Dacia Sandero Stepway 2022 long-term review

Dacia Sandero Stepway 2022 long-term review

That’s still excellent for a car I’ve used for absolutely everything, even towing my motorbike trailer with an (admittedly light) old Douglas on the back.

It still amuses me that this ultraaffordable car, for which you can get only two options (metallic paint and a full-size spare wheel), has automatic lights and wipers, climate control, auto walk-away locking and an autorelease electric handbrake – plus a knurled gear knob, just like a Bentley.

Given that the Stepway is performing so well, it’s not hard to understand the truth of Dacia’s claim that this is Europe’s most popular privately bought (as opposed to business fleet) car. Maybe business fleets need to get with the programme as well.

One recent interesting episode was spending a week in a Renault Clio powered by the same 1.0-litre petrol turbo engine as the Dacia’s – and riding on the same platform – to clock the differences. The fact that the Stepway has a slightly lumpier ride and creates a bit more road noise is understandable enough, given that there looks to be £3000-ish extra value in it. But you have to wonder which came first: refinements to the Renault’s platform and engine to make them quieter and smoother or deliberate omissions of sound-deadening measures to create a small but noticeable difference.

The only meaningful fault I can find with the Dacia, given its great price and equipment and decent quality, is the lumpy engine response, which includes a gigantic flat spot around 2800rpm that you can never quite ‘drive around’. In the Clio, interestingly, the same was present, but it was far less noticeable, causing me to wonder again whether my own car’s electronics would benefit from some sort of reprogramming.

Enough readers have now raised this issue, either through ownership or on test drives, to convince me that it’s a genuine foible of the Sandero Stepway. Before I write about it again, I’m going to lift the phone and establish whether a cure exists. If it doesn’t, it probably should.

Love it:

Outrageous value This sector is supposed to be stuffed with alternatives, but you won’t find another car with this much capability for the money.