Dacia Sandero Stepway Review
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a small, cheap car with SUV-like styling and a raised driving position. Here’s all you need to know about it
Strengths & weaknesses
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a small hatchback car that’s designed to look like an SUV. It’s closely related to the normal Dacia Sandero (which we’ve reviewed separately), but thanks to some additions to the body and slightly raised suspension, it has a look that should appeal more to fans of off-roaders.
You’ll pay a little more for this look, which means that the Sandero Stepway is not quite as good value as its sibling, but the Stepway is still among the cheapest new cars on sale today. It’s not just cheap, though, as it’s well-equipped and well worth considering, as you get so much car for your money.
You could consider the Sandero Stepway as a rival for small SUVs such as the Citroen C3 Aircross and the MG ZS, though it’s perhaps more closely aligned with the Ford Fiesta Active, which follows a similar design pattern; it’s almost the same as the normal supermini version, but has raised suspension and a more SUV-like look. Neither the Stepway nor the Fiesta offer any off-road ability, but they do present a tougher look and higher driving position.
All Sandero Stepway models are petrol-powered, although there is a Bi-Fuel option that adds compatibility for LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), a type of fuel that’s cheaper to buy than petrol but isn’t sold everywhere. There are manual and automatic versions, though the auto models are only available as high-spec cars, so they cost a chunk more.
The Stepway is a bit more expensive than the normal Sandero even though it has a lot of the same equipment and the engines are identical. There is an extra trim level on the Stepway called Prestige, though, so if you want to spend more here to make your Stepway look more upmarket then you can - but that’s not why you would choose one.
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is all about value for money - and you can find out more about this in our full buying guide below. Read on for everything you need to know about it and to decide whether the Sandero Stepway is right for you.
Should I get a Dacia Sandero Stepway?
✔ Well equipped and excellent value
✔ Comfortable to drive and easy to live with
✔ Practical interior and big boot
✘ Interior isn’t as pleasant as in some used rivals
✘ Limited engine range available
✘ Normal Sandero model is better value
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is great value and if you want the peace of mind that you get with a new car but at the price of a used car, it’s a top choice. It’s not quite as good value as the normal Sandero, but if you love the jacked-up styling then you may think the premium is worth it.
A used Ford Fiesta Active is a better car in most ways, but the Dacia is a really practical car and it’s almost as comfortable as the Ford to drive. There’s lots of standard kit on the higher-spec models - though we'd recommend that you avoid low-spec versions, as they are quite sparse - and the engines are economical and quiet.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best Sandero Stepway for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Dacia Sandero Stepway
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a small car with four passenger doors and a hatchback boot. It’s closely related to the Dacia Sandero (below), and there are many similarities. The engine range is identical, for example, and most of the equipment you get is also the same.
However, the Stepway has raised-up suspension, roof rails and some plastic body cladding that gives it a more rugged, SUV-like look. The changes are mostly cosmetic, and while the higher suspension means it’s a tiny bit more comfortable, it’s very similar to the normal Sandero to drive.
The Dacia Sandero is a supermini, which means it’s about the same size as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. It costs much less than those cars to buy when new, however, and in fact the Dacia is available at around the same price as a tiny city car such as the Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto.
For the money, it’s very practical and really well equipped, just like the Stepway. It’s cheaper than the SUV-like Stepway and so we reckon it’s a bit better value, as a result. You can read more about it in our Dacia Sandero full review here.
|Essential||From £7,995: Essential trim is the entry-level model and comes with 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, a split-folding rear bench, cruise control, air-conditioning, central locking and a media system on the dash including a digital radio and Bluetooth.|
|Comfort||From £8,750: The mid-spec model is called Comfort and it comes with fog lights, keyless entry, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and a media system with sat-nav, smartphone connectivity and an upgraded stereo.|
|Prestige||From £12,995: The top-spec Prestige model gets an electric parking brake, blind-spot warning, front and rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.|
There aren’t that many engines to choose from, and even the ones that are available are all small petrol motors. The turbocharged TCe 90 model is the best of the lot, because this turbocharged unit is punchy and brings good performance but without high running costs. It’s also available with a choice of manual or automatic gearbox.
As it suggests in the name, the TCe 90 has 90hp. The automatic model is a bit slower, but it’s easier to drive so might be worth considering if you spend lots of time in traffic on your daily commute.
You could also consider the ‘Bi-Fuel’ LPG model, but this option isn’t for everyone. Not all fuel stations sell the LPG fuel it runs on, so you’ll have to plan ahead to make sure you can get the best out of it. It can run on petrol too, but there’s no point in buying this model if you’re not going to make the most of the savings of being able to use cheaper LPG fuel.
The Sandero Stepway range isn’t the most varied, as all the engines are powered by petrol, but there are manual and automatic versions available and a trim range of three versions. The best one for you will be the model that combines the kit you want with the price you’re happy to pay, since all versions have the same body size and shape.
