- Sharp aesthetics
- Superb value for money
The Dacia range has always been seen as great value for money, and the entry-level Sandero supermini is still one of the cheapest new cars you can buy in the UK.
The new Sandero range arrived back in April, and although it has moved upmarket, it's still priced very reasonably in the SUV-styled Sandero Stepway form I've been sampling, which still means you can have a new car for the price of many used equivalents.
Dacia enjoys a reputation for producing budget-priced cars that are well-equipped and excellent value, and the latest Stepway builds on that.
The smart-looking 5-door SUV-styled hatchback is a more muscular version of the award-winning supermini, and it looks good thanks to its increased ride height and new styling.
Powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine delivering 89bhp, mated to a 6-speed CVT gearbox, the car I tested had a top speed of 101mph and took 14.2 seconds to reach 62mph. It did feel lively and willing at all times, and quicker than the stats suggest. It's also economical, with a WLTP combined figure of 45.6mpg.
Being part of the Renault group, it's tried and tested and shares lots of parts from its parent company’s products, including some from the award-winning Renault Clio.
It may not be the fastest kid on the block, but the Stepway offers smooth acceleration and enough power to overtake slower traffic.
It cruises comfortably at motorway speeds, but it can get noisy if you push it too hard.
It's fairly agile with decent grip and little body lean, and there's good all-round visibility for driving in town. The steering is well weighted, and an Eco mode lets you save fuel.
Design and Practicality
Finished in optional striking Desert Orange paint, the Sandero Stepway has lots of design features like LED light signatures, black plastic cladding on the wheel arches, roof rails, front fog lights, body-coloured bumpers and mirrors, heated and electrically-adjusted door mirrors, and smart 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside the interior is bright and modern with upholstery on the dashboard and doors, titanium black seat fabric, along with orange contrast trim on the air vents, seats, and doors, and there is room for four adults to travel in comfort.
The controls and switches are well-placed, and the dials are clear and easy to read.
The Sandero Stepway is also very practical, with a 328-litre boot increasing to 1,108 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats folded. More storage spaces are available in the cabin, and cupholders serve the front seats.
Another plus is that you can opt for a spare wheel to give you peace of mind on long trips.
Technology and Safety
The car I tested featured a navigation system, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, an 8-inch display screen, 6-speaker audio, DAB radio, air conditioning, and lots more.
The Stepway has a decent amount of safety equipment including anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist, active emergency braking, an emergency call button, tyre pressure monitoring, hill start assist, ISOFIX anchor points for the rear outer seats, and a full set of airbags.
It doesn't offer some of the more technical safety equipment, but that does help to keep the price down.
The Sandero Stepway may not be as cheap as it once was, but the boost in quality and refinement means that it's still excellent value for money and a great budget choice. Boasting a great level of practicality, stylish new looks, and the ability to go off the beaten track, it's a suitable option for a variety of lifestyles.