French carmaker Renault is preparing a new entry-level SUV that will target some of its biggest markets within the next year. Patent images of this vehicle have been leaked. However, rather than creating something new from the ground up, Renault has instead given its Sandero Stepway subcompact car a major facelift.
In this story, the photos are pretty clear, but the details aren’t. The media in Brazil is saying that Renault will sell this as a new SUV in South America and will not use the Sandero name. This is puzzling, considering the Renault Sandero is a long-standing nameplate that’s so popular it even gets an RS performance version.
Looking at the patent images provided by the Dutch magazine Autoweek, it’s impossible not to see the outline of the Dacia Sandero. The subcompact hatchback from Romania is now in its 3rd generation and has technically already been facelifted, having been launched in 2020. For 2022, it received updates, though they are mild, mainly centering around the new X-shaped badge.
This Renault patent image set shows a completely new front end where the headlights are split into two pieces. The upper ones look like something Volvo or Polestar would offer, but the actual lighting comes from the big element in the middle of the bumper, and the fog lights are cleverly hidden at the bottom of the bumper black cladding.
Even though these changes are designed for Renault, we believe Dacia might adopt them too for a 2024 Sandero facelift. Something similar can already be seen on the smaller Spring EV.
The patent images also present a two-tone roof design and a new set of C-shaped taillights with a 3D design, which resemble more expensive Renault models such as the Captur.
Regardless of the market and Dacia/Renault badging, the Sandero is likely fitted with a 1.0-liter engine. In Brazil, this is capable of running on ethanol, like most cars there, while the European model has turbocharged versions with 90 or 110 hp or a natural gas iteration with 100 hp. Dacia also recently introduced the CVT transmission option and many other comfort features, though prices have been steadily increasing for James May’s favorite Romanian economy car.