The South African car market is populated with compact crossovers that offer higher ground clearance than hatchbacks, more practicality than sedans, and lower price tags than SUVs.
Renault has a popular model that meets these requirements, called the Sandero.
Suzuki also recently entered this segment with their Vitara Brezza, and it is shaping up to be a strong competitor.
The Sandero is about three years older at this point, but it remains more affordable and is comparably fitted with amenities.
This is how the two models compare.
For this comparison we will be using the Renault Sandero 66kW Turbo Stepway Expression and the Suzuki Vitara Brezza 1.5 GL 5MT.
Interior amenities are adequate across these crossovers and you can expect to find electric windows, air-conditioning, and Bluetooth-enabled infotainment systems in both.
On the side of the Suzuki, however, entertainment and vehicle information is translated through a 7-inch display in the dashboard.
On the Renault, this is a Radio-CD/MP3 player integrated into the front fascia.
Chrome elements and fabric seats with silver inserts add more detail to the Sandero cabin, but the Vitara has more features – such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, a multifunction steering wheel, and a multi-information display in the instrument cluster.
Driver support systems is where the Sandero gains some ground, as ABS brakes, hill start assist, electronic stability control, and front airbags are fitted as standard.
The Brezza also receives front airbags, ABS, and brake assist – along with rear parking sensors, a reverse camera, a pedal release system, and a side impact protection beam to keep its occupants safe.
From the outside, they are clearly differentiable – and the Vitara stands a bit taller and wider than the Sandero.
It also sits higher than the Sandero at 198mm of ground clearance, versus 173mm on the Renault.
As these are crossovers, pre-installed roof rails, plastic side skirtings, and rugged design elements complete the “go anywhere” look, and chrome details makes them look right at home in any city centre.
Front fog lamps were then added to the Sandero to increase visibility, and both vehicles feature halogen headlamps with integrated LED guiding lights no matter the trim level.
Some customisation is afforded to the customer through a variety of exterior colours on offer, too.
The Vitara can be optioned in six single body colours and three dual-tone exterior hues, whereas the Sandero receives eight single exterior colours, with Azurite Blue being exclusively reserved for Stepway derivatives.
In the Sandero, Renault has installed a 0.9-litre turbocharged engine that puts out 66kW and 135Nm of torque.
This is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission that sends power to the front wheels.
The Suzuki, on the other hand, is fitted with a much larger 1.5-litre motor, but it is not turbocharged – and as a result only generates 77kW of power and 136Nm of torque.
It is also connected to a 5-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive platform, but it is worth noting that a 4-speed automatic transmission is also available at an extra cost.
Both vehicles have a generous luggage capacity of just over 320 litres, and can comfortably fit up to five adults.
The Renault Sandero range starts at R217,900 for the non-crossover Expression trim with similar features.
The Renault Sandero 66kW Turbo Stepway Expression then comes in at R231,900.
With this you will receive a 5-year/150,000km warranty and roadside assistance agreement.
The Suzuki Vitara Brezza 1.5 GL 5MT is the entry-level model in the range, and has an asking price of R244,900.
This gets you a 5-year/200,000km warranty, and 4-year/60,000km service plan.