£8,495 - £11,395 Price range
55 - 74 MPG
Critics agree that the Dacia Sandero Stepway is more than just a rugged version of the Sandero. The raised suspension helps it cope better with rough surfaces, although some argue this makes driving it around corners marginally less confidence-inspiring than its normal counterpart.
Apart from that, almost everything is same as the Sandero hatchback, which is mostly a good thing. It still offers excellent value for money, which is where Dacia’s cars really stand apart from their rivals.
Take a look at our handy Dacia Sandero Stepway colours guide to see what shades suit it.
Cheapest to buy: 0.9-litre Ambiance petrol
Cheapest to run: 1.5-litre Ambiance diesel
Fastest model: 0.9-litre Ambiance petrol
Most popular: 1.5-litre Laureate diesel
Like the rest of the Dacia range, the Sandero Stepway comes with a functional interior rather than a glitzy one. While the design is basic, it serves the purpose well. The top-spec Laureate trim gets a good amount of goodies, too.
It can seat four and has a 320 litre boot capacity, meaning you can carry enough luggage for a family of four. Critics say the most obvious cost-cutting measure in the cabin is the proliferation of hard, scratchy plastics – there are lots of them, and they’re not in out-of-the-way places either.
The normal Sandero didn’t set the hearts of motoring critics alight when it came to the driving experience – it prioritised grip over fun and outright comfort. The Stepway is little different – the biggest changes come from the increased ride height.
Reviewers say that the 40mm increase in ground clearance helps the Sandero Stepway drive over surfaces that the standard hatchback would have problems traversing comfortably. It also adds to the off-roader feel: you sit higher, helping you peer over urban queues.
On the flip-side, testers complain that the Stepway’s increased ride height adds some body roll in corners. Thankfully grip levels are good, which means you can corner with confidence, even if you’re sliding about in your seat a little more than with the standard car. The front-wheel-drive hatchback comes with frugal and easy-to-drive engines, which does sweeten the deal a bit.
The Sandero Stepway is offered with two engine choices: a 900 cc three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that makes 89hp and emits 125g/km of CO2, and a 1.5-litre diesel unit which makes 90hp but exhales less carbon dioxide: just 105g/km.
Both engines come mated to five-speed manual gearboxes, and are very frugal. As you’d expect it’s the diesel that shines with its 70mpg fuel efficiency claim, whereas the petrol returns a claimed 52.3mpg. If you’re looking for a vehicle for mostly city commutes, the petrol engined version makes more sense; it’s not as noisy and delivers acceptable levels of fuel economy, too. Over longer distances the economy of the diesel will probably make that the more tempting option, however.
A four-star rating in the EuroNCAP test isn’t a glowing report, especially given that it’s not too uncommon for hatchbacks of this size to earn a full five-star rating. The Sandero Stepway hasn’t been tested yet, and the score above is for the Sandero hatchback. But keeping in mind that the two vehicles are mechanically similar, this should perform as well as its regular hatchback version.
The standard kit of equipment across all trim levels includes stability control, ABS, and Isofix child-seat mounts. All Stepways get four airbags as standard.
With prices starting just above £8,000 for the base version and going all the way up to £11,000 for the top-spec version, the Dacia Sandero is one of the cheapest cars on sale, and few can offer this much car for the same price.
You can choose from Ambiance and top-level Laureate trims – the Stepway does away with the normal Sandero’s entry-level Access trim level. The only options available on the Ambiance-level Stepway is a spare wheel and an alarm; upgrade to the Laureate and you can add electric rear windows and a leather steering wheel – a good indicator of how basic the kit levels are.
Whichever way you look at it, the Stepway is good value. As well as the low buying cost, the range of frugal engines is superb, and the diesel in particular will get you some of the lowest-cost motoring available right now.
Critics agree that the best thing about the Sandero Stepway is that it doesn’t try too hard to achieve its aim: comfortable low-cost motoring without many compromises.
The Dacia brand has managed to show how low-cost motoring can be done well, and the Stepway is a good example. The added ability to drive over bad roads without unsettling the occupants is a welcome feature, and it certainly makes the Stepway more desirable than the regular hatchback.
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