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The Sandero hatchback is known for being the country's most affordable new car and the one likely to lose the least amount of hard cash when it comes to be sold on. Now Dacia is applying the same approach to the crossover market with a jacked-up version of the same model, called the Stepway.
It sits 40mm higher than the standard model and sports the usual faux off-road additions of swelled black plastic wheelarches, front and rear skid plates and roof bars. It doesn't have four-wheel drive, so don't consider it an
off-roader, though the aforementioned additions may make it more appropriate for businesses that want cheap vehicles to take a bit of a beating. Interior space remains the same as the standard Sandero, including a 320-litre boot, expanding to 1200 litres with the back seats folded down.
Tested here with the 90hp 1.5-litre dCi engine, the Stepway isn't a quick car, but there's enough mid-range pull in reserve to make it competent on A-roads and motorways. Refinement is a way off the class best and there's a fair amount of body roll, not helped by the increased ride height, so it does have a habit of lolloping its way round bends.
The cabin is fine given the car's budget standing, but it's very much a cut below that of Kia, Skoda or even Chevrolet. As long as you and your drivers are aware and accepting of that, then the Stepway makes for a sound financial proposition. Its biggest draw is the rock-bottom list price, which starts at £7940 for the basic model, while the top-spec dCi 90 Laureate driven here has a P11D of £10,740.
Given the Dacia's relatively compact size and bargain-basement status, it will never be particularly popular with user-choosers,, but with its exceptionally low cost-per-mile figure of 30.5ppm it can comfortably undercut the current swathe of smaller crossovers such as the Skoda Yeti, Peugeot 2008 and parent company rival, the Renault Captur.
Dacia Sandero Stepway 1.5 dCi 90 Laureate
Model price range
BIK 20/40% per month
3yrs 60,000 mls
The most affordable way into the crossover market.