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24 Jan 2022

Motors Review: ‘No frills’ Sandero has so much to offer

Motors Review: ‘No frills’   Sandero has so much to offer

The entry TCe 100 LPT is priced at €15,990

Refreshed versions of the Dacia Sandero and Stepway arrived here in February.
Dacia, owned by Renault, say both versions are in line with what customers requested in their cars and achieved without adding unnecessary costs.
The more adventurous of the two, Sandero Stepway (under review here) accounts for over 60pc of the model’s sales in Ireland.
These are the first models to be built on the CMF platform which offers more strength and rigidity to a vehicle’s structure, more active and passive safety features, allows for new engines including petrol and LPG Bi-Fuel, and new transmissions.
The engine line-up includes a SCe 65 1.0 three-cylinder unit, a TCe 90 turbocharged 1.0 and a TCe 100 Bi-Fuel turbocharged 1.0. Manual and CVT auto transmissions are offered.
My review car was the Bi-Fuel with both petrol and LPG onboard. The LPG tank is where the spare wheel would be and the filling nozzle next to the petrol filler. You can switch between using LPG and petrol via a large button on the dash and when the LPG tank runs out, the engine automatically reverts to using petrol.
Running on LPG alone, C02 emissions are on average 11pc less than an equivalent petrol engine and LPG is cheaper to buy than petrol. Dacia claim it can travel more than 1280km with the two tanks combined: 50 litres for the petrol one and 40 for the LPG tank.
When I collected my car, I was amazed to see on the trip computer screen that I had 1558kms capability available to me before the need for a refill. I’ve not seen the likes of this before!
My car was in a Desert Orange exterior colour, an extra €520.
Stepway offers 174mm of ground clearance, an increase of 41mm compared to the Sandero, as well as roof bars, wheel arch cladding and specially textured reinforced door bottoms for a more crossover-like design.
The modular longitudinal roof bars may look like regular roof bars but are actually adjustable. Using a key located in the glove box, they can be easily dismantled in just a few seconds and turned into a roof rack with a load capacity of up to 80kg.
Body-tone front and rear bumpers have a metal skid plate designed to give protection from everyday scratches.
Standard versions have 16-inch Flexwheels, the Prestige gets exclusive 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
Stepway offers the high driving position that many buyers look for as it helps getting in and out of the car as well as aiding visibility. I found the six-speed M/T gearbox a joy to use and ideally suited to the engine.
The interior has special Stepway upholstery with inserts and orange top-stitching, Copper Orange air vent surrounds, a central armrest with console storage, and split-folding rear bench seat back. Seats are comfy and provided gentle support to my back. Three adults can sit in comfort in the rear as there’s now an additional 42mm of space compared to the outgoing model. Boot space is now at 328 litres.
The dash is dominated by the centre console screen with incorporated navigation and links wirelessly to Apple CarPlay and you get knobs for the heating/climate controls.
My car had the Media Control box on the top of the dash. The driver places their smartphone on a removable support in front of them to become a remote multimedia system via the new free Dacia Media Control app and a Bluetooth or USB connection (right beside it for convenience). The system gives easy access to the radio, music, calls, messages, sat nav apps, Siri and Android voice recognition.
With Media Nav, the console features a big 8.0-inch touchscreen which is slightly angled towards the driver. It’s compatible with Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Besides some driver information, the 3.5-inch digital display between the dials shows radio settings.
Useful standard equipment also includes remote central locking, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, height-adjustable steering wheel, USB port, front 12V socket, Bluetooth, six airbags, Hill Start Assist Emergency call (E-Call), and tyre pressure detection system.
My Prestige version added a chrome front grille with the Stepway badge, front fogs, auto wipers, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, Blind Spot Warning, electric windows front and rear, and automatic Climate Control.
This Bi-Fuel car has a 0-100km/h time of 11.6 secs). LPG usage is 7.1 L/100kms while petrol fuel consumption is around 5.9 L/100kms; Annual Road Tax is from €200-€210.
Sandero Stepway achieved a two star overall rating out of a possible five in safety crash tests from Euro NCAP based on a car featuring standard safety equipment.
The entry TCe 100 LPT is priced at €15,990. My review car without options came to €19,290 but a few extras took the price to €19,810.

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