You don’t come to this kind of car looking for stellar performance and, perhaps obviously, you don’t find it. Dacia’s tweaking of the same basic triple-cylinder engine is one of the ways it keeps costs down, but even though this is a car with a two-digit power output, we doubt the Stepway will disappoint anyone with the way it goes down the road.
Let’s deal with the bald stats first: in a straight line, from a standing start the Stepway wants 11.9sec to reach 60mph from rest, marginally slower than most 1.0-litre rivals but they don’t have the Stepway’s tallness, and it’s not like this translates to the Dacia feeling particularly lacklustre in daily driving. It’s really no bother to keep up with traffic, and if you do want to make more brisk progress, you don’t have to work fiendishly hard to find it. Peak torque of 118lb ft arrives from as little as 2100rpm thanks to the turbocharger, and hangs around until 3750rpm.
Choosing to hold onto revs for longer and working the engine and gears harder instead, if you really need to make progress on a motorway acceleration lane, is no great trouble. The gearshift, relatively long of throw and light as it is, is positive, and the engine is very smooth and unobtrusive.
There’s nothing wrong with the way it physically stops, either. Slam on the anchors from 60mph and within three seconds you’ll be at rest. When we repeated a stop from 70mph twice in a row, we elicited a warm smell from the pads, which wouldn’t be a issue in daily driving, and while the Sandero doesn’t have a particularly high towing limit anyway (540kg unbraked, 980kg braked), it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re about to make a long descent with something on the back in hot weather.