Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review

Posted on December 23rd, 2014 by James Luckhurst

The Stepway offers impressive space for something so cheap, but it is hard work to drive.

 

Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review

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What is it?

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a very cheap vehicle. It’s crossover that aspires to be (but is not) a 4×4. Space-wise – and for the price – it’s hard to beat. But the low price means it’s not surprisingly

How safe is it?
The Sandero Stepway has not yet been tested by Euro NCAP, although the standard Sandero achieved a respectable four stars out of five in the Euro NCAP test with respectable scores for adult and child protection.

Who should buy one?
Anyone who values space and practicality and doesn’t mind the Spartan feel that comes with vehicle at this bargain-basement end of the market.

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review

We put the Sandero Stepway, the Dacia supermini with SUV-style looks, through its paces over a variety of road terrain. It even looked as though it might have some off-road capability, too. The Dacia Sandero Stepway comes with a choice of two engines, a 900petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel.

A five-speed gearbox is common to both. At these sorts of rock-bottom prices, you won’t be surprised to know that performance is nothing to write home about, but whichever engine you choose, you’ll achieve 0 to 62 in somewhere around the 14.5 second mark. For us, town journeys were fine, but longer-distance dual carriageway and motorway stretches seemed too much like hard work, both for the Sandero’s engine and for the driver.

The car seemed slow to respond, and sluggish to offer any sort of overtaking capability. There was certainly no opportunity to slip in a nifty overtake; everything had to be planned a long way in advance. In its favour was a generally comfortable ride, though the suspension was a bit soft for our liking.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review

The Dacia Sandero Stepway offers loads of space. It has a 320-litre boot and with rear seats folded, this increases to 1,200-litres. This makes it one of the biggest boots in the supermini class. Inside the cabin, there’s decent storage from the panels on the door insides, and there are pockets on the back of the front seats if you choose the Laureate spec.

SAFETY
Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review
The Stepway hasn’t been tested yet by Euro NCAP, but the standard model only received four stars. Our test car included ABS, electronic traction control, Brake Assist, three airbags, head restraints with height adjustment and front fog lights. The low fuel warning confused us, as it didn’t come on until after we had put £20 of unleaded in… then it resolutely stayed on.

Dacia Sandero safety levels are on a par with the majority of the sector but aren’t as good as some of its sister Renault cars that achieve the full five stars.

EQUIPMENT
Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review

The cheaper Ambiance model has no air-con, but if you’re sitting in the back, you can cool down by manually lowering the window. Remember those wind-down windows of old? They’re here in the Stepway. The Ambiance includes Bluetooth as standard. The better-spec Laureate includes height-adjustable seatbelts for front occupants, as well as air-con and an easily worked touchscreen sat nav system.

An optional Touring Pack (£250) adds front centre armrest, roof bars and a boot luggage net. The Protection Pack (£430) includes rear parking sensors, alarm and a removable boot liner. We can’t see that spending £600 for leather upholstery makes any sense.

COSTS

Dacia Sandero Stepway: car review

The 0.9-litre petrol engine goes well enough, and cheaply, too. The average economy is 52.3mpg with emissions of 124g/km of CO2. After the first year, road tax costs £110 per annum. If you’re a high-mileage driver, then choose the 1.5-litre diesel, which averages 70.4mpg and emits emits 105g/km of CO2.

WE SAY

The Stepway offers impressive space for something so cheap, but it is hard work to drive.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £8,395
Performance: 0-62mph in 14.5 seconds
Economy: 52.3mpg combined
Insurance: Group 7
Tax: Band D (£20 first year)

Figures for the 900cc petrol Ambiance