knows why it is so crucial to get it right. “If all our fans go away what have the big teams achieved?” he asks. “If you outspend everybody but nobody watches any more it’s no good for their business. Nobody will be making money if all the fans go – all of us will be broke.”

Ross Brawn, F1’s sporting director, is working on how the sport will develop, with engine plans for 2021 already under discussion and a five-year plan for change, including how to make the grid attractive to new entries. Budget control and distribution of funds are key but so too is the model for how teams operate and here Haas is instructive.

The team, who were eighth last year in their debut season, are not content with being part of the midfield battle for ever, nor that there should be a separate midfield battle at all. Their founder, Gene Haas, certainly did not enter F1 only to compete for scraps and knows how to play the long game – he entered Nascar in 2002 and by 2011 had won the championship.

“He knows that it will change,” confirms the Italian Steiner, who previously worked for Jaguar and Red Bull. “The sport will change and you need to be there to be part of it – you cannot jump on to the bandwagon when it’s too late. In 2021 the new contract is coming up and maybe the playing field is going to be levelled and maybe we can compete and we will be ready for that.”

Being there to be part of it is one of the most crucial challenges. F1 has lost all three start-up teams who joined the grid in 2010: HRT, Caterham and Manor. Haas have taken a different approach to ensure they do not follow them. The team have a technical partnership with Ferrari. They use the Scuderia’s engines, and buy in their parts – gearbox, suspension, steering rack, brakes, uprights, pedal box and fuel cell – some fearsomely expensive components to build and develop independently. They design their own chassis in conjunction with Dallara, subcontracting parts of the task to the Italian manufacturer.

It is a framework that ensures they control their budget, as Steiner notes. “It’s much easier to estimate your costs because you have a contract,” he says. “You know if you can afford it or not.”

The customer car concept is not one that is favoured in F1. Teams such as Williams and Sauber vehemently oppose it but Haas are not a customer team. They have a close but legitimate partnership with Ferrari and are a team in their own right rather than merely a client. Brawn very much believes the sport can learn lessons from their example.

Steiner agrees. “People who want to start a team should look at it,” he says. “It seems to be working. The last three teams which entered are gone, it didn’t work so it’s proof that more of the same will not work.”

The big boys will not be laid low by the Haas model but nor would its adoption necessarily devalue the sport. The teams that remain as entirely independent entities will continue to do so but if it encourages new entries, especially from a greater range of countries, it should not be dismissed and that is exactly why Brawn believes it is worthy of further study. If he is successful in building a truly competitive grid, that it could be a healthier and more sizeable one will be a further change for the better.

“It is achievable and I think the will at the moment is there for most people,” says Steiner. “And it will be the best thing for the sport.”

Group1 Renault boasts an array of excellent urban cars to suit the needs of any driver. Find out where you can test drive a Renault vehicle in the eclectic streets of the Western Cape, by contacting a Renault Western Cape dealership near you.

Article source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/apr/20/renault-f1-car-future-sport-competitive-haas-ross-brawn

Car maintenance checklist for road trips

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The summer road trip is as American as apple pie and Fourth of July fireworks, so don’t fail in your national duty to hit the road this year just because Old Nellie is overdue for some car maintenance.

Those who neglect doing a quick mechanical check-over – even of newer cars – before taking to the highway are begging to be stranded. We’re not talking about rebuilding the cylinder head or performing a line-bore on the crankshaft mains. Below are just a few reminders that may slip your mental checklist in the rush to get bags packed and kids fed.

Your family is counting on you to take a few preventative measures before you hurl them into the gauntlet of our national highway system.

  • Engine oil: Check your oil levels and the date you’re due for an oil change, preferably in your driveway before you embark on that first 29-hour leg. If you’re close to the manufacturer-recommended oil-change interval listed in your manual, then change it. Nellie deserves better than a crankcase full of gunky old oil as she hauls you up the Loveland Pass.

If you’ll be going long distances, consider opting for a synthetic motor oil. If you’re traveling in hot weather or pulling a trailer, a fully synthetic engine oil such as Mobil Super™ Synthetic can give you the extra protection against thermal breakdowns that you need. It will also cut friction losses in the engine and bump your fuel economy while creating savings that you’ll see magnified on a long drive.

