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[NEWS] Dacia Sandero Stepway

Dacia Sandero Stepway

dacia sandero stepway road test review 2023 01 tracking front
It might be the biggest bargain on the new car market, but is it a car worth having?

For a great many buyers in general, and for Romanian budget car brand Dacia in particular, one Sandero supermini just isn't enough. Having risen meteoricially to second place among Europe's biggest-selling new cars, the third-generation Sandero has become the closest thing to a sales phenomenon that the European market has seen in recent years (among cars volume-selling cars fitted with combustion engines, at least); and this - the Dacia Sandero Stepway - is the regular hatchback's alter-ego-in-walking-boots.The Stepway is exactly what it would seem to be: a Sandero with raised suspension, a marginally more convenient access position, and pumped-up bumpers that you're that little bit less likely to snag on kerbstones when parking. It was introduced in the UK in 2021, and in 2022 was given Dacia's new brand logo on the grille.Dacia touched down on UK shores for the first time in 2013 with the second-generation Dacia Sandero, when the Romanian supermini immediately staked its claim to the title of ‘cheapest new car in Britain’. Prices for the bog-standard Access model started at £5995, for which you would get a car that had four wheels, an engine and not much else. Such was the absence of standard equipment that even the most conservatively minded Spartan would have felt right at home behind the wheel.Of course, despite the headline-grabbing price, not many people actually opted for the Austerity Special. Higher-spec variants offered a bit more in the way of creature comforts (namely air conditioning and a stereo) but still came with an intriguingly low sticker price. The formula proved to be a hit, and with a range bolstered by similarly cut-price offerings in the form of the Dacia Duster SUV and Dacia Logan MCV, Dacia sold its 100,000th UK car just three years after it first set up shop.Fast forward to 2021, and the Renault-owned brand has sold 108,000 Sanderos in Britain alone. It’s the Romanian firm’s bread-and-butter model, was a big contributor to its ability to shift more than 500,000 cars annually in Europe before the pandemic, and has helped it grow at a staggering rate since; so that, in market share terms at least, Dacia is a bigger player in the UK market in 2023 than Renault itself was ten years earlier.Now, the Sandero is back for a third generation. It may still be the cheapest new car on sale in Britain (prices now start at £7995) but, as we’ll go on to explore, this time around Dacia has made even more of an effort when it comes to bolstering equipment, and outright desirability, while trying to keep costs to the customer at levels that would see them mulling over it instead of a used car. That’s a tricky tightrope to walk. Let’s see how it gets on.The Dacia Sandero line-up at a glanceThe Sandero and slightly taller Dacia Sandero Stepway line-ups are all based around the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which is available in a range of power outputs and with a series of transmissions.The turbocharged TCe 90 and TCe 100 Bi-Fuel motors are available on both variants, but only the 90 unit can be paired with a CVT. Otherwise, both get six-speed manuals.The trim walk is straightforward: the Sandero comes in Access, Essential and Comfort; the Stepway is available in Essential, Comfort and Prestige.

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