Dacia Sandero Stepway Review & Prices

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a great hatchback with an SUV-mimicking driving position, but its poor safety rating might put you off

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RRP £15,295 - £19,145 Avg. Carwow saving £647 off RRP
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Adventurer's Choice Award
Highly Commended
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Doesn't feel as cheap as its price
  • More space than anything in this price range
  • Surprisingly comfortable

What's not so good

  • Two-star Euro NCAP score
  • Not much equipment to pick from
  • No extra off-road capability

Find out more about the Dacia Sandero Stepway

Is the Dacia Sandero Stepway a good car?

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is the jacked-up, slightly buffer cousin to the regular Dacia Sandero supermini. Stepway, in Dacia parlance, means a car has had a slight SUV makeover - it gets higher suspension, plastic cladding around the bumpers and wheelarches, and some outward-bound features such as roof bars.

In the case of the Sandero Stepway, however, it doesn’t come with any real mechanical changes - despite appearances, there’s no four-wheel drive or off-road kit to get excited about. Think of the Stepway like a regular Sandero that’s done some situps - it looks beefier and more capable, even if it’s not really any more powerful. But that outdoorsy bent was enough to earn it highly commended status in the Adventurer’s Choice Award at the 2024 Carwow Car of the Year Awards.

Superminis with faux-SUV makeovers had a spate of popularity a few years ago, but nowadays the Sandero Stepway is out on a bit of a limb. You might prefer to stake your claim on either side of the Sandero Stepway, and opt for either a normal supermini - such as the Renault Clio, the SEAT Ibiza or even the normal Dacia Sandero. Or, you could go the whole hog and opt for a proper small SUV - such as the Volkswagen T-Cross or Skoda Kamiq.

Dacia remains a value brand at heart, and so even though the Sandero Stepway is the most expensive way to buy a new Sandero it remains one of the cheapest new cars in the UK. Despite this, it feels well built inside, and even though there’s an abundance of hard plastics there’s also a few concessions to style and comfort - such as a fabric strip across the dashboard to add some visual interest.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is big, cheap, and practical, but that Euro NCAP score might put you off

It’s dead easy to find a comfy seating position, and all the controls are as straightforward and self-explanatory as you’ll find anywhere. If you’re upgrading to the Sandero Stepway from an older car, you won’t find anywhere near as steep a learning curve as you would in some of the competition’s touchscreen-heavy interiors.

The Sandero Stepway drives a lot like an older car too, with heavier controls than many modern superminis. That does extend to the equipment list - while you’ll find all the essentials such as air-con, remote central locking and smartphone connectivity, Dacia hasn’t gone to great lengths to fit the latest safety equipment. 

While this may suit you if you don’t like the incessant beeping and interfering you get from some models, it contributes to one of the Sandero Stepway’s biggest downsides - a dire two-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Read into this further and it’s not quite so shocking, though. The Sandero scored the equivalent of four stars for occupant protection in a crash, but a car’s overall Euro NCAP star rating is dictated by its lowest category, where the absence of things like lane-keeping assist and pedestrian detection for the autonomous emergency braking pulled the result down.

You’ll be able to make your own judgement, of course. But what this means is that while the Dacia Sandero Stepway isn’t fundamentally unsafe in a crash, there are safer small cars out there - ones that not only protect their occupants better but have technology to help avoid incident in the first place.

If you’re interested, you can find the latest Dacia Sandero Stepway deals right here on Carwow. You could also look at the deals on a used Dacia Sandero Stepway here, as well as other used Dacias. And when the time comes to change your car, you can sell your current car through Carwow’s network of trusted dealers too.

How much is the Dacia Sandero Stepway?

The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a RRP range of £15,295 to £19,145. However, with Carwow you can save on average £647. Prices start at £14,935 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £223. The price of a used Dacia Sandero Stepway on Carwow starts at £9,000.

Our most popular versions of the Dacia Sandero Stepway are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.0 TCe Essential 5dr £14,935 Compare offers

Cars in roughly the same price bracket as the Stepway include the Fiat 500, Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10, although the Dacia offers plenty more practicality and space. There are three trim grades, starting with Essential, before moving on to Expression and range-topping Extreme.

