What is it?
The Dacia Sandero Stepway Ambiance dCi 90 is the entry-level diesel-powered version of this jacked-up, body-cladded supermini.
Unlike the rest of the Dacia range, there is no base, UN-spec Access model to be had – although anyone disappointed by that news can console themselves in the knowledge that Glacier White remains the base colour.
Pretty naff stickers aside, it is a car with decent kerb appeal despite its relatively modest changes from the Dacia Sandero supermini. In essence, these are a ride height raised by 40mm and the addition of some body cladding and wheelarch extensions.
And for a car costing £9585 (in this form, with options including metallic paint – it can be had from £8995 with this diesel and £7995 with the petrol), that in itself is pretty remarkable.
What's it like?
As well as looking right, the Dacia Sandero Stepway goes well, too. The handling is accurate and responsive. The body movements are well controlled despite the increase in height, and the ride is pleasingly fluent, the increased wheel travel offering definite benefits.
The diesel engine is decent, too. Performance is nothing to write home about at 11.8sec to 62mph, but it offers good throttle response, sufficient in-gear urge and only becomes vocal if you stretch it beyond 3500rpm. It’s cheap to run as well, with 105g/km of CO2 keeping VED down and fuel economy hitting just over 50mpg on our test.
The cabin is pretty good, if perhaps a bit sparse, but there’s no scrimping on standard kit. The Stepway isn’t available in the basic Access spec of other Dacias, meaning even this entry Ambience model – which we test here for the first time - comes with all the essentials (minus, some may argue, a spare wheel).
Should I buy one?
Our praise for this car is genuine, albeit tempered against the tempting asking price. It is not perfect by any means, but nor is this hair-shirt motoring.
All in, the Dacia Sandero Stepway looks extremely good value when compared to the likes of the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 3008 or Renault Captur, which are around the same size at least.