Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Compared with the regular Dacia Sandero, the Stepway misses out on entry-level Access trim and the cheapest non-turbo engine, making it quite a bit more expensive on the face of it. However, with the regular Sandero we recommend jumping up to Comfort trim and one of the TCe engines anyway, which narrows the price gap significantly.
Even top-spec Prestige trim, not offered on normal Sanderos, is still cheap in the grand scheme of things. A reasonably well-specced Hyundai i10 is more costly and smaller, while the Ford Fiesta Active is even pricier and, you’ve guessed it, smaller to boot. Strong predicted resale values mean that any Sandero Stepway is attractive on PCP finance.
Fuel economy isn’t quite as good as that of the regular Sandero, let alone what you'd get from a hybrid Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris, but the TCe 90 still returns an official figure of more than 50mpg. In our experience, more than 40mpg will be easily achievable in the real world, so you’d have to drive your Yaris an awful lot to recoup the cost difference. And while the official CO2 emissions are nothing to write home about, the low purchase price will lead to company car drivers enjoying low benefit-in-kind tax payments every month.
On paper, the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel isn’t quite so efficient, with higher CO2 emissions and slightly heavier fuel consumption, but running it on cheaper LPG will not only save you money but also reduce your emissions. If there’s a filling station near you with LPG, you could recoup the extra initial outlay surprisingly quickly.
Essential trim gives you just that, with wheel trims, electric front windows, cruise control and remote central locking, along with the basic infotainment system we mentioned earlier. However, if you can, we'd recommend going for Comfort trim. It's still astonishing value but comes with a deep pool of extra kit, including electric rear windows, rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry. That's on top of the extra infotainment goodies and visibility aids we mentioned earlier. Prestige adds even more parking aids, along with alloy wheels, climate control and an electric parking brake.
Dacia didn’t do brilliantly in the What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing mid-table in joint 14th place (out of 31 brands). Still, that was above Citroën, Ford, Seat and Volkswagen and a lot higher than MG and Vauxhall. Every new Sandero comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is par for the course in this class. Hyundai, Kia and Renault all provide longer warranties as standard.
In terms of safety, the Sandero Stepway only received a disappointing two-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. However, it’s worth noting that it was assessed under the latest, much tougher test requirements. If you dive into the detail of the results, you’ll find that it outperforms the Hyundai i10 (the closest rival to be tested under the new regulations) when it comes to protecting adult occupants in a frontal collision.
Nevertheless, more expensive rivals such as the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris are quite simply in another league when it comes to overall safety, with both cars awarded a full five stars by Euro NCAP. Those cars also get far more sophisticated active safety systems as standard, including lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control, allowing them to tot up points in the crucial Safety Assist section of the NCAP test.
In comparison the Dacia Sandero Stepway has to make do with automatic emergency braking (AEB), tyre pressure monitoring, six airbags, Isofix child seat mounts and e-Call emergency assistance. It's worth noting that if you go for entry-level Access trim, you'll get only two rear head restraints, while Prestige adds blindspot monitoring.
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