The base model comes with 16-inch steel wheels (though with wheel covers that do a remarkable job of pretending to be alloys), electric front windows, Bluetooth and DAB but no infotainment touchscreen - instead, you get a phone mount in the centre of the dashboard.

The Expression trim is £1,000 extra but adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers. Extreme is a further £1,400 but brings an electric parking brake, black alloy wheels, a rear-view camera, blind spot monitoring and 'Extended Grip' - not a four-wheel drive system, but one that shuffles power between the front wheels for a little extra traction in slippery conditions.

Performance and drive comfort

The Dacia is decent in town, but longer journeys on the motorway will be a bit of a challenge – to drivers as well as to the engine

In town

The engine and car combination works really well for a vehicle that will be spending much of its time in town, which is what you’d expect from the Stepway. Paired to a slightly notchy manual gearbox, the Sandero Stepway responds well around town. The raised suspension and soft springs seem like they were designed for the unmade roads in Dacia's native Romania, but that means they make short work of the speed bumps and potholes of the British road network.

The steering isn’t the sharpest, but more than suitable for town, where drivers will be operating at relatively lower speeds. The turning circle is on a par with similar cars, which helps when navigating tight turns or spaces as well as mini roundabouts.

On the motorway

Unsurprisingly, the Stepway isn’t the strongest contender for long-distance journeys. The engine noise is noticeable, while there is also wind and tyre noise present. Part of that is down to the fact that cost-savings have been made when it comes to sound deadening in the cabin, but also a 1.0-litre engine is always going to make itself heard when pushed to the limit at higher speeds.

Swift overtaking manoeuvres aren’t made easy due to the engine’s lack of power, plus any inclines could prove a bit of a challenge to the small motor. However, compare this to cars in the Sandero Stepway's price bracket - city cars such as the Toyota Aygo X or Kia Picanto - and the Dacia seems positively sprightly.

On a twisty road

The manual gearbox might sound appealing to those who want to contend with B roads, but the changes aren’t the smoothest and it can be a bit of an effort to keep the speed in the desired range.

While it’s not the most fun car of its kind– something like a SEAT Ibiza is more entertaining on the twisty stuff – the Dacia’s dynamics aren’t the worst either. The steering has enough feel in it to give a bit of confidence when cornering and there’s decent grip in the tyres. The ride quality also helps at higher speeds, because – like in the urban environment – any bumps in the road are dealt with easily.

Practicality and boot space

The interior is surprisingly spacious but you might want more storage solutions around the cabin

It shouldn’t be an issue for drivers or front passengers to get comfortable in the front of the Stepway as there is a really good amount of movement forwards and backwards as well as up and down. It’s all done manually – you can’t expect too much in a sub-£18,000 car – but the movement is slick and the levers are easy to access.

It’s the same when it comes to the steering wheel, with movement in all directions. The exception to this is the Essential model, which only offers changes up and down. But it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker in the grand scheme of things.

There’s enough storage inside the cabin, without Dacia going overboard. Some grades of the car don’t have a central armrest, which robs people of a bit of space to put phone, keys, sweets, or whatever else they might like. There is a relatively shallow area in front of the gear lever and it’s not got any anti-slip measures, which means anything in there will roll around on the hard plastic.

The glovebox is a decent enough size, there are a couple of cupholders and storage bins in the doors. Overall it’s a decent layout with a surprising amount of comfort, which is always a bonus.

Space in the back seats

There is plenty of head and leg room for rear passengers – certainly more than the likes of the Fiat 500 and Hyundai i10. The middle seat is pretty good, even taller travellers shouldn’t have their legs impeded too much by the transmission tunnel running down the centre of the car because it’s relatively small.

There are ISOFIX points for child seats and, such is the amount of room in the rear, it is easy to install all types of seat, including the rear-facing baby seats that can be a bit of a struggle in other small cars.

In terms of practicality, there aren’t any USB ports or anything like that, but the front seat backs do offer pockets for books, magazines, tablets or – if you’re really old school – maps.

Boot space

Moving to the rear of the car, and that practicality of the Sandeo Stepway stands proud with the boot offering 328 litres of space, more than many other vehicles in this price bracket. The Kia Picanto has 252 litres of space, the Fiat 500 just 185 litres.

