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Expert Rating

Dacia Sandero Stepway

(2021 – present)

Expert Rating

New car score:

62
%
C

Used car score:

71
%
A

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

71
%
B

Safety Rating:

42
%
E

Eco Rating:

67
%
A

Reliability Rating:

97
%
A

Running Costs:

74
%
A

How are our Expert Rating scores calculated?

Expert Rating

New car score:

62
%
C

Used car score:

71
%
A

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

71
%
B

Safety Rating:

42
%
E

Eco Rating:

67
%
A

Reliability Rating:

97
%
A

Running Costs:

74
%
A

Summary


The Dacia Sandero Stepway first appeared in 2017 as a rugged, off-road themed variant of the Sandero supermini, dubbed Europe’s best-selling retail car. All-new versions of both models were launched in 2021.

The Stepway takes most Sandero sales in the UK and the reason it sells so well is because it is very much a cheap car, prices ranging from just £11,000 at launch. However the budget focus earned the Stepway the wrong sort of headlines in 2021 – Euro NCAP awarded it an almost basement two-star crash-test rating due to its very basic active safety system.

Sandero Stepway models are available only with petrol engines. There’s a 1.0-litre of 90hp or a 100hp version that can also run on Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), a rarity in today’s market. There’s also the option to replace the six-speed manual gearbox with a CVT auto.

Testers have generally liked the Sandero, praising it for the interior space and equipment you get for a bargain price, and the same goes for the Stepway. According to Autocar the purpose of this model “is to offer people the cheapest way into a good new car possible”, and it’s the basics – “comfort, equipment, enjoyment and refinement” – that boost the car’s score.

Those basics include a good, adjustable driving position, lots of interior space with a bigger boot than most superminis, and the availability of such niceties as air conditioning, touchscreen navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The Daily Telegraph comments that the Sandero Stepway is “a bargain basement hatchback with a tiny engine and an automatic gearbox that you might actually want to own,” but adds that “we find it hard to recommend a budget option if it means cutting a corner on safety”. Likewise, Which? has slapped the Sandero Stepway with a ‘Don’t Buy’ tag due its poor safety score.

As of January 2024, the Dacia Sandero Stepway holds a New Car Expert Rating of C with a score of 62%.

Sandero Stepway highlights

  • Great value
  • Lots of room
  • Big boot
  • Plentiful equipment

Sandero Stepway lowlights

  • Poor safety rating
  • Slow
  • Uninspiring ride and handling
  • Hard plastic interior

Key specifications


Body style: Five-door hatchback
Engines: petrol, petrol/LPG dual-fuel
Price: From £15,295 on-road

Launched: Winter 2020/21
Last updated: N/A
Replacement due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Auto Express

+

Auto Trader

+

Autocar

+

Business Car

+

Car

+

Carbuyer

+

Carwow

+

Heycar

+

Parkers

+

The Sun

+

The Telegraph

+

Top Gear

+

What Car?

+

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall score: 2 stars
Date tested: April 2021
Read the full Euro NCAP review

Adult protection: 70%
Child protection: 72%
Vulnerable road users: 41%
Safety assist: 42%

Notes on safety rating

The Dacia Sandero family (including the Sandero Stepway) scored a very poor two-star rating from Euro NCAP, which generated headlines in the motoring media and was a very disappointing result. However, a better understanding of why the Sandero was only rated two stars is important.

The Sandero scored reasonably well in terms of occupant protection for both adults and children in crash tests. It’s still short of the best small cars, but certainly adequate. If the overall rating was just based on crash performance, it would probably have been awarded four stars rather than two.

Where the Sandero really fell down was in its crash avoidance technology, which has become increasingly important in determining overall ratings – after all, it’s far better to avoid an accident altogether than to survive one. Compared to other small cars, the Dacia’s autonomous emergency braking system is more basic and unable to properly detect pedestrians or cyclists. It does better at avoiding other vehicles, but is still not as good as other small cars.

Given that many of the Sandero Stepway’s rivals are actually used cars from other brands based on older technology and older Euro NCAP standards, the overall two-star rating is not as bad as it sounds – although it’s still not good enough for a brand new car in 2023. In summary, the Sandero Stepway does an adequate job of protecting you in a crash but doesn’t do enough to actually avoid one in the first place.

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

Model tested: 1.0-litre petrol manual 90hp

Overall score: 2.5 stars
Date tested: June 2023
Read the full Green NCAP review

Clean Air Index: 6.1 / 10
Energy Efficiency Index: 4.8 / 10
Greenhouse Gas Index: 3.3 / 10

Notes on eco rating

Green NCAP tested the 90hp, 1.0-litre petrol manual version of the Dacia Sandero Stepway in June 2023. This rating does not apply to any other engine or gearbox.

Green NCAP said: “The car comes with a state-of-the-art exhaust aftertreatment system and scores an above-average 6.1/10 in the Clean Air Index. The petrol consumption is as can be expected for this type of vehicle and powertrain… enough for an Energy Efficiency Index of 4.8/10.

“Due to the unspectacular consumption figures and the addition of the upstream greenhouse gas emissions for the supply of the fuel, the Greenhouse Gas Index receives only 3.3 points out of 10 and the car misses the qualification for the additional robustness tests.”

Reliability rating

MotorEasy logo 600x167

Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

All data based on MotorEasy average workshop costs for extended car warranty claims

The Dacia Sandero range (including the Stepway) is a very creditable 86%, according to extended warranty data from our commercial partner MotorEasy, which puts it well above average. The only caveat to this score is that it currently comes from a small number of data points, so could shift significantly as more claims are added to MotorEasy’s database.

This score applies to both the current (2020 onwards) and previous generations of the Sandero family, which is good news if you are considering a used Sandero of any kind.

The average repair cost to date is just over £420, which is dragged up by an average engine repair bill of nearly £1,900. Other repair costs (electrics, brakes, fuel system) are all quite low.

Running cost rating

Clear Vehicle Data logo close crop

Monthly cost of ownership data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by Clear Vehicle Data

Fuel consumptionAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models49 mpgC49 – 50 mpgB – C
CO₂ outputAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models130 g/kmA127 – 141 g/kmA – B
Insurance groupAverageScoreVariationScore
All models12A10 – 14A – A
Service and maintenanceCostScore
Year 1£149A
Year 2£393A
Year 3£644A
Year 4£839A
Year 5£1,203A
Overall£3,228A

Data provided by our partner Clear Vehicle Data backs up the Sandero Stepway’s reputation for long-term affordability.

Only available with petrol drivetrains, the crossover has an average fuel consumption, with low CO₂ emissions. Service and maintenance costs over a five-year period are very affordable too when compared to the market as a whole.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Dacia Sandero Stepway has received

2023

  • Auto Trader Awards – Best Value New Car

2021

  • Scottish Car of the Year Awards – Best Small SUV/Crossover

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Dacia Sandero Stepway, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Dacia Duster | Fiat Panda 4×4 | Ford Fiesta Active | MG ZS | Nissan Juke | SsangYong TivoliSuzuki Ignis | Vauxhall Crossland

There are few direct rivals to the Sandero Stepway’s combination of rugged looks and value, but one of the closest is the Suzuki Ignis, a mini SUV with lots of character, more economy but less space.

Ford offers a beefed-up ‘Active’ version of its mass-selling Fiesta – it’s a much better car than the Dacia but a whole lot more money. The MG ZS is also a traditional SUV of similar size to the Sandero stepway, but while budget it’s still not as cheap as the Dacia.   

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The Dacia Sandero Stepway offers immense value in a small car – but only if you can live with its very poor safety rating. Dacia Sandero Stepway