  • Transmission and differential fluids: Did you forget about the other oil reservoirs in your car? Both your transmission and drive axle have their own lubricant supply. Check your owner’s manual for their change intervals, as they are quite a bit longer than engine oil. A regular oil-change shop can handle the greasy job of changing manual transmission oil and the differential oil. While they are under the car, have them give the drive-shaft U-joints and any other grease points a squirt of grease.
  • Hoses: Rubber hoses would last 10 years if all they did were sit on a shelf. In a car, they are regularly exposed to temperatures around the 212-degree boiling point. At high temps, the plasticizers that make rubber squishy leach out at a faster rate. Once a hose gets hard, it cracks and hot water spurts out. Look first at where both the input and output radiator hoses attach to the engine and to the radiator. The extra stress on the hose from the pipe collar and hose clamp means they typically crack and fail there first. Also check your heater hoses, which run from the engine (usually near the thermostat housing) into the firewall and back. Look for bulges or blisters, which indicate a weakness in the hose wall. If your hoses have cracks or blisters, replace them. It’s easier to do it now than in the 112-degree heat of Death Valley. As a precaution, buy a hose-patch kit at the local auto parts store.
  • Belts: Check the engine belts by turning them sideways with your hand so you can see the friction surface. If they’re at all ragged, torn, cracked or showing the fiber cords, it’s time for fresh ones. Newer cars often have one large belt, called a serpentine, which runs the water pump and all the accessories (A/C, power steering and alternator). If your car has less than 50,000 miles, it’s probably fine. Older cars have more than one belt to run these devices. Make sure they are all in good condition. If you hear loud screeches when you pull away from a stoplight, a loose belt is probably the cause. If they are loose – in other words, if your finger can depress the belt more than a half-inch of deflection at a point halfway between pulleys – the belt is stretched. If it’s old and worn, replace. If it’s not, you’ll have to retension it or it may fall off, usually at a really inopportune moment such as in the 2-mile backup at the turnpike toll booth.
  • Engine coolant: New vehicles come equipped with engine coolant designed to go 100,000 to 150,000 miles. If your car is less than four years old, check that the under-hood coolant reservoir – usually a clear plastic bottle that says “engine coolant” on the cap – is topped up.

Water is water, right? Wrong. Not all coolants are the same, and they don’t want to be mixed. Be sure to use the same coolant type as is already in the engine. You can tell the difference from the color. Green coolant is the most common, indicating an ethylene glycol-based coolant with a standard package of rust inhibitors. Orange is called Dex-Cool, originally developed by General Motors but manufactured by other coolant name brands under license. The jug should have a large “Dex-Cool” trademark on it. It is also ethylene glycol-based, but it has an enhanced package of corrosion inhibitors (and, hence, tends to be more expensive). If you have an older vehicle, check both the coolant reservoir and the radiator. If your coolant is rust-colored or looks like mucky pond water, it’s time for a change.

  • Tire pressure and tread: Tires are your contact with the road, and since losing contact generally results in the remains of your vehicle being vacuumed up, check ’em out. Most people believe the appropriate tire pressure is listed on the tire itself. Actually, the number on the tire is the maximum amount of pressure the tire can hold and, if combined with extreme heat and speeds, could lead to a blowout. Be safe. Look on your driver’s side door, in the glove compartment, or on the fuel filler door for the recommended tire pressures, and check the pressure before you leave with a good gauge (available from your auto parts store) and an air hose (available at the corner gas station). Low tire pressures waste fuel and, more importantly, cause the tire to run hotter from the extra friction.

Also, look at the tread on all four tires to make sure it’s not too worn or unevenly worn. Most new tires come with about 10/32” of tread depth. If your tire tread-depth gauge (just a buck or two at the parts store) shows less than 2/32”, it’s time for new tires. You can also use a penny. If the depth is below Lincoln’s shoulder, it’s time to change. If your tires are on the bubble in terms of wear, or have a bubble in the sidewall from a recent bounce against a curb, it’s better to install new tires now than to take a chance on them wearing out while you’re on the road.