All models are just as practical as each other, so no matter which version you choose you’ll get a roomy and easy-to-live-with model. The TCe 90 Comfort offers a good blend of value and features, so it is likely to work well for many types of driver.
|Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90 Comfort: The Comfort trim level has the best balance of equipment and price, so unless you really want blind spot assist or alloy wheels there’s no need to move up to the Prestige model. The TCe 90 version is the best engine, too.|
|Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90 Comfort Auto: For taking the kids to school or dealing with busy urban roads, you might want the automatic version - it’s easier to drive in heavy traffic than the manual. It’s slower and more expensive than the manual but may be worth it.|
|Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 100 Bi-Fuel Comfort: The LPG-equipped model is actually the most powerful version, and can go from 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds. That’s still rather slow, though, so avoid the Sandero Stepway entirely if performance is a priority for you.|
|Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90 Essential: The lowest trim level is one to avoid unless the only thing you care about is cost. It’s only a little more for a Comfort model, which is much better-equipped, so that is much more appealing.|
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The Dacia Sandero Stepway costs around the same price as city cars such as the Fiat 500, Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10. However, it’s far more practical than these models and is styled to look like an SUV, though it’s based on a supermini and there are no four-wheel-drive versions at all.
This means it’s more of a rival for cars such as the MG ZS or Citroen C3 Aircross, which are cheaper small SUVs aimed at people with a tight budget but who still want a new or nearly new car, with some of the looks of an off-roader.
If you’re willing to consider a used car, then the rivals are much more diverse - you could choose something like a Nissan Juke or Peugeot 2008, though we reckon the car’s closest rival is the Ford Fiesta Active, which like the Dacia is based on a normal supermini (the Fiesta) but has raised suspension and SUV styling.
Dacia Sandero Stepway practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is about 4.1m long, 1.8m wide and 1.6m tall (roof bars included). You can read more about its size in our dimensions article linked to below, where we dig deeper into the proportions of this model as well as the normal Sandero.
The Sandero Stepway is one of the most practical cars at its price point as a new car. It’s not as roomy as some of the used SUV options you can buy if you don’t mind a much older car, but it’s still impressively spacious for both passengers and luggage inside and access to the rear seats is good, too.
|Length 4,099mm||Width 1,848mm|
|Height 1,587mm||Weight 1,077kg - 1,176kg|
The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a 328-litre boot, which is identical to the normal Dacia Sandero. The boot expands to 1,108 litres with the rear seats folded down, which means both of these models are more spacious than the Ford Fiesta.
The boot shape is great - the opening is nice and wide, plus the square shape means that it’s good for carrying bulky items like boxes. There’s certainly more than enough room for a weekly shop for a big family in the boot.
|Seats up 328 litres||Seats down 1,108 litres|
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is based on a set of parts from older Renault models including the Clio, so there should be a good supply of parts. The engines are shared with plenty of other models too, and there haven’t been any major faults reported for recall - but the Sandero Stepway is still a fairly new car, so only time will tell.
However, in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, Dacia owners placed the brand in 27th place in the manufacturer section of the poll. Since only 29 car makers appeared on the list, this was a very poor result and shows that the ownership experience may not be ideal. Remember the very low cost of Dacia models, however, and perhaps this simply reflects some of the compromises needed to make such inexpensive cars.
The Dacia Sandero Stepway’s warranty covers it for three years or 60,000 miles. This is as standard as it gets - virtually all new cars come with the same kind of warranty - or more. A Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10 would have a far longer period of manufacturer cover, though, with Kia offering seven years' protection and Hyundai covering the car for five years.
Due to the Sandero Stepway's low prices, though, many owners will compare this to a used car. For example, a Ford Fiesta Active costing around the same as a Sandero Stepway might only have one or (at most) two years left on the warranty it received from the factory.
|3 years||60,000 miles|
The Dacia Sandero Stepway is really practical and well-equipped for the money, so it’s a great choice for someone who wants an affordable and cheap-to-run small SUV. It makes the most sense for drivers who want a new or nearly new car for the price of a used one.
It’s not as good to drive as the Ford Fiesta or many of its used car rivals, but the Sandero Stepway is easy to drive, has plenty of modern tech and there’s lots of room inside for passengers and luggage when compared to similarly-priced models.
The entry-level trim level is a bit sparse, and the lowest-powered engine is quite slow, but you only have to pay a little more to move up through the range and if you do, the Sandero Stepway is fantastic value - though the normal Sandero offers all of this at a slightly lower price. So, only choose the Stepway if the looks and raised ride height really appeal to you and you're happy to pay a premium to get them.
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Our pick for the best all-rounder in the range is the TCe 90 engine in Comfort trim. Tech includes autonomous emergency braking, a reversing camera and keyless entry, while the engine is punchy and economical. It doesn't cost too much more than the Essential model, either.
There’s also an automatic version of this car, which could be good for those who spend a lot of time in traffic or only have an automatic-only driving licence. This version is a bit slower and less economical than the manual, plus it costs more.
If your local fuel station stocks LPG, then the Bi-Fuel TCe 100 model is another option. Like all the other models here we think the best-value option is Comfort trim, and if you want the performance of the turbocharged engine with lower running costs then it’s an interesting alternative. Finding the fuel can be a pain, though, so think about LPG availability in the areas where you regularly drive, to decide whether it will work for you.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example||APR rates available|
|Cash price £12,000||APR 7.90%||Value of loan||From|
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12||Annual mileage of 8,000pa||£25,000+||6.9%|
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55||Term 48 months||£12,000-£24,999||7.9%|
|Optional final payment £4,285.79||Loan value £12,000||£8,000-£11,999||8.9%|
|Total amount payable £14,755.55||Deposit £0||<8,000||9.9%|
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.
Want rock-bottom PCP finance or cash prices? The Dacia Sandero is the UK's cheapest new car
After rock bottom cash or finance prices, but want a high driving position and SUV feel? This is your car