What is it?
Roughty-toughty off-road flavour works well for Dacia. It makes the Duster a singularly unpretentious and likeable machine. And on the Sandero Stepway, loosely termed a crossover supermini, it only seems to enhance the simple, functional value.
Mechanically, there isn’t much that differentiates the Stepway. This is ostensibly a standard Sandero hatch with plastic wheel arch extensions, faux plastic scuff plates, roof bars and an extra 40mm of ground clearance (to make 207mm in all).
What is it like?
There’s no entry-level 1.2-litre engine with the Stepway, and no pared-down Access trim. Prices start from £7995, but you also get more for your money with the entry-level 898cc petrol-engined Ambiance-spec Stepway, which gets front fog lamps, body-coloured bumpers and mirrors, and metallic paint.
The range-topping 1.5-litre diesel we tested adds rear parking sensors and sat-nav, offsetting more than half of the £1000 premium you’ll pay versus the equivalent hatch. And it’s a marginally more appealing and obliging machine than the regular model, with chunkier styling, easier entry and egress, handling that shows little compromise on accuracy or control and a slightly more fluent primary ride. The diesel engine only really becomes noisy above 3500rpm and generally performs strongly – albeit not quite as efficiently as the 70.6mpg claim suggests.
Should I buy one?
The bottom line is that, if you insist on spending £9000 or more on a Sandero, the Stepway’s probably the car to spend it on – whether you want a crossover or not.
Dacia Sandero Stepway 1.5 dCi 90 Laureate
Price: £10,795; 0-62mph: 11.8sec; Top speed: 103mph; Economy: 70.6mpg (combined); CO2: 105g/km; Kerb weight: 1083kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1461cc, turbodiesel; Power: 89bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 162lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual