New Dacia Sandero Stepway Bi-Fuel 2021 review

At just under £11k, the new Dacia Sandero Stepway is one of the best value-for-money cars on the market

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Verdict

This is another hugely impressive Dacia. It does a brilliant job of disguising its budget car status and will have you checking the price list in disbelief. It now adds a fair dose of style and up-to-date tech to the original no frills formula, and is easy to live with. We’re not sure we’d bother with LPG, but any other Sandero Stepway would make a brilliant buy.

What’s your definition of great value? Here’s ours: a nicely built, spacious supermini that’s comfortable, easy to live with, comes with all the kit you really need and even gets some SUV styling to make it a striking looking car – all for £10,995.

Meet the new Dacia Sandero Stepway, which starts at precisely that price, while the most you can possibly pay for the top-spec one you see here is £14,355 (including metallic paint) – that’s still a steal when compared with other superminis that offer much less for more money.

This is our first experience of the second-generation Sandero Stepway. The standard car, without the raised ride height, roof rails and body cladding impressed us on our first drive and this has done exactly the same.

Styling-wise, Dacia has done a great job of updating the Sandero with smart Y-shaped LED daytime running lights at the front, beefier body panels over the wheels and a neater treatment at the back, too. It no longer looks like a budget model, even though prices have remained resolutely low.

Stepway gives you a slightly raised driving position, thanks to a 39mm increase in ride height, plus black cladding around the wheel arches and a clever, modular roof rail system. The old, slightly tacky Stepway graphics have moved from the side of the car onto the roof rails, while on our top-spec Prestige car you even get fancy alloy wheels. Don’t expect any 4x4 trickery, though – this is strictly a faux 4x4.

Inside, things have moved upmarket, too, with stylish soft-touch material used across the dash and where you put your elbows on the doors. The rest is tough plastic, but it looks okay, while there’s even an eight-inch touchscreen on some models and a clever smartphone holder on all of them.

We love how Dacia has even thought of the obvious – putting a USB socket right next to the phone holder so you don’t have to have wires trailing around the cabin.

There’s decent space inside, too – we had a couple of adults sitting very happily in the back and both remarked on how comfortable the seats were. It’s the same up front where the driving position is good and visibility is decent, while the 328-litre boot is a reasonable size, but with quite a high lip.

This model has an added twist, too. As the Bi-Fuel tag in the name suggests, it will run on petrol or LPG – Liquid Petroleum Gas, remember that? Dacia is having another bash at getting UK customers interested in LPG and it really couldn’t be easier – assuming you can find one of the 1,200 locations that will sell you LPG.

The TCe 100 engine will switch from petrol to LPG and back at the touch of a button and you’ll not spot the switch. You will notice that LPG costs roughly half that of petrol, though, and the LPG tank that sits where a spare wheel might be.

Otherwise, the Stepway drives nicely and with a claimed average of 48.7mpg it’s reasonably efficient. It’s not especially swift, though, in spite of the 99bhp from the three-cylinder engine, nor is it the sort of car you’d enjoy a spirited drive in.

No, this car is entirely fit for purpose, as long as that purpose is ferrying you and your family comfortably around urban streets and on occasional longer journeys. The ride is supple for the most part, while other evidence of cost cutting is in the amount of road and engine noise you’ll hear, which you wouldn’t notice in a Renault Clio, with which the Dacia shares its platform, engine and other bits – it’s a Groupe Renault family affair.

Model: Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 100 Bi-Fuel
Price: £13,795
Engine: 1.0-litre four cylinder
Power/torque: 99bhp/170Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Top speed: 109mph
Economy: 48.7mpg
CO2: 130 g/km
On sale: Now
Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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