  • Brake system: Brake fluid classified by the government as DOT3 or DOT4 (most brake fluid, in other words) is a hygroscopic mineral oil, meaning that it attracts and absorbs moisture. As it ages, it turns the color of maple syrup and begins rusting your brake components. Check your brake reservoir for the color of the fluid, and make sure that it is topped up to the “full” mark. If you haven’t had a flush in two or three years, get one before you leave. Water-laden brake fluid, besides causing damage to very costly brake parts, also lowers the fluid’s boiling point. A lowered boiling point can lead to a squishy brake pedal, which may provide more excitement than you want while descending out of the Rockies with a 24-foot camper in tow. If your car is newer, it may be running DOT5 fluid, which is silicon-based and not subject to water absorption. Still, you will want to flush this fluid per the recommendations in your owner’s manual.
  • Battery: If the battery in your car is more than a couple years old, check that the terminals are corrosion-free and the positive and negative leads are tight. If your starter sounds sluggish, it’s either corrosion or a dying battery. Don’t wait to be stranded with a dead battery. If it’s not a sealed, maintenance-free battery, have a gas station test the electrolytes. If it is sealed, they can check the output voltage. If there is corrosion – white chalky stuff on the terminals – clean it off with a wire cable-brush available at your local parts store. Secure the leads tightly. If one falls off while you are driving, it can cause a harmful “voltage dump” that can kill the alternator, so make sure everything is tight.
  • Test the car: Do a quick run up the local freeway to listen for noises, feel for shakes, and watch for trouble signs in the gauges. Don’t assume everything is fine just because you drive your car every day. This is a test, not a commute, so focus on your car. Do you hear grinding or moaning from the wheels? That could be a bad wheel bearing or a worn CV joint. Does the car pull? Check for alignment problems or worn tires. Does it shimmy or squeal under braking? Might be warped rotors or worn pads. Does the brake pedal feel soft? Might mean worn pads or bad fluid. Do the headlights flicker at idle? It’s probably a loose alternator belt, a dying alternator or corroded battery terminals.

Consider checking off car maintenance items before you leave, because if Old Nellie acts up later, she could ruin your whole vacation. Family photos of America’s purple mountains’ majesty won’t put your relatives to sleep quite as quickly as those taken inside a grimy service station in Panguitch, Utah, while you’re waiting for a mechanic to get your new radiator hose drop-shipped from Fukuoka. Take time, take care, drive safely and we’ll see you out there.

Any Group1 Renault dealership can also assist you in doing a routine check of your vehicle before heading on a roadtrip. Contact a Renault dealership in your area for more information about the Renault Sandero – a great option for road tripping and everything in between.

Article source: https://mobiloil.com/en/article/travel-and-safety/travel-tips/car-maintenance-checklist-for-road-trips

10 Things You Should Know About the Renault Kwid

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Renault India knew it had to pull a miracle out of its hat if it were to convince people of their seriousness in making a dent in the entry-level compact car segment. Called the Kwid, they managed to do just that, announcing to the world that the smallest baby in their model portfolio pulled punches above its class. We’ve drawn up a list of 10 things you should know about the Renault Kwid, to show you just how distinctive this car is:

  1. The Renault Kwid looks like no other small-car in the history of the Indian automobile. Butch, SUV-esque styling giving it a larger-than-life presence that other cars, many classes above would kill for.
  2. The car is built on the CMF-A platform that Renault have developed in conjunction with their Japanese partner, Nissan. The Kwid is the first car to benefit from the platform in India and ushers in a new era in car-building for the manufacturer.
  3. Renault have been aggressive on the localization front with the Kwid. This was done with the aim of keeping costs low, translating into the car’s low sticker price that undercuts the competition by a comfortable margin.
  4. The Renault Kwid’s mileage is an astounding 25.17 km/l as per ARAI certification. This makes it the most powerful car in the segment, besting the likes of Maruti’s Alto800 and even the Tata Nano.
  5. Renault will be launching both, a larger, more powerful 1 litre engine as well as an AMT variant for the Kwid in the coming years.
  6. The Renault Kwid’s mileage is not the only thing that’s better than the competition. The car is longer, wider and larger than all other offerings in the segment.
  7. Frugal engineering features high on the 10 things you should know about the Renault Kwid. From using three wheel bolts, to a single wiper, the manufacturer has focussed heavily on cost and weight savings. Even the fasteners are lower in number, while plastic has been used extensively to achieve targets.
  8. The Kwid has delivered a telling blow with its pricing. With an on-road price that’s a good INR 50,000 lower than the comparable competition, it makes for a compelling buy.
  9. The Kwid also has the highest ground clearance in its class, almost putting larger crossovers and even some SUV’s to shame in this department.
  10. The Renault Kwid’s interiors are unparalleled, both in terms of the features offered (7-inch touchscreen infotainment system or the long accessories list) as well as sheer space in the boot & the passenger cabin.

