From £10,1508
Value supermini has won admiration, but does it also appeal in crossover guise?
Steve Cropley Autocar
24 February 2021

What is it?

Nobody dreams of owning a Dacia. Even the marque’s marketing people know that.

Their research tells them most buyers with £12,000 to £15,000 to blow on a simple, reliable and robust car currently have a second-hand Volkswagen Golf in their mind’s eye, not a showroom-fresh Dacia.

But they also believe that their new Sandero and Sandero Stepway models – which have just migrated to the lighter, extremely versatile CMF-B platform introduced by the latest Renault Clio – can change the minds of value-focused buyers.

They have good evidence: the just-launched Mk3 Sanderos are far more capable than their predecessors; beat pricier and bigger-name superminis for kit and even refinement; are nowadays built to the same standard as Renault-badged cars; and carry a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

The standard Sandero hatchback has already given a good account of itself here (and collected the coveted What Car? Car of the Year Award on the way). The Sandero Stepway, a crossover take on the same car, has an elevated ride height, body cladding to make it look more ‘outdoorsy’ and a set of extremely clever roof bars that reconfigure in seconds into the handiest of racks.

What's it like?

As our mid-spec Comfort test car shows, the equipment is amazingly generous, given the barely credible £12,995 list price, since it includes air-con, LED headlights, an 8.0in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, keyless entry and even heated front seats.

On bald equipment-for-the-money grounds, no rival makes sense. The happy story continues on the road. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine is quiet, smooth and friskier than its official 11.9sec 0-62mph time promises (although the bi-fuel option seems rather beside the point, given that LPG is hard to source in the UK).

The steering and chassis hit an excellent standard. The great-looking seats are really comfortable. The rear leg room beats all comers. The ride is taut and controlled. And only when you’re cruising really fast do wind and road noise begin to intrude.

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Should I buy one?

In all, then, the Sandero Stepway is an appealing machine that comes with a greater breadth of capability than before while still offering class-best value for money.

It will restore your faith in value cars – and make you wonder why alternatives are so much more expensive.

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Comments
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gavsmit 24 February 2021

I'm quite interested actually, and the advantage the Stepway has over the normal Sandero is that the base version doesn't look completely bargain basement; the steel wheels look like alloys (not just clad in cheap wheel trims), it has air con and the bodykit looks like a mid spec effort rather than a bearded cheapo black-bumpered affair.

Add in the servicing deal and it looks even more attractive. I can almost get over it being a Renault, especially after once investing thousands more in a Mazda that I thought would be reliable and well built but was absolute unreliable trash, as is Mazda UK's appalling customer service.

nimmler 24 February 2021

price FROM £7,845 price TESTED £12995 defeats the purpose buying a kitted out top spec of a value for money car.. i understand car companies send the highest spec cars and give soft bribes to reviewers (5 star hotel stays plus expenses paid, goody bags )to give high reviews but this is highly misleading to customers if not fraudulent. Maybe next time actually hold Dacia to account and test a base spec car.. Also dacias are far more reliable than pos Renault junk because they are last gen renault parts bin cars so the parts have been rigorously tested, Romainan workers also build better cars because they take pride In the Dacia flag carrier name and more motivated than the lazy highly unionised French.

LP in Brighton 24 February 2021

All told seems a worthy enough effort. The model featured though is the Prestige, which is listed at £13,395 +£560 for metallic. The Comfort does not have alloy wheels, climate control etc, but price is actually £12,595 going by Dacia's website. 

Incidentally, I'm not sure if the bi-fuel model is not worth the small £400 extra. Apart from the added range and cheaper fuel prices where available, it does boast an extra 10 horsepower up from 90 to 100PS.  

I also note that Dacia quotes two CO2 figures for the bi-fuel, with a lower figure for LPG. I wonder which figure the EU CO2 fines are based on.