New Dacia Sandero Stepway receives "disappointing" two-star safety rating

Published 14 April 2021

The new Dacia Sandero has been given a disappointing two-star safety rating in the latest round of tests by independent crash test experts, Euro NCAP.

The Sandero Stepway is an SUV-styled crossover that trades on the budget brand’s no-frills ethos, with a starting price of just £11,495. However, the pared-down safety specification offered is a basic autonomous emergency braking system, which can react only to other vehicles.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway, as well as the Logan, have been awarded a two-star (out of five) rating due to a radar-only autonomous emergency braking system — which would not detect pedestrians or cyclists that crossed in front of the car.

The Sandero Stepway scored 42 per cent for safety assistance systems and 41 per cent for vulnerable road user protection. Euro NCAP highlighted the limitations of the Sandero's radar-only automatic emergency braking system – which will soon be a legal requirement — calling it “disappointing”.

Dacia Sandero Safety Test Crash

However, crash protection is respectable. The Sandero Stepway scored 70 per cent for adult occupant protection and 72 per cent for child occupant protection. Euro NCAP noted that the model would be “a four-star performer if it were not for its shortcomings elsewhere.”

Euro NCAP overhauled its testing criteria last year with extra focus on active safety technology, including automatic emergency braking. As a result, Euro NCAP has cautioned against directly comparing the ratings of cars tested under the new system with the previous method.

“Safety has moved on”, says Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, “and the biggest strides forward are now being made by using high-tech to prevent accidents from happening. Clearly, Dacia have found their market and they’re sticking to it, but a two-star rating shows little ambition, even for a low-cost product. Their decision not to offer a camera clearly is out of step with the market and disappointing as Dacia are aware that their cars will soon have to comply with the new General Safety Regulation. Škoda and VW, on the other hand, show what can be achieved and Euro NCAP applauds them for offering their customers the highest level of safety.”


Engineer Andy    on 15 April 2021

As a French car, surely it would get extra credit for breaking down more than other makes, and thus 'being safe' because it's off the road? :-)

Being more serious, I would bet good money that under the old system, this car would've scored a 3 or 4 star rating, and under the NCAP system from 10 years ago possibly even a 5 star rating.

Yes, safety systems have come a long way in that time, but they are more to do with 'protection' of pedestrians and cyclists/motorcyclists and far less on the car's occupants protection.

It's also been shown many times that these autonymous braking systems are not anywhere near as good, or in some circumstances, 'safe' as they are made out, given some get confused with errant litter or just slam on the anchors in the fast lane of a motorway, neither of which is a safe manourvre.

I suspect that my 15yo 4 star rated car would do far worse than this Dacia, and it isn't 'unsafe' if your drive it properly. I think that many new safety tech is lulling drivers into a false sense of security and thus owners take more risks, driving faster in urban areas, etc, etc.

clivea    on 15 April 2021

It would look bad for marketing as many potential buyers could be put off by the two star rating. Although NCAP would rate passenger protection as four star. But buyers may not pick up on that difference.

Edited by clivea on 15/04/2021 at 18:17

AndrwH    on 15 April 2021

A sign of the times that a car's safety rating is no longer about the structure of the car itself, protecting the occupants in the event of a collision, but on how it protests those out side and out of control of the driver...the dangerously wobbly cyclist, the pedestrian paying more attention to their phone or 'deaf' from headphones...
As reported in the story, head of EuroNCAP themselves state this car is really 4* 'safe' for occupants, but down-rated by completely random events outside the car. What next, bad weather affecting ratings..?

Mr Nexus    on 15 April 2021

Heh, I won't be buying any of this c^&p anyway. The day when I can't drive well enough to avoid other i****s on the road is the day I hand in my licence. I ride a 60 year old motocycle and a thirteen year old car. I'll be keeping those until my days on the road end. As for my kids, I'll advise them to stick to public transport and consign the glory days of motoring to history. RIP ICE (Internal Combustion Engine for those not in the know).

Beejay53    on 16 April 2021

Mr Nexus.

I few years back now, probably 20 years. ICE always used to stand for "In Car Entertainment". How things move on!

Edited by Beejay53 on 16/04/2021 at 09:02

CanAmSteve    on 17 April 2021

Heck - when I grew up it referred to frozen water!

