Dacia Sandero

Stepway Laureate dCi

90

Dacia Sandero Stepway, front
Dacia Sandero Stepway, side, action
Dacia Sandero Stepway, loading
Dacia Sandero Stepway, side
Dacia Sandero Stepway, boot

IT launched itself into the UK as the ‘shockingly affordable' brand three years ago and, luckily for Dacia - pronounced ‘Datch-ya' - us Brits have taken it to heart.

We put our fears about its cheapness and Eastern Europe pedigree to one side, gave it a chance and it's gone from strength to strength. Since January 2013 more than 73,000 Dacia models have been snapped up in the UK.

That faith has certainly been rewarded by the increasingly classy performance of the brand. Earlier this year, it was voted number two in the Driver Power Dealer Aftersales Satisfaction survey - 11 places above itsranking in 2015.

That complemented Dacia's ranking in Driver Power's earlier vehicle ownership survey, where it finished in fourth overall, out of 31 marques. Dacia was also ranked fourth out of 34 brands for customer satisfaction in the 2016 Which? Car survey. Such results should make others blush.

Priced from £8,495, the Sandero Stepway is simply the UK's most affordable crossover. It rides 40mm higher than its hatchback sibling and features a chunkier, more robust look with pumped up wheelarches housing 16-inch alloy-look wheels, skidplates front and back, and contrasting satin chrome roof bars.

Under the skin there's also a beefy suspension system designed to soak up the bumps and knocks of Britain's roads.

It comes with a choice of two engines - a TCe 90 three-cylinder turbo petrol and the frugal 1.5-litre dCi 90 four-cylinder turbodiesel driven here. Both are connected to a five-speed manual transmission.

The 89bhp diesel is Renault's best-selling powerplant, wonderfully economic to run with a combined fuel economy of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions a tax-friendly 115g/km. It's no speedster but it packs plenty of mid-range punch, which makes it delightfully easy to drive.

Yes, there is a little body roll in the corners but, if its urban and major roads you're going to be spending most of the time on, the Stepway is quite a catch. The aforementioned torque and comfy suspension, also makes a good cruiser for longer trips. It's certainly a car you soon warm to.

The Stepway comes in just two trim levels - Ambience and Laureate - and though the price-tag is bargain basement don't be fooled into thinking it means third-class motoring. Think more value for money motoring.

Every model comes with front and side airbags, Isofix child seat anchors, ABS, electronic stability control with traction control and daytime running lights. All also come with a heated rear screen, rear wash-wiper, tinted windows, child locks and a 12v power socket.

The slightly sexier Laureate adds aircon, cruise control, speed limiter, leather trim on the steering wheel and gear knob, a height adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat - very useful if you're a large six-footer like me - a multi-function trip computer and all-round electric windows, rear parking sensors and Dacia's multimedia system. It packs an AM/FM/LW radio, sat nav, USB and Aux connectivity, Bluetooth and steering column-mounted fingertip controls. It's worth the extra £1,600.

Inside, the cabin - roomy enough for five despite the Stepway's footprint - is as flexible as you'd want with 60/40 split folding seats and a relatively spacey 320-litre boot which becomes a cavernous 1,200 litres with the rear seats down.

If you need a little more convincing, the new vehicle warranty is for three years/60,000 miles, with a two-year paintwork warranty and six years' anti-corrosion cover. And, if you suffer a breakdown, a call to Dacia Assistance will bring help. The service, part of the warranty deal, operates all day, every day and is provided in partnership with the RAC.

FAST FACTS

Dacia Sandero Stepway Laureate dCi 90

Price: £10,995

Mechanical: 89bhp, 1,461cc, 4-cyl diesel driving front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 104mph

0-62mph: 11.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group:11

C02 emissions:115g/km

Bik rating:17%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles.

LATEST Dacia NEWS

THERE are two common approaches to building budget priced cars - make lots of...

Read more View article

A DACIA is the first new car of choice for used-buyers who want to move up the...

Read more View article

THE old saying cheap and cheerful isn't often applied to cars these days, but...

Read more View article

LATEST NEWS

Google+