The Dacia Sandero Stepway’s raised suspension cushions bumps better than the standard Sandero and gives you a better view out – shame about the rattly diesel engine though
You can have the Dacia Sandero Stepway with a choice of one diesel or one petrol engine.
The petrol is surprisingly high-tech given the Dacia’s budget-car roots – it only has three cylinders and a tiny 0.9-litre capacity, but has a turbocharger to help it return decent fuel economy of 55.4mpg. Performance is unspectacular but there’s enough to keep pace with town traffic, and only when you get onto the motorway does the Dacia start to feel a little bit breathless.
The Dacia is more concerned with getting you from A to B than making you feel particularly good while you’re doing it
Even if you do a lot of miles each year, think long and hard before choosing the 90hp 1.5-litre diesel. It’s a rattly old thing that leaves you in no doubt that the Dacia Sandero Stepway represents budget motoring. Still, if you’re willing to grin and bear it, you’ll be rewarded with decent fuel economy of 74.3mpg and it does feel a tad quicker than the petrol on the motorway.
Whether you choose petrol or diesel power, the Dacia Sandero Stepway has a max towing weight of 1,100kg – quite a lot less than a proper four-wheel-drive car would be capable of.
The Dacia Sandero Stepway’s raised suspension means it is ideally suited to the cut and thrust of city life because the extra height gives you a better view out the front of the car.
Reverse parking isn’t a problem either, because the rear windscreen is set low enough to make the back of the car easy to judge. Front and rear parking sensors are available across the range as part of the £545 Protection pack, which includes an alarm and a boot-lip protector that’ll stop you from scratching the bumper when loading heavy objects. SE Summit models come with a rear-view camera as standard or you can have it as a £200 option on Laureate trim.
You’ll find the Dacia Sandero Stepway’s suspension is a little bit more comfortable than the standard Sandero’s, and the raised ride height helps it deal with rough tracks, fields and – more importantly – speed humps.
You do pay a price for that comfort though. You get a comical amount of body lean in corners, and the unsupportive seats mean you and your passengers will be sliding all over the place if you tackle bends at any kind of pace. The steering is also woolly and the gearbox is clunky. In other words, the Dacia Sandero Stepway will get you from A to B but not in a way that’s remotely enjoyable.
Or relaxing for that matter. At a cruise, it’s clear Dacia has saved pennies on sound deadening, and there are loads of vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals – especially in the diesel – as well as plenty of road noise and a fair amount of wind noise.
A four-star Euro NCAP safety rating means the Dacia Sandero Stepway is reasonably safe – you get four airbags and anti-lock brakes, but you can rule out fancy self-drive tech, such as automatic emergency braking.