Dacia Sandero

Stepway - Used Car

Review

Dacia Sandero Stepway, front static
Dacia Sandero Stepway, front action
Dacia Sandero Stepway, side action
Dacia Sandero Stepway, rear action
Dacia Sandero Stepway, dashboard
Dacia Sandero Stepway, rear seats
Dacia Sandero Stepway, boot

SMALLER SUVs are now hugely popular with a myriad of models to choose from and almost every car manufacturer in on the act.

But there is one value leader that stands out from all the others - both new and secondhand - because it's so much cheaper.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is almost invariably £2,000 cheaper than the competition and the spacious interior makes most of them look small.

Like almost all the others, the Stepway is only available front wheel drive, but 40cm of raised ride height over the standard Sandero plus traction control make it more than capable on grassy slopes or rough stone roads should the need arise.

And that ride height helps on the road too, making it easy to get in and out for those less nimble than they used to be, and shrugging off speed humps, potholes and poor surfaces like water off a duck's back.

For this appraisal, I'll cover the model made until 2021 when the latest incarnation arrived.

The Stepway certainly has that off-road look on the outside, with big plastic wheel arch extensions, roof rails, front and rear skid plates and chunky alloy wheel options.

But be warned, the skid plates are cosmetic only and just for show.

The engine choice comprises four petrols and one diesel, all from parent company Renault, and all are very economical.

The lowest powered model is the 1.0-litre SCe with 75bhp. This takes more than 16 seconds to accelerate to 60 and is best suited for local journeys. It's capable of 50mpg.

Then there is a 1.0 TCe turbo with 90bhp. This reaches the benchmark in 10.7 seconds and is capable of 55mpg. It's the quickest in the range.

Next comes a 1.0 TCe with 100bhp, but although it has slightly better economy than the 90, it's slower, taking 11.7 seconds to get to 60.

There is also another 100bhp model that can run on either petrol or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG). It's good for 45mpg, and of course, gas is much cheaper.

Finally there is a single diesel option - the 1.5 BlueDCi turbo used in many Renault models. In this guise it comes with 95bhp and is capable of an excellent 74mpg while reaching 60 in 11.2 seconds.

I've driven both the diesel and the 90bhp petrol and both are smooth and willing. My favourite is the 90, because it's so responsive on the move, with quite enough urge for swift overtaking, even if that does mean pressing it higher up the rev range.

The high stance does mean there's some roll in the corners, and flat, unsupportive seats don't help, but in fact it holds the road really well, with excellent grip even though the tyres are pretty narrow and high profile.

Just shows you that low profile tyres might look good, but the extra expense costs in comfort and rarely improves roadholding to any noticeable extent in family cars.

There's plenty of space for four six footers inside and also plenty of room in the boot for all their stuff. For the price of an older supermini, you get a real family car.

All are five doors, and Ambiance spec brings front and side airbags, small touch screen for CD and infotainment with a remote control, front electric windows, remote locking, child seat anchorages and roof rails.

Pay about £7,400 for a '19 19-reg Ambiance TCe 90, or £9,950 for a '21 21-reg Essential BlueDCi diesel.

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