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Dacia Sandero Stepway review

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a great hatchback mimicking an SUV in a rather pointless way

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wowscore
7/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Doesn’t feel as cheap as its price
  • More spacious than any city car
  • Surprisingly comfortable

What's not so good

  • Two-star Euro NCAP score
  • Not much equipment to pick from
  • Stepway looks a little tacky

Dacia Sandero Stepway: what would you like to read next?

Is the Dacia Sandero Stepway a good car?

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a jacked-up city car that’s an affordable alternative to the likes of the Ford Fiesta Active and Citroen C3. 

Imagine the regular Dacia Sandero cosplaying as an SUV and you’re on the right tracks 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. Radical it ain’t. 

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 legroom 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, though, 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-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.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

The Dacia Sandero Stepway embarasses 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. 

How practical is it?

The Sandero Stepway has a massive boot and plenty of room for passengers too

Boot (seats up)
328 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,108 litres

Space in the back row of the Sandero Stepway is rather good, and certainly far better than any city car that you’d get at this price level. 

Adults will find there’s a decent amount of head- and legroom 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, though. There’s no complaints about space up-front, either.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway embarasses the much pricier Ford Fiesta Active in the boot space department, with 328 litres compared to 292 litres. It’s really easy to use too thanks to an adjustable floor that can pretty much eliminate the boot lip.

What's it like to drive?

The Dacia Sandero Stepway looks ready to hit the trails but it’s best served on the supermarket commute. It’ll handle distances too, but very slowly

You’ve got the choice of three turbocharged three-cylinder engines for the Dacia Sandero Stepway. All are 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 too.

The 90hp car is the one to go for. All of them are pretty sluggish — you might even be better trying to outrun it on a bicycle if speed gives you a rush — 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. It’s not exactly a gas guzzler so isn’t really worth the bother. 

It’s cosplaying as a rough-and-ready, off-roading SUV, but 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 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 having to slam your foot to the floor and relying on a light tailwind on motorways to overtake.

What's it like inside?

You wouldn’t guess how cheap the Sandero Stepway is from the interior alone, but don’t expect luxury or cutting-edge tech.

Dacia Sandero Stepway colours

Solid - Glacier white
Free
Metallic - Desert orange
From £595
Metallic - Fusion red
From £595
Metallic - Highland grey
From £595
Metallic - Iron blue
From £595
Metallic - Pearl black
From £595
Metallic - Slate grey
From £595
Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used Dacia Sandero Stepway at a price you’ll love
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