The Dacia Sandero Stepway defines cheap and cheerful motoring. It’s spacious and well equipped for the price, but you always feel like you’re in a basic budget car
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a small family hatchback, and one of the least expensive cars on sale. It’s a great choice if you want an inexpensive way of getting from A to B and an interior that’s more spacious than alternatives that cost about the same.
You could mistake the Stepway for an SUV thanks to its grey plastic bumpers that hide scratches and roof bars for mounting a storage box. Really, though, it’s just a standard Sandero with suspension that’s raised by 40mm to stop the bottom of the car scraping on rough roads.
That tall suspension also makes the Dacia easier to get in and out of than a conventional, low-slung family car and means you don’t need to bend your back so much when fitting a child seat. Passenger space is good for the price, you get plenty of room for adults up front and space for two in the back. The Sandero’s 320-litre boot is bigger than you get in comparably priced cars such as the VW Up and it sits at a good height for loading.
Interior quality is the same as the regular Sandero, so not brilliant. Everything is well laid out, but the plastics feel cheap to the touch and the design is, well – completely lacking any form of charisma.
Equipment levels are perfectly good for the price, though – you get air-conditioning, electric front windows, a DAB digital radio with a Bluetooth phone connection and remote central locking as standard.
You get a good forward view out when driving and you don’t have to worry about scraping the bottom of the car going over speed humps. In corners it leans quite a lot, the steering feels a bit vague, and the gear stick shifts with a cheap-sounding ‘clack’. You’ll also find the cabin is quite noisy at speed – you would be right to suspect that Dacia’s saved some cash on sound deadening.
The Stepway gets fashionable urban accoutrements that give it beefier looks than the basic Dacia Sandero
You can choose from two engines – a 90hp petrol or a 90hp diesel. Unless you do lots of miles, choose the petrol, which is cheaper to buy and has peppier performance in town than the diesel.
Safety isn’t too bad for such a cheap car. The Sandero scored four stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2013, although modern crash-avoidance tech such as automatic emergency braking isn’t available, and the crash test has got tougher since 2013.
Despite these shortcomings, you have to remember that the Dacia Sandero Stepway is a brand-new car that costs used-car money. That’s undoubtedly its biggest selling point. Buy it, pay £850 extra for the company’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, and you can have peace-of-mind motoring that can’t be rivalled for the price.
For more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Dacia Sandero Stepway, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, to see what sort of saving you can expect on the Sandero Stepway, click on to our deals page.