All-in-all, the car is a delight on multiple fronts, making it a compelling-buy for someone contemplating a purchase in the segment. Pop into a Renault dealership near you and test drive the Kwid for yourself.

Article source: https://www.cartrade.com/blog/2015/top-10/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-renault-kwid-1646.html

Renault Sandero Expression – Budget Car of the Year

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Renault Sandero Wins in Budget, without Compromising Excellence

Cars.co.za’s Consumer Awards is among the most credible and significant awards programmes in the South African motor industry.

Esteemed judges allocate scores, in each category, based on back-to-back comparisons of finalist vehicles, comprehensive feedback from an Owner Satisfaction Survey, and statistics supplied by leading automotive industry data specialists – Lightstone Auto.

Efficient, Economical and Awesome

In order to be eligible for Budget Car of the Year, contender vehicles had to cost R150000 or less, and include the following features: ABS, dual front airbags, and a service plan. The most important judging factors were: fuel economy, value for money, practicality and brand strength.

Ashley Oldfield claims that “The Renault Sandero is modern and solid offering. Despite its keen price, it still manages to maintain excellent levels of standard safety equipment and in-car entertainment.”

Consumer’s Choice

The Cars.co.za Owner Satisfaction Survey incorporated feedback from South African vehicle owners who rated their vehicles for reliability, after-sales service, cost of ownership and general satisfaction. Judges’ final scores reflected the consumer experience, as well as each brand’s market performance.

“There are many awards programmes out there that claim public participation, but what we mean when we talk of consumer input, is not a popular voting mechanism,” said Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager Hannes Oosthuizen. “We didn’t want a ‘beauty pageant’… we wanted real, credible input, and the only way to do that is for the public to give us their views on the cars they know best — the ones they own”.

The results of the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards were verified by respected auditing firm KPMG, and reflect the true experiences of South African vehicle owners.

For more information on the Renault Sandero and the Renault Sandero price,  visit a reputable dealer such as Group 1 Renault in Stellenbosch.

Source: http://devotedtorenaultautomobiles.weebly.com/blog/renault-sandero-expression-budget-car-of-the-year

Renault Clio Review

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Overall verdict:

7/10

For:

Real transformation over the old car that’s now a match for the Fiesta

Against:

A bit harder to get in and see out of, plastics can’t match a Polo

Cheery and characterful, the new Clio is a genuinely appealing supermini.

What we say:

Renault has rediscovered its form with a loveable car in a class that lacks them

What is it?

Renault appears to have at last remembered why people buy its small cars: their styling. The new Clio 4 is thus as fresh and interesting as the old one was forgettable and dreary. The firm’s known this for a while, which is why it bought in new designer Laurens van den Acker to overhaul its styling department – the Clio 4 is the first car he’s designed from scratch.

Look closely, too. Spot the rear doors? Thought not: they’ve been cleverly disguised, so much so that Renault is only selling the Clio 4 in five-door guise. With its low roof line, sculpted tail and shallow side glass, the firm is hoping styling indeed sells – but it’s thrown new engines and new interior features at it too, so the substance is also there.

Driving

An aged 1.2-litre engine opens the batting for the Clio but it’s the 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo that’s more interesting. Designed for economy, forced induction means it’s still nippy enough in town and sounds sweet when worked hard in the country. Just don’t expect big car performance on the open road. For that, you’ll need the forthcoming 120bhp 1.2-litre turbo. Renault’s also revised the familiar 1.5-litre dCi diesel, which is a fine alternative if you can afford it.

Pleasingly, Renault has also remembered something else that used to make its superminis great – how they handled. This steers keenly, doesn’t fall into understeer and lets you feel what the back wheels are up to near the limit. It’s all nicely interactive and although the body does also roll a bit too, the pay-off here is soft and supple suspension, another old-style Renault trait that’s most welcome.

On the inside

As with the outside, Renault’s styled a cheery interior that looks much more interesting and better quality than before. The latter is partly an illusion as the plastics are a bit hard and hollow, but the sheer amount of equipment helps you overlook this. On half the range, there’s even a touchscreen tablet in the middle of the dash, which will eventually offer downloadable apps.

It’s a roomy enough interior too. The styling does mean rear headroom isn’t what it was, and visibility is a bit compromised, but most will think it’s worth it. Also, while the boot is a bit awkward to load, there’s no arguing with its 300 litres of space.

Owning

To the promise of class-leading safety and entertainment gadgetry, Renault is also bigging up the Clio’s sheer value. All get six airbags, ESP, Bluetooth and keyless go, with the best-selling Dynamic MediaNav getting, yes, sat nav. The TCe 90 does 65.7mpg, the dCi does up to 88.3mpg and Renault reckons it’s cheaper than today’s car despite all the extra kit. Va va boom.

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Looking to test drive a Renault Clio? Visit a reputable dealership such as Group 1 Renault today.

Article and image source: http://www.topgear.com/car-reviews/renault/clio

Renault Clio Review

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Ever since the late 1940s, Renault’s range has featured an unbroken line of interesting small cars, of which the Clio has been one of the most successful.

More than 12 million have found homes and, along the way, the Clio has found and enjoyed a youthful, vibrant image.

Earlier variants of the Clio deserved that rep, too: being agile, neatly designed, compact, engineered for some dynamism and intelligently marketed.

But – and Renault wasn’t alone in this – during the mid 2000s, when the Clio III arrived, some of that purity was lost. The Clio became bigger and heavier, and went searching – with honourable intent – for more refinement and class, growing up with its customers.

With the extra refinement it found, however, it lost something, as did several of its peers during the past decade. Out went a bit of what Renault used to dub the ‘va-va-voom’.

Which brings us to Clio IV: it’s notably leaner and cleaner than its predecessor. It is also offered with a range of engines, including a frugal 0.9-litre three-cylinder TCe petrol engine and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel, and a decent range of kit.

Question is, has all of that reintroduced some of the joie de vivre? Let’s find out.

First impression? The new Clio is bold, make no mistake. Even though it is sculpted to appear much more lithe than its immediate ancestor, it still looks like a Clio to us. Even, we suspect, were it not wearing a Renault diamond the size of a dinner plate on its nose.

There are differences in proportion, though. Renault has made quite a big play of the fact that the wheelbase is longer than on Clio III (by 14mm, up to 2589mm) but while this is likely to have an effect on handling, it doesn’t help place the wheels closer to each corner, because overall length is up by 30mm.

With that too, though, has come an increase in track, a more steeply raked windscreen and a much lower height: at 1448mm, the latest Clio’s roof sits some 45mm closer to the ground than a Clio III’s.

All of which leaves it looking more dynamic. Renault also reckons that, model for model, the new car is some 100kg lighter than the old one. The Clio III did, in fairness, carry easy pounds to lose, but even so, at this level 100kg is not an amount to be sniffed at.

The range of new engines in the Clio reflects that of its rivals, catering for most tastes and requirements. The entry-level engine is a basic 1.2-litre 16V petrol unit. A modern turbocharged 0.9-litre three-pot TCe petrol is also offered, as well as an 89bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel.

All versions claim admirable levels of economy and efficiency, particularly if you choose the optional ECO derivatives of the diesel and TCe engines. These emit and consume less than the standard ones, although only by negligible amounts.

