Dacia Sandero Stepway (2013-2021) Review
After rock bottom cash or finance prices, but want a high driving position and SUV feel? This is your car
Strengths & weaknesses
- It's very cheap
- Practical family car
- Limited equipment on base models
- Small choice of small engines
Dacia has made a reputation for itself by selling super-affordable, back-to-basics cars that ditch all the frills you don't need for the lowest possible cash and finance prices.
Outselling the regular Sandero at several points during its lifespan, the Stepway version started at £8,995 at its cheapest: £2,000 more than the standard Sandero.
Part of the explanation is that SUVs are super-popular currently and while the slight rise in ride height doesn't suddenly make the Stepway particularly capable off-road, it does mean you should be able to get down a bumpy access lane to a garage, for instance, without grounding the bottom of the car, as you may do with the standard model.
Furthermore, you get a slightly improved view of the road ahead and getting into the car may be easier for those with limited mobility or anyone loading children into the rear seats, thanks to the slightly taller suspension.
Be aware, however, that while the Sandero scored a sound four stars in Euro NCAP crash testing, this was back in 2013 and the test is now far more stringent. This means that family cars scoring four stars more recently are likely to be notably safer in reality. And that's ignoring five-star cars. So, if you want the safest family car, this isn't it, though you'll probably need to pay more for a new car or get a used car to get something safer for the money.
Best Dacia Sandero Stepway for...
Best for Economy – Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 100 Bi-Fuel
If saving money on fuel is a big motivator for you, for could take a slightly left-field approach and opt for this 1.0-litre LPG engine. It works by making use of two fuel tanks, one for standard petrol and one for super efficient and eco-friendly LPG and allows you to travel further on a single (double) tank and should usher in substantial savings.
Best for Families – Dacia Sandero Stepway Comfort
For an extra £1,000 you can avoid the tech-vacuum that is Essential trim and instead go for something with at least a hint of the 21st century about it. For a start you get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, there's also more safety equipment on board and the option of a central armrest.
One to Avoid – Dacia Sandero Stepway SCe 75
It's the cheapest, and while that may be the deciding factor for some, an extra £700 is all it takes to be rid of this rather horrible lump. It's painfully underpowered which makes acceleration a real chore. It's less economical than the TCe 90 as well, so unless that extra cash is simply too hard to come by give this one a wide birth.
Understanding Dacia Sandero Stepway names
Engine TCe 90
There is a limited choice of engines for the Sandero Stepway. The least powerful is the SCe 75 - the number notes the amount of horsepower - this is a 1.0-litre petrol engine. Next up is the 0.9-litre TCe 90, which is by far the best engine option. There's also an alternative LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) option, badged TCe 100 Bi-Fuel which should save some money in terms of running costs, but is a little bit left field.
The Sandero Stepway is currently available in three standard trims, the base level Essential, the slightly more exciting Comfort, and the SE Twenty, which adds very little extra other than the rear-view parking camera becoming a standard feature.
Dacia Sandero Stepway Engines
SCe 75, TCe 90, TCe 100
First up is the SCe 75, a 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 75 horsepower that takes 16.7 seconds to get from 0-62mph. It's the cheapest option that's only available with the base Essential model, so if price is your main parameter, this will be the best option for you. Considering this lack of power, un-impressive CO2 emissions of 137g/km and 45.7mpg mean it's a pretty meagre offering.
If you want the best engine under the bonnet of your Sandero Stepway, the 0.9-litre TCe 90 taken straight out of a Renault Clio is a no-brainer. It's the most powerful, making this car actually feel a little more exciting to drive, but it doesn't sacrifice a great deal in terms of efficiency. Accelerating from 0-62mph takes 11.1 seconds, while WLTP fuel economy figures sit at 44.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 141g/km.
The final curve ball in this engine range is the inclusion of the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) TCe 100 Bi-Fuel. This engine comes with two fuel tanks, one for standard unleaded, and a second for the low cost LPG. The idea is that the engine can run off either fuel, a feature that essentially works to reduce CO2 emissions and optimise fuel consumption. It does make for cheaper running costs, but it is something of an alternative choice that may or may not be of interest to you. Performance figures are yet to confirmed by Dacia either, so it's something of an unknown quantity.
Dacia Sandero Stepway Trims
Essential, Comfort, SE Twenty
Dacia decided to skip the Access trim that's available with the standard Sandero hatchback and instead opted to open Stepway proceedings with Essential spec instead. You get some basic comforts, inclding a height adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat, air-conditioning and DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity and AUX/USB inputs. But that's the extent of it, with everything else being placed into the 'essential' braket in terms of safety tech and... four wheels.
A small step up from there and you reach Comfort trim. For your extra cash you get some chrome interior trim and a leather gear knob, cruise control, rear parking sensors, and elecrtric and heated door mirrors. You also get a seven-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and built-in sat-nav.
At the top of this, admittedly rather short tree, we have SE Twenty. These models add a splash of colour and syle, with 16-inch 'alloy-look' wheels and some SE Twenty badges splashed around the interior and exterior. You also get a reversing camera as standard.
Want rock-bottom PCP finance or cash prices? The Dacia Sandero is the UK's cheapest new car
The Dacia Sandero is one of the cheapest cars in Britain, and is great value as a result - whether as a new or used purchase