Dacia Sandero Stepway (2013 – 2020) Review

Dacia Sandero Stepway (2013 – 2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
If you don’t fancy something like a Nissan Juke or Renault Captur but your budget won’t stretch beyond the price of a new city car, the Sandero Stepway should be on your shortlist.

+Space and practicality of a small hatchback for the price of a tiny city car, low prices and cheap PCP deals make this one of the most affordable cars.

-No air conditioning on Ambiance model, the standard Sandero does pretty much the same thing for a lower price, interior lacks quality.

Insurance Groups are between 7–11
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is the slightly more upmarket version of Britain’s cheapest car. Upmarket in the sense that it comes with more features as standard, plus a raised ride height and beefier styling over the standard Dacia Sandero. It pitches the supermini against compact crossovers such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, along with jacked-up small cars like the Suzuki Ignis and Fiat Panda City Cross. Standard kit includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a DAB digital radio, air-conditioning, remote central locking and electric front windows. Not exactly lavish, but if you’re after more equipment, you can upgrade from Essential to Comfort or SE Twenty trim.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a car without rivals. Too big to be a city car, too small to be a family hatchback, and not boxy enough to be a compact SUV. Does this make it a bit of an oddball? Maybe, but there’s a reason why this is Dacia’s best-selling car in the UK.

As the name suggests, the Stepway is based on the standard Dacia Sandero. The raised ride height, body cladding, chunkier tyres and roof rails give it to the look of a small SUV without the running costs you’d associate with a 4x4. Let’s face it, few people actually venture off-road, so the Sandero Stepway is no less relevant than the raft of SUV tribute acts on sale today.

Its chief competitor is the regular Dacia Sandero. Place the cheapest Sandero alongside the most expensive Sandero Stepway and you’ll see a price of difference of around £5,000. Not quite the bargain you may have seen in the adverts, but even the top-spec Sandero Stepway is comfortably cheaper than an entry-level Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa.

So what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. If you’re not fussed about a premium badge, soft-touch materials and the latest technology, the Dacia Sandero Stepway makes a great deal of sense. Whether you’re paying cash or financing your car via a PCP deal, few cars are as affordable as the Sandero Stepway. Just don’t expect a discount from your local Dacia dealer.

There are three trim levels on offer in 2020: Essential, Comfort and SE Twenty. Because there’s no Access model – Dacia’s headline-grabbing basic trim – all versions come with a reasonable amount of standard equipment.

This includes 16-inch alloy wheels, black wheelarch extensions, raised ride height, roof rails, tinted windows, two Isofix points, DAB digital radio, air-conditioning and Bluetooth.

The Comfort trim offers the best value for money. This mid-range model features a seven-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, steering column-mounted audio controls, rear parking sensors, cruise control and a leather gear knob. The flagship SE Twenty trim boasts a suite of cosmetic upgrades, electric rear windows and a rear parking camera.

As for engines, you can select from a lethargic SCe 75 1.0-litre petrol engine, a punchy and efficient TCe 90 turbocharged petrol unit, or a TCe 100 Bi-Fuel. New for 2020, the Bi-Fuel pairs a petrol engine with an LPG conversion to deliver lower running costs and a combined range of around 600 miles.

There’s no denying that the Dacia Sandero Stepway is showing its age. Launched in 2013, the car lacks the latest safety and connectivity technology we take for granted in 2020. Having said that, a facelift in 2017 keeps things current and there’s no denying this is an incredibly cheap car to buy and run.

Ask Honest John

Is the tailgate not opening an MoT failure?

"I have damaged the tailgate on my Dacia Sandero stepway when taking off a bike carrier ahead of its MoT tomorrow. The hinges seem strained so it wont fully easily open. Is this an MoT failure and should I tell them in advance?"
A boot that fails to open is not necessarily an MoT failure, but the tester may refuse to test the vehicle if they are unable to access certain areas of the vehicle.
Answered by David Ross

Have I been overcharged for a headlight cable reconnection?

"I have just had my Dacia Sandero Stepway Laureate MoT'd by the local Dacia dealer and found I have been charged £110 to re-connect the headlight cable, details on invoice - CHECKED HEADLAMP ADJUSTMENT CABLE 110.00 DETACHED, REATTACHED AND TESTED OK Requirement Subtotal 110.00) According to comments in the Dacia Forum, this is a common problem with the Sandero and a 2 minute fix, do you think I have been excessively overcharged, also charged £21.44 for a single nearside windscreen wiper blade."
If the invoice does not indicate that any replacement parts were fitted in order to repair the headlamp adjustment cable, it would seem that this is an excessive charge. We would suggest going back to the dealer and asking for clarification on what the labour charge is (if this is not indicated) and how long the repair took - if it was a two minute fix then we would at the very least expect a partial labour charge if not no charge at all. If the response from the dealer is unstatisfactory we would suggest raising the issue with Dacia UK. The charge for the wiper blade is not necessarily unreasonable depending on the brand of blade used.
Answered by David Ross

Does the Dacia Sandero Stepway use a cam belt or timing chain?

"Can you tell me if the 2015 Dacia Sandero Stepway 0.9TCE has a timing chain or belt? And at what mileage would you suggest a belt or chain replacement? "
This engine uses a timing chain. It's designed to last the life of the engine, which it should do as long as the oil is kept clean with a yearly change.
Answered by Dan Powell

Can you recommend a replacement for a Nissan Juke?

"I’m looking to replace a petrol Nissan 2015 Juke in Tekna trim. My wife now needs an electric handbrake. I’d like good all round visibility and a raised driving position, LED headlights and, if possible, parking sensors (although I realise these can be an aftermarket fitting). My original thought was a new Dacia Sandero Stepway in Prestige trim. Our budget is less than £20,000. What else (probably secondhand) should I consider?"
We'd recommend a Mazda CX-3. It's a similar size to your Juke with a high seating position, LED headlights and an electronic parking brake across the range. SE-L models and above get parking sensors, while the Sport Nav has a reversing camera. Also consider a Honda HR-V. You'll get a late example of the last-generation model within budget. Look for an SE, EX or Sport model for front/rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. It comes with an excellent manual gearbox while the latest examples had LED lights as standard across the range.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Dacia Sandero Stepway (2013 – 2020) cost?