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Inside the Clio there’s a generous amount of space and the cabin is of a particularly good size. It offers 10 per cent, or a couple of inches, more legroom than you’ll find in the average small hatch, and an inch or so of ‘extra value’ headroom for back seat travellers.

For relatively large adult passengers, in the context of this class, that could make an important difference. We can get on fine with a digital speedo, and appreciate the good-sized indicators and fuel gauge.

There’s the usual quantity of cabin storage but no especially neat or clever packaging solutions. Having added interior space to the Clio with its basic proportions, Renault’s focus was clearly on injecting colour and life into the cabin, and successfully so.

The most conservative choice is a black fascia with black cloth seats, but its attractive sculptural instruments, complemented by lots of gloss black and chrome accenting, lends it an air of technical style and sophistication.

Consumer electronics are an obvious inspiration here, just as they were for the Ford Fiesta. The difference is that, while the Ford’s cabin could have been penned by graduates from Nokia and Motorola, the Renault’s is one of the converged touchscreen design generation, with clearer nods to the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC.

In terms of function, however, Renault’s R-link system needs some refinement. Postcode entry is still woefully limited, while map graphics on the satellite-navigation system look like they’re from a 1990’s games console, not a contemporary mass-market hatchback.

Material quality levels are fine, but again they don’t quite match that level of ambition. Most of the Clio’s background cabin plastics are ordinary in their look and feel. One or two loose, creaky trims even serve to remind us of Renault’s chequered track record on fit and finish.

There’s also a certain lack of attention to ergonomic detail. The engine start-stop button’s on the wrong side of the centre stack for right-hand drive, for example, and the cruise control button is in an unintuitive position by the handbrake.

Both peculiarities will be familiar to Renault owners, but on such an important car where progress has been made in other directions, this feels like a missed opportunity to remedy them.

There are three engine choices for the Clio. Buyers can pick from a basic 74bhp 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, a more powerful turbocharged three-cylinder TCe petrol or an 89bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel.

The mid-range engine option is a TCe unit, the conceit being that you’re getting 1.4-litre performance with greatly reduced fuel consumption, but that’s potentially a little misleading. We have, after all, tested other superminis of a similar displacement that are both faster and more efficient.

Nevertheless, it’s a good engine. Quiet, refined and responsive, its light-pressure delivery suits the Renault right down to the ground. The engine only really feels turbocharged at very low revs, otherwise it pulls cleanly and with stoutness through the mid-range while holding onto its power at high revs. it’s also particularly smooth throughout. Ford’s EcoBoost triple may be more powerful, but it can’t match this Clio’s lack of noise and vibration.

The diesel engine is the more mature choice. It feels quicker than the figures suggest and it’s so quiet and refined that you’d struggle to tell it’s a diesel. Pleasantly, it’s also a tractable engine with a wide torque band, so you don’t have to work the gearbox as hard as you would in the petrol versions.

Admittedly the diesel does add 62kg to the kerb weight of the petrol model, leading to it feeling slightly less agile as a result. Those interested in maximum enjoyment should, consequently, stick to the zesty TCe option. There’s also a 1.2-litre engine carried over from the old model, producing 74bhp and 79lb ft of torque.

In all versions, the shift quality is light but well defined, and brake pedal feel is good. Overall, the Clio is an entirely pleasant device, peppy at times and quite suave at others, with the flexibility and polish to take mixed daily motoring duties in its stride, from motorway miles to cross-country backroads and the urban sprawl.

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The Clio habitually ranks at the sharp end of the class in this regard. It has never been short on verve, even at the cheaper end of the model scale. But for the Ford Fiesta, you’d probably call it the finest example of the zesty, engaging European small hatch – the sort that the Japanese, Koreans and now the Chinese have been seeking to reproduce for the past 30 years.

But the new one sets higher standards than its immediate forebear right across the board, from compliance to high-speed stability to ultimate grip and amusement value. As a driving machine it’s the most multi-talented and complete supermini to come out of France in a long time: certainly since the Citroën DS3 in 2009, and probably for a lot longer.