There are split-folding rear seats in every Stepway apart from the base model, while a movable boot floor that can create more space or level off the boot lip, depending on how the boot is being used.

As you might expect, it’s pretty basic here, with no connectivity ports or other storage solutions such as nets or hooks. However, the space alone will be enough for many buyers to be impressed.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Simplicity is key to the Stepway’s interior, which also has a few quality touches on higher grade models. But many people might be looking further down the range might want a bit more more from their cabin, regardless of the low list price

For a car that is, let’s face it, cheap based on the current range of car prices, the Dacia Sandero Stepway has a decent interior with the ability to spec some nice chrome touches breaking up the swathes of plastic around the cabin.  These include on the heating dials – none of that annoying touchscreen operation to keep you warm or cool you down – and also on the doors. Some of those do come at a cost, however, with entry level models looking a bit bland.

There’s a modest infotainment screen that is available on all but the entry level Stepway. Again, it’s relatively basic, as you might expect, but that will almost be a blessing for some people who might not be used to the more complicated modern sort of setup. Or, for those people who want straightforward functions from their car and to have fewer buttons to press or steps to go through to complete a task. For example, there are six options: radio; media; phone; vehicle; nav and smartphone integration. Hit any of those options and you get to where you need to be – it’s really that easy. It’s responsive too, which is something that will be welcomed by many put off by more complex systems in more expensive cars.

There are audio controls on a stalk behind the steering wheel, as you might expect to see in Renaults. There is also additional functionality on the steering wheel, which boasts a lot of buttons that control both the central screen as well as the driver display.

The latter item again keeps it simple, with two analogue dials for speed and revs and a digital screen that shows data such as tyre pressures, economy and radio channel.

MPG, emissions and tax

It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but drivers who buy a Sandero Stepway aren’t too interested in performance. There are two engine choices - the most popular is a 1.0-litre petrol with 90hp. However, on the top model there is the option of a manual or automatic (CVT) gearbox (the lower two models are manual only). The zero to 60mph ‘sprint’ can be completed in 12 seconds flat when behind the wheel of the manual Stepway, while the same test in the automatic takes 14.2 seconds.

The auto also uses more fuel – the manual Stepway records an official economy figure of 50mpg, while in the auto, drivers will be looking at a best of 46mpg. Meanwhile CO2 emissions for the two models have been figured at 127g/km (manual) and 140g/km (auto). Road tax cost for the first year isn't too ruinous thanks to this, nor are company car tax bills.

The really thrifty might be interested in the Sandero Bi-Fuel. This is a unique offering to Dacia at the moment, and it's a 100hp version of the 1.0-litre engine that can run on either petrol or liquified petroleum gas (LPG). LPG is typically around half the price of petrol, so it could prove extremely cost-effective - but filling stations are comparatively rare so you might have to go further out of your way to find one.

The Bi-Fuel Sandero is actually the same price as the regular petrol so there's no real reason not to choose it - unless you need an automatic.

Safety and security

The previous Sandero Stepway received a four-star rating from Euro NCAP, but the newer model – due to changes in the testing standards – only managed two stars. Adult occupant and child occupant safety were scored at 70% and 72% respectively, while other categories are where the Dacia really suffered. Protection for vulnerable road users was rated at just 41%, while safety assist technology rated not much better at 42%.

While the car is fitted with an acceptable amount of front and side airbags (no central ones though) and pretensioners, the other safety systems are found lacking. There’s no autonomous emergency braking technology apart from car-to-car, not any lane keeping assist know-how onboard.

Security-wise, all versions of the Sandero Stepway have an immobiliser and automatic and remote central locking. And apart from the base Essential grade, there’s keyless entry technology fitted.

Reliability and problems

Sandero Stepway buyers get the industry standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty when purchasing a new car. Extended warranties are available through the manufacturer, which has previously offered five years free cover during certain promotions of the car.

Despite the disappointing Euro NCAP score, the reliability of the Dacia brand has been recognised in different industry surveys, in one example placing second out of thirty car manufacturers.

There have been recalls related to Dacia’s standard Sandero model – specifically a possible high pressure fuel system fault and an issue with the bonnet – but nothing that relates to the Stepway.

Buy or lease the Dacia Sandero Stepway at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £15,295 - £19,145 Avg. Carwow saving £647 off RRP
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