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The Birmingham Mail roadtest the Sandero Stepway.

There is no mystery about the marketing strategy of the latest new name seeking to break into the British car market.
High-profile television and newspaper advertising campaigns boasting 'we don't do frivolity' make no bones about the unique selling point of the Dacia brand - price.

The Renault-owned Romanian car maker is hoping to pick up substantial sales by undercutting its rivals.
Although a new name in Britain, the company has been around since the mid-sixties and was bought out by the French in 1999 to provide a gateway into Central and Eastern European markets.

Now, with the alleged economic recovery dragging its feet somewhat in the UK, Renault have seized the opportunity to launch their budget brand over here, aiming to take advantage of stretched household budgets.

And if it's cheap motoring you're after then the Sandero Stepway is unlikely to disappoint.

The crossover version of the family-friendly Sandero supermini, it boasts a more rugged look with raised suspension, skid plates, chrome roof bars and chunky black sills and wheel arches.
It also does away with the ultra cheap (£5,995) entry-level Access version of the standard car, offering only Ambience and range-topping Laureate trim levels.

Nevertheless prices still start at £7,995 for the 900cc petrol version which will give you more than fifty miles per gallon on average.
The extra grand you'll have to pay for the 1.5 litre diesel version I drove needs to be weighed against the vastly superior fuel economy of 70mpg.

Emissions and insurance group are low whichever you choose, though, and those prices are way below any other family hatchback, even undercutting some city cars.
Obviously, for that sort of cash you can't expect the same driving experience as you get with the class leaders but the ride in the Sandero Stepway is perfectly pleasant.

The extra height does result in a little body movement in bends but grip is good and the supple suspension manages to iron out most bumps in the road and keep passengers comfortable.
The diesel power-pack also copes pretty well with most driving conditions. While not the most refined unit on the roads, it stays relaxed for the most part in town traffic and copes admirably at motorway speeds.

The cabin is light and airy, with large windows offering good all round vision, and head and legroom is impressive in the front and rear for a car in this class, as is boot space which, at 320 litres, is more than capable of coping with the weekly family shop. The 60/40 split rear seats also drop down to boost the load space up to 1,200 litres if needed.

The fixtures and fittings do, however, bear out the back-to-basics approach which allows Dacia to knock out motors at such low prices.

Although everything is