THE Dacia Sandero range has always been seen as great value for money and the entry-level Sandero is still the cheapest new car you can buy in the UK.
The new Sandero range arrived back in April and although it has moved upmarket it is still priced from £7,995 or from £11,495 in the SUV-styled Stepway form I have been sampling which still means you can have a new car for the price of many second-hand models.
Dacia enjoys a reputation for producing budget-priced cars that are well-equipped and excellent value and the latest Stepway builds on that.
The smart-looking five-door SUV-styled hatchback is a more muscular version of the award-winning hatchback and it looks good thanks to its increased ride height and new styling.
Powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine delivering 90hp mated to a six-speed CVT gearbox my car had a top speed of 101 and took 14.2 seconds to reach 62mph. It did feel lively and willing at all times and quicker than the stats suggest and it is also economical with a WLTP combined figure of 45.6mpg.
Being part of the Renault group it is tried and tested and shares lots of parts from its parent company's products including some from the award-winning new Clio.
Finished in optional striking Desert Orange paint the Stepway has lots of design features like LED light signatures, black plastic cladding on the wheel arches, roof rails, front fog lights, body-coloured bumpers and mirrors, heated and electrically-adjusted door mirrors and smart 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside the interior is bright and modern with upholstery on the dashboard and doors, titanium black seat fabric, along with orange contrast trim on the air vents, seats and doors and there is room for four adults to travel in comfort.
My car featured a navigation system, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, an eight-inch display screen, six-speaker audio, DAB radio and air conditioning and lots more.
It may not be the fastest kid on the block but the Stepway offers smooth acceleration and enough power to overtake slower traffic. It cruises comfortably at motorway speeds but it can get noisy if you push it too hard.
It is fairly agile with decent grip and little body lean and there is good all-round visibility for driving in town. The steering is well weighted and an Eco mode lets you save fuel.
The controls and switches are well placed and the dials are clear and easy to read.
The Stepway is very practical with a 328 litre boot increasing to 1,108 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats folded. More storage spaces are available in the cabin and cupholders serve the front seats.
Another plus is that you can opt for a spare wheel for £250 to give you peace of mind on long trips.
The Stepway has a decent amount of safety equipment including anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist, active emergency braking, an emergency call button, tyre pressure monitoring, hill start assist, Isofix points for the rear outer seats and a full set of airbags.
It does not offer some of the more technical safety equipment but that does help to keep the price down.