The way the Clio segues from remarkable rolling comfort at one moment to slick and engaging handling accuracy the next, marks it out as a work of real class. It’s a calmer customer than the Fiesta; slightly softer of spring and less tautly damped, its low speed ride is very quiet but also more absorptive than the Ford’s.

This means that, at higher speeds, there’s a little more body movement in the Clio. But when that does materialise, and the road surface conspires to test the Renault’s mettle, excellent damper tuning and first-rate bump isolation combine to produce fluent body control and an unusually silken ride in one so small.

Indeed, on an urban test route the Renault feels well refined and able to glide over road defects in a manner more normally suited to a much larger car.

The steering wheel is quite large and it feels a little over-assisted at low speeds. But as you accelerate, so that power assistance ramps down. Ultimately, it allows a well paced, well weighted system to present that, although it isn’t very informative, does feel natural, if a little light in places.

Lean on the suspension and it firms up in trustworthy proportion, keeping control of the body and working the tyres just hard enough to produce plenty of grip and a consistent steering response.

An effective balance of dynamic virtues is what we look for in a good-handling hatchback, and the Clio’s balance of comfort and sporting brio is every bit as striking as its chic new clothes.

Renault has taken a deliberate step forwards with the new Clio; one that the car-buying public and rest of the car industry can’t fail to notice.

This pretty five-door is a statement of intent from a company keen to inject much-needed style, personality, usability and dynamism into its showrooms; it’s a blow landed on behalf of beleaguered Europe in a market where the far eastern powers have been making most of the gains of late. And it’s a resounding piece of work.

The Verdict:

Positives

  • Distinctive styling
  • Sophisticated ride and handling
  • Good-sized, attractive cabin

Negatives

  • Undistinguished performance
  • Average interior finish
  • Unremarkable economy from petrol models

Are you interested in knowing the price of a Renault Clio and in South Africa? Contact Renault Western Cape or visit their website at www.group1renault.co.za.

Article source: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/renault/clio

Image sources: http://images.cdn.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/renault-clio-uk-10_4.jpg?itok=XmxBrDvq, http://images.cdn.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/renault-clio-uk-4.jpg?itok=fuRKF0Uj and http://images.cdn.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/renault-clio-uk-3.jpg?itok=sAf8A_-v

Renault Logo Meaning and History

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Renault enters the top list of major automakers all over the globe. At the same time this brand is the major car producing company in France with a very rich history. It is specialized in manufacturing wide range of auto models, trucks, buses, tractors and other vehicles for different purposes. After it established collaboration with Nissan it turned on to one of the biggest auto producers in the world making it possible to compete with other giants of automotive industry. At the moment it has over 128 400 employees with €72.93 annual assets.

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Not surprising that Renault badge is among the most recognizable logos. The brand was founded in 1899 by Renault brothers. This is when newly established company got its first official logo. At that time brand was called Société Renault Frères. The badge was rather simple containing the initials of every brother. However it underwent numerous changes and modifications throughout the history of the company. First redesign was made in 1906. However the firs diamond shape which is known all over the world appeared only in 1925. Only slight modifications have been made since that time during 1946 and 1959. But the base of the logo was still the same till present days.

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In 1972 directors of Renault asked Victor Vasarely who was a famous artist and designer to renew the badge and add some details. The idea was to make the badge more eye-catching. Vasarely decided to retain diamond shape. However he managed to make it clearer and more dynamic. Artist also added several angular lines to make it look stylish and up-to-date.

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The form which is known to all Renault fans was firstly introduced in 1992. Later logo was updated and several changes have been made in 2004 and 2007. This is when the name of the company appeared on the badge together with square colored yellow making it more dynamic and modern. Every detail has a special meaning and refers to particular qualities of the company and autos it produces. For example, silver color means sophistication and creativity. Yellow background means prosperity ad optimism.

Emblem Description

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The current version of Renault emblem depicts the name of the company located on the yellow background made in shape of a square. Diamond figure is located on top of the company’s name. There have been a lot of argues whether to return yellow background or not.  However French designer Jean-François Porchez had no doubts it would bring more dynamic and modern look to the badge. This version has been designed by Porchez in 2004 with several changed made in 2007. But the base and forms are still the same. There is also another version of the logo which depicts Renault MN where MN stands for the Wolff Olins consultancy firm.

