Derry Journal Motoring with Jim McCauley: Test drive the Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90

When we consider the bargain basement in anything, we tend to look closer at what’s on offer. Dacia has been providing affordable motoring in its Sandero range since 2004, rolling out 2.7 million of them, 130,000 of which are in the UK.
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Continuous development has seen the latest third generation model on the Renault Group’s CMF-B platform now equipped with a range of driver support technologies. The review model in Stepway specification is powered by a 1.0 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine rated at 90hp. The alternative option is the same engine with 100hp but offers dual fuel operation using both petrol and LPG.

The Stepway edition sits marginally higher than the standard model with revised front detailing and practical skid plates adding a little more strength to its image. The four door body style sits comfortably in the modern trend and its image overall belies its affordability.

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The 90hp unit in the test vehicle returns a 0-62mph time of 12.0 seconds with a potential top speed of 107mph. On road, and the car demonstrates the benefits of its continuous development offering relative refinement and smooth progression via its 6-speed manual gearbox. There is no hesitation in power delivery from the turbo boosted engine with confident roadholding to match. In terms of comfort, the slightly higher ride height in this Stepway model has little negative effect on cornering thanks to this common platform which also supports the Renault Clio.

Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90.Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90.
Dacia Sandero Stepway TCe 90.

For the driver, instrumentation is industry standard with analogue speed and rev counter dominating the display and the now obligatory 3.5 inch TFT information panel nestled between. The 8-inch central information screen has a mobile phone docking arm alongside and with the Dacia Media Control app provides access to navigation, radio, music, telephone, and vehicle information. This can be accessed through the phone’s own voice recognition function or via the steering wheel-mounted controls. The system supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This specification level also comes with soft grip steering wheel with multi media controls and for additional safety and comfort, front seatbelts are height adjustable.

In terms of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the car has Emergency Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist, Blind Spot Warning and Park Assist, consisting of front and rear sensors and rear-view camera.

For its supermini class, the Sandero provides a roomy cabin with the standard provision of five seats. Upholstery is black patterned cloth with contrasting orange stitching reflecting the similar colour highlighting around the air vents. Rear seats fold 60:40 to extend the flexibility of the 328 litre boot giving a total luggage space of 1,108 litres.

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With regards to running costs, The Sandero Stepway has a given combined fuel consumption of 50.4mpg and with a CO2 emission of 127g/km is liable for 30% BIK for business users. While the range opens at £13,795, this Stepway model in mid-range ‘Expression’ trim is listed at £16,295 OTR with metallic paint adding £650. The car is in Group 14E for insurance purposes and is covered by the company’s 3-year / 60,000 mile warranty which can be extended up to six years and 100,000 miles. A range of servicing plans is also available from just £4.99 a month and extending up to four years.

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