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
Find out more about the Dacia Sandero Stepway
Imagine the regular Dacia Sandero cosplaying as an SUV and you’re on the right track here. The Sandero Stepway sees the ride height raised, some plastic cladding stuck along the wheel arches and a pair of roof rails screwed on top. It's all very outdoorsy, earning it highly commended status in the Adventurer's Choice Award at the 2024 Carwow Car of the Year Awards.
From a style perspective, the various plastic additions just make the Sandero look cheaper in Stepway form than it actually is. The raised ride height helps with comfort and the roof rails are a useful touch, but the rest of the visual tweaks just seem a bit tacky.
Once you’re inside the Stepway you’ll see some more changes here too. The seating position is set a little bit higher, and the backrests have ‘Stepway’ badging. Orange trim highlights and stitching comes through as well, along with a fabric dashboard trims.
It all feels well built in the Dacia Sandero Stepway, and not like it’s one of the cheapest cars you can buy new — although the abundance of hard plastic does give the game away somewhat. It’s dead easy to find a comfy seating position as well and there’s good adjustment in the steering wheel. You won’t find any electric adjustment here though, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
Space in the back row of the Sandero Stepway is decent. Adults will find there’s good amount of head- and leg-room for a car this small, though you’ll be getting cosy shoulder-to-shoulder with three in the back. That’s typical of a car of this size, and markedly better than the much smaller city cars that you’ll usually find at this price.
If you want an infotainment system, you’ll need to go for a car in Comfort or Prestige trim. The 8.0-inch display is pretty basic but functions well, and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly. You get a built in phone holder too which is pretty handy, though if your phone’s big it’ll probably block the view out a little bit. Nothing major but worth noting.
The Stepway is no off-roader, but provides a loftier view of the world than the Sandero and a more mature driving experience than its predecessor
The Dacia Sandero Stepway embarrasses the Ford Fiesta Active in the boot space stakes, with 328 litres compared to 292 litres. It’s easy to use too thanks to an adjustable floor that can pretty much eliminate the boot lip.
You’ve got the choice of three turbocharged three-cylinder engines, all 1.0-litre in capacity. There’s 65hp and 90hp outputs for petrol models, with a 100hp bifuel version that will run on LPG as well as petrol.
The 90hp car is the one to go for. All of them are pretty sluggish — you might even be better outrunning it on a bicycle if you want to feel a rush of speed — but the 90hp car is easier to live with, and the LPG option is only really worth it if you live dead close to a fuelling station and can be bothered to fill the Sandero with two types of fuel regularly. After all, it’s not exactly a gas guzzler.
Even though it’s meant to look like a rough-and-ready, off-roading SUV, the Dacia Sandero Stepway is still most at home in the middle of town. Light steering makes it so easy to chuck about and park, plus visibility out of the front is good so you’ll be able to squeeze into tight spots fairly easy — though the view out of the back isn’t great so it might be worth going for a car with a rear-view camera.
The soft-set suspension (even softer than the normal Sandero) makes light work of bumps and potholes too so you’re not going to find yourself crashing about. It’s really impressive for something this cheap — as long as you’re cool with relying on a light tailwind on motorways to overtake.
You’ll be quite satisfied if you opt for the Dacia Sandero then, but go for the Stepway and you do just get an extra layer of comfort and the minor price increase is worth it. As long as you can live with the looks.
Should the Dacia Sandero Stepway tick all of the right boxes for you, find out how much you could save when buying through Carwow by checking out our latest new Dacia Sandero Stepway deals or browsing used Sandero Stepway stock. You can also take a look at other used Dacia deals, and when it's time to sell your current car, Carwow can help with that, too.
The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a RRP range of £15,295 to £19,145. However, with carwow you can save on average £358. Prices start at £14,971 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £229. The price of a used Dacia Sandero Stepway on carwow starts at £10,495.
Our most popular versions of the Dacia Sandero Stepway are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.0 TCe Essential 5dr||£14,971||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 five trim grades, starting with Essential, before moving on to Expression, Comfort, Journey and Prestige.
The base model comes with 16-inch wheels, electric front windows, Bluetooth and DAB. These might appear a given, but we’re dealing with a budget car, here. Next up – for around £1,200 more – the Expression adds a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and cruise control into the mix.
Continuing, the Comfort (same price as Expression) adds in the likes of rear electric windows and sat nav, while the marginally more expensive Journey is fitted with a centre front armrest and blind spot monitoring. Topping the range is the Prestige, which boasts a bigger central touchscreen and rear parking camera. Prestige – from £15,895 – is the same price as Journey.
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. It’s not the most fun car, but in terms of value for money, it’s certainly a contender
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. It’s not the most willing motor, but it does the job and returns good fuel economy on the combined cycle.
The Stepway has a relatively shallow roofline, which means that visibility out of the back window is OK, but a little bit restricted. Elsewhere, out of the sides and front of the car, there is plenty of glass area, with relatively narrow pillars ensuring a pretty good view from behind the wheel. The raised ride height also helps with visibility and spacial awareness to pedestrians and other road users
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.
Meanwhile, the suspension setup is supple enough to soak up a lot of the impact of any bumps in the road or potholes. It’s not exactly whisper quiet when you encounter them, but there’s no crashing noises coming through either.
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.
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 Fiesta Active is more entertaining on the twisty stuff – the Dacia’s dynamics aren’t the worst either. The steering, despite being quite light, 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.
The interior is surprisingly spacious – more so than, say, a Hyundai i10 or Fiat 500 – 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 only 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.
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.
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.
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.
It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but drivers who buy a Sandero Stepway aren’t too interested in performance. There’s only one engine choice – a 1.0-litre petrol unit with 91hp. However, in all but the base model (manual only) there is the option of a manual or automatic (CVT) gearbox, with the latter being more sluggish than the manual. 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 is decent though.
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.
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.
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