Victor King    on 15 April 2021

I drive a kia Niro which is rated higher because it uses both radar an cameras but the collision avoidance system in my pinion did not work on two occasions and I had to take exceptional avoidance action . Two main dealers say it is working but are not prepared to test drive ( one would if I payed over £199 to cover the extra insurance)
it because it might cause an accident for which they would be liable. so much for confidence in their product. As far as KIA is concerned If the system check says it works its working it is. kia is concerned but they are not prepared to take the risk that it might not be. Its just as well I was taught to drive in a defensive manner by a police instructor.

WilliamRead    on 15 April 2021

A 2* rating from the increasingly discredited NCAP should not deter any potential purchaser for the Sandero Stepway. For years NCAP rated the Duster as merely 3*, despite being built like a tank.....

Andy McGregor    on 15 April 2021

A similar amount of investment in driver training and education to what had been spent developing the hitech “safety” systems being forced on the buyers of new cars would, in my opinion, give better results.
Making driving too easy, comfortable and apparently safe for car occupants encourages inattention on the part of the driver.
I ride 30yr old motorcycles, as well as a car, and knowing how serious the consequences of a moment of inattention on 2 wheels can be I am certainly more alert and risk aware on the bike.

Fijit    on 15 April 2021

I could have written this myself, as an ex motorcycle rider I appreciate the feel of the road, the controls and vehicle "sympathy" something that is sadly lacking today. As the manufacturers concentrate on autonomous driving aids it will encourage more reliance on tech. and less skill and concentration.

Trevor Denyer    on 16 April 2021

I, likewise, am not a fan of too much "autonomous safety" features. I have, on several occasions, had the collision avoidance braking kick in owing to a vehicle crossing in front of me on a roundabout some distance away. I suspect it was due to the other car's speed? Fortunately, I was not rear-ended on either occasion.

Edited by Trevor Denyer on 16/04/2021 at 07:51

Lihpkralc    on 16 April 2021

Perhaps we need two safety star ratings. One for the vehicle itself and the other for crash avoidance.. having just one rating covering all is somewhat misleading. If airconditiiners have one for heating and The another rating for cooling then I am sure that we can figure out what's what with two car ratings.

HASHMUKHLAL AMLIWALA    on 16 April 2021

I have driven most make of cars. My first all singing and dancing car was Honda Accord with all the latest safety gadgets and Bells and Whistles . How ever I have always said that the safety of al is dependent on the person behind the wheel of the car. All these gadgets are there to assist not take over. My last car was the Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign with all the bells and whistles . I sold it and am now driving Sangyong Krando Ultimate. It has all the bells and whistles . Some what more so than the Jag of equal type. However my car is amazing to drive and costs half that of the new Jag. I am very please with the car and would recommend it to anyone. There are a lot of cars at ridiculously high price and offer a lot less value or comfort. I do not follow the i**** Clarkson and his crew for car review. I do my own research and tests. My Moto is drive what you enjoy not the overpriced car because of its name.

CanAmSteve    on 17 April 2021

I am amused by the many comments from what appear to be vintage drivers (of which I am one myself, including motorcycles) advising that if only everyone drove properly (like they do) then all this safety kit (which doesn't really work at all in their worlds) would be unnecessary. Which is, of course, bunk

Sadly, the roads are full of licenced drivers who still fail to meet Curmudgeon standards, so accident will continue to happen. You can't socially engineer the problem away. The whole point of active safety systems to do improve on the current state of safety on the roads - it is aspirational. At one time, no one "needed" seat belts, or ABS, or airbags either, but they have demonstrably improved safety. Now it is possible to include pedestrians and cyclists as well. So only be happy with two-stars if you don't care about others

aethelwulf    on 17 April 2021

Well ,canamsteve, what we need is a car that stops for hedgehogs and pheasants in my locality. The others can look out for themselves but do not as motorists are expected to do that for them.
I have a 16 year old Mondeo 2L petrol which feel safe enough . No modern stuff that I do not want as others seem to find these devices a dangerous addition.
I am a vintage motorist of 56 years driving so have covered about 2 million miles and clearly think I look for hazards sensibly.
I do appreciate power assisted disc brakes and indicators. The new headlights are good too and air conditioning removes the steam on the windows.
I do not look forward to more modern cars and will keep my old ones keep running as long as possible. Stock up on spares but scrapyards will have spares for years.

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