Shape of Renault Symbol

Every detail in Renault badge has specific symbol. When it comes to the shape of the logo we should firstly consider silver diamond which is located on top of the company’s name. Silver color was not chosen occasionally. It symbolizes creativity and sophistication of French car engineers. Every new model comes with innovations and latest techs which make these autos very popular with consumers all over the world. Few people know that several shapes have been used for this logo. They included circles and ovals. But in 1925 diamond was chosen once and for all with further slight modifications and changes.

Color of Renault Logo

Yellow color was also chosen not accidently. It was already once introduced but later neglected by designers. However it was brought back in 2004 in order to represent optimism and prosperity. In addition yellow square turned out to be a good idea making the logo more eye-catching and recognizable.

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Originally posted on: http://www.car-brand-names.com/renault-logo/

Renault Captur review

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Renault calls the Captur ‘an urban crossover’, though in industry parlance it’s a ‘B-segment crossover’.

The manufacturer’s planners are predicting that EU sales of such crossovers will leap from 257,000 units in 2012 to just short of 500,000 in 2013, taking a healthy 14 per cent slice of the supermini market. They also expect the Captur to become the brand’s second best-seller in UK.

In the flesh, the Captur is certainly an eye-catching car. Go for the duo-tone roof and body option and the car stands out even more, partly because the contrasting colour extends to the A-pillars. It’s all the more striking with the exterior trim Gloss Pack fitted around the fog lights and to the sills and grille.

There are 24 exterior colour combinations along with three matching interior and exterior trim packs, called ‘Arizona’, ‘Miami’ and ‘Manhattan’. There also also three different roof decals.

The Captur is based on the same new-generation platform as the Clio estate, although it has been modified with a wider track. It is quite compact, measuring just 4.1m in length and 1.53m high, including a useful 200mm of ground clearance. The decent 2.6m-long wheelbase works with a 60/40 split rear bench seat that also slides to allow up to 215mm of kneeroom.

Inside, the fresh-looking dash plastics are finished in a modern dimple pattern and there are some usefully deep cubby holes in the centre console. Renault has also patented the removable seat covers.

With the sliding rear seat set right back, you get a reasonable 377-litre boot, extending to a healthy 455 litres with the bench slid fully forward. There’s also a double-sided (carpet and rubber) hard boot floor that splits the rear luggage space and creates a substantial – and hidden – storage space.

Renault offers the Captur with its new, sweet and punchy small petrol turbo engine, which drives through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 120bhp unit has the legs for twisting hill roads while proving to be very smooth on the motorways. The engine is a good match for the company’s new dual-clutch ’box, which was almost complete viceless unless you stamped on the accelerator.

The 90bhp dCI diesel engine is impressively refined, although it becomes vocal in town on a trailing throttle and on long uphill roads, the driver needs to stay on the ball and drop down a ratio to keep the car’s speed up. It can manage a relaxed relaxed 12.6sec 0-62mph time but the upside is a claimed combined economy of 76.4mpg, which should mean nearly 60mpg in the real world.

Certainly, the Captur isn’t going to whet the appetite of the keen driver. It has lightly weighted controls and is easy to punt around. That said, it could be made to flow along rather nicely on French A-roads.

However, the big flaw facing this car’s translation to the UK is the ride on very poor surfaces. While it would glide along on smooth roads, on patches of typical French A-road, where it encountered broken surfaces, the wheels crashed and pattered to a surprising degree.

The Captur is very much a style and lifestyle statement. You’ll find similar interior versatility in an MPV, but the Captur is much more about showmanship and the ability to completely customise the car inside.

Buyers are also given some strong practical reasons to buy the car. Renault offers a comprehensive ownership package including a four-year warranty, four years’ servicing and four years’ roadside cover.

Overall, the Renault Captur is not a captivating driving experience, but that’s not the point. Its style, freshness, value (compared to, say, Mini’s line-up) and overall buying package should ensure that it is a success.

If you are looking for your own Renault Captur and you are situated in South Africa – be sure to contact Group 1 Renault today!

Article and image source: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/renault/captur