New Dacia Sandero Stepway 2017 facelift review

The facelifted Dacia Sandero Stepway offers space, comfort and low prices, but how does it drive?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The Sandero Stepway retains its place as the classier entry in the Sandero range, thanks to its crossover-inspired looks, comfortable ride and respectable levels of kit. It’s still not great to drive, but the £8,995 starting price still makes it an enticing option. Unfortunately, for many prospective buyers, the PCP monthly repayments take a bit of shine off the perceived value.

Dacia’s Stepway range is one of the budget brand’s biggest success stories. Around 60 per cent of Sandero sales are accounted for by the more rugged, taller version of the firm’s supermini – and now, in line with facelifts across the entire Dacia line-up, it’s had a bit of a revamp.

Cheapest cars 2017

The styling changes include revised headlights and tail-lights, a new front grille and a different front bumper. Inside the cabin, smarter materials, chrome-effect trim and a new steering wheel freshen things up.

The Stepway has a slightly raised ride height over the Sandero, along with black plastic cladding, faux-aluminium skid plates, and roof rails. Under the skin, it’s still a front-wheel-drive supermini.

The Stepway isn’t available in the Sandero’s entry-level Access trim, so you’ll have to plump for a pricier but better-equipped mid-spec Ambiance car (as driven here) or a range-topping Laureate model.

Ambiance is still pretty basic, but it’s also cheap, starting at £8,995. The manual rear windows and manually adjustable mirrors hint at the car’s budget status, but it does have electric front windows, a DAB radio with Bluetooth, air-con, a leather gearknob, hill start assist and tinted windows. There are also LED daytime running lights.

On the road, the steering is decidedly heavy at low speeds, the gearbox has a notchy shift and when you up the pace there’s plenty of body roll. The jacked-up suspension means that even bigger bumps are soaked up well, though, and the soft seats are pretty comfortable.

The 89bhp 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol engine feels strong enough around town, but it quickly runs out of steam once you venture beyond its comfort zone, so everything is a little more strained on the motorway. You could negate this by going for the fuel-efficient 89bhp diesel model, which has far deeper reserves of torque, but it costs a hefty £1,500 more.

That sub-£9,000 list price means the Sandero Stepway still represents decent value. However, steep 7.9 per cent APR rates on PCP deals mean that you’ll have to cough up a hefty deposit of £2,370 if you want to pay less than £100 per month.

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Renault Arkana 2021 review
Renault Arkana - front
Renault Arkana

New Renault Arkana 2021 review

Does an eye-catching coupe-SUV body give the new Renault Arkana the edge over other mid-size SUVs? We find out...
16 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland

Nissan will offer every school child in the North East of England a place on the Nissan Skills Foundation course to mark 35 years of manufacturing in …
14 Jun 2021
New SsangYong Korando e-Motion breaks cover with electric power
SsangYong Korando EV
Electric cars

New SsangYong Korando e-Motion breaks cover with electric power

The new SsangYong Korando compact electric SUV will be on sale later in 2021, says the financially stricken South Korean manufacturer
15 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring tones down the styling
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring - front
Porsche 911

New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring tones down the styling

The optional Touring package aims to bring a few creature comforts to the track-focused Porsche 911 GT3
15 Jun 2021
SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector
SsangYong J100 electric SUV
SsangYong

SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector

The tough looking electric mid-size SUV is slated for production next year and will be joined by a pick-up model
15 Jun 2021
New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development

The Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype will be assessed for off-road and long-range zero-emission motoring
14 Jun 2021