Visually appealing SUV-aping looks provide no real advantage
- Spacious interior
- Large, flexible boot
- Fashionable crossover looks
- Inexpensive to own
- Little benefit over a regular Sandero
- Dearer models offer less value for money
- Safety equipment is off the pace
- Not really an off-roader
Small hatchback running costs married to SUV looks sounds like a streetwise car choice, but does it make sense in the form of the Dacia Sandero Stepway?
Based on the more conventional Sandero hatchback range, Dacia bills the Stepway as the most affordable crossover on sale. That’s maybe stretching the loose definition of what a crossover is close to snapping-point, and it’s a market segment few manufacturers bother with anyway.
Those affordable price tags are designed to tempt motorists out of used cars and into a brand new model, perhaps for the very first time.
Families on tighter budgets will appreciate the practicality, decent fuel economy and rugged appearance, but it inevitably loses some of its good value in the Stepway metamorphosis.
Limited range of engines
If you subscribe to the notion that too much choice is a bad thing, then you’ll likely appreciate that the Sandero Stepway has a choice of just two engines, both of which produce 90hp.
Naturally, these are shared with the regular Sandero hatch, with a straight choice between petrol and diesel.
Suiting most buyers’ demands is the turbocharged TCe 90 petrol, a combination that should easily achieve 45mpg in the real world.
Petrol engines are well matched to shorter, urban-centric journeys, which is why we’d only consider the dCi 90 diesel if you regularly drive long distances and cover a high annual mileage.
Whichever you choose, it will send its power to the front wheels – the Sandero Stepway is no budget 4x4.
Two levels of Sandero Stepway equipment
Two trims are available on the Sandero Stepway, with similar equipment to their namesakes in the regular Sandero line-up.
The entry-level Ambiance specification comes with electric front windows, front fog lights, and roof bars, Bluetooth connectivity, metallic paint, and a multimedia system.
Choose the top-of-the-range Laureate trim and you get everything on the Ambiance version plus air-con, a chrome finish to the front grille, all-round electric windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors, cruise control, rear parking sensors and sat-nav.
Building on the regular Sandero’s impressive practicality, the main change the Stepway benefits from is a 40mm elevation in ride height.
That’s not a huge increase, granted, but it makes it all the eaiser for the Stepway to tackle slightly rougher terrain.
Perhaps of greater benefit is the ease of access afforded by the higher seating position, making it easier to load kids into child seats, as well as aiding the ingress and egress of those less physically mobile.
The Parkers Verdict
We like the Dacia Sandero hatchback, more so in its less expensive forms, so the Stepway version has to work hard to justify its higher prices.
Yes, it’s definitely easier to get people and their belongings in and out of, and its styling is on-song with current trends for lapping up anything SUV-like, but that’s about it. There’s little extra of value for the considerable extra cost.
But, if you feel the Dacia Sandero Stepway is the small car for you, then once again pick Ambiance trim and the petrol-sipping TCe 90 petrol engine for the best value model in the line-up.
Read our full Dacia Sandero Stepway review to discover what else appeals and detracts about this pseudo-crossover.