What is it?
The ruggedized version of the new-to-the-UK Dacia Sandero. Roughty-tufty off-road flavour certainly seems to work well for the Romanian budget brand. It makes the Duster a singularly unpretentious and likeable sort of machine. And on the Sandero Stepway, loosely termed a crossover supermini, it only serves enhance the sense of simple, functional value on offer.
Mechanically, there isn’t much that differentiates the Stepway. This is ostensibly a standard Sandero hatch with plastic wheelarch extensions, faux plastic scuff plates, standard roof bars and 40mm of extra ground clearance, the latter making up 207mm in all – enough for light off-road service.
There’s no part-time four-wheel drive here, no entry-level 1.2-litre engine and no pared-down Access trim level. Stepway prices start from £7995 – £600 more than an equivalent Sandero hatchback. But you also get more for your money with the entry-level 898cc petrol-engined Ambiance-trim crossover, which brings with it not only roof bars but also front fog lamps, body-coloured bumpers and mirrors, and metallic paint for no extra cost.
The range-topping Laureate-spec 1.5-litre diesel Stepway we tested also comes with sat-nav and rear parking sensors thrown in, offsetting more than half of the £1000 premium you’ll pay for it versus the equivalent hatchback.