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Sandero is best yet from Dacia

 
Created on 05/05/2015 @ 08:11
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The motor industry is starting to take serious notice of the Dacia brand and the Sandero Stepway is one of the reasons.


Like many motoring writers I had my doubts about the longevity of the cheap and cheerful brand backed by Renault. But Dacia has given the Sandero an overhaul which opens doors to buyers wanting to take a step into the SUV market.

And that step comes at a price which is well within most buyers’ range. You certainly don’t need deep pockets with the Sandero Stepway Laureate dCi 90 on test hitting the road at only £10,995. Extras pushed the price up to £11,675 though the base model is only £8,300.

The Stepway is a great-value alternative thanks to SUV looks that are achieved by a raised suspension and good looking body cladding.

The Romanian manufacturer has really upped the game with even the entry-level Ambiance model getting electric front windows, chrome interior detailing, MP3 connectivity, stability control, ABS and a gear-shift indicator.

The top-spec Laureate benefits from big-car technology such as a touch-screen multimedia system, air conditioning, cruise control with speed limiter and sat-nav.

The model also comes with three rear head rests, height adjustable driver’s seat and steering reach, automatic door locking, ECO mode, a boot light, all-round electric windows, heated door mirrors, and a Medfia Nav touch-screen multi-media system.

There’s a new chrome grille, front fog lights, graphite door handles, leather steering wheel and gear knob, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a seven-function computer giving average fuel consumption and speed along within information on your next service timing.

Options on this model also included leather upholstery, metallic paint, a spare wheel, European mapping upgrade and an extended five year warranty.

There was a touring pack of front armrest, boot luggage net, roof bars and front and rear mats.

Running costs will really attract interest, Dacia claim fuel figures of 70.6mpg from the 1.5litre model on the combined cycle and I managed to achieve close to that over a week’s driving – in fact I was beginning to wonder if the gauge was stuck.

CO2 emissions are only 105g/km on the model tested and with a top speed of 104mph and 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds this Dacia is no slouch.

The Stepway is the most comfortable Dacia I have driven with no complaints from passengers about the usual hard seats or space, though it’s a tight fit for three in the back. 

Boot space is impressive and easily passed the golf club test. Fold the seats down and Dacia fits the Sandero Stepway with a choice of two engines. On both the Ambiance and Laureate models buyers can choose from a 0.9-litre turbocharged TCe petrol engine, or a 1.5-litre diesel unit, both sourced from parent company Renault.

The Sandero is not the best drive in class though. The steering is heavy at low speed and doesn’t offer too much response when cornering at speed either.

Dacia still offers you the cheapest way to get behind the wheel of a new car but there will still be the worry of residual values for prospective buyers to consider.

The Sandero Stepway is a crossover at supermini prices and with its raised height is probably the company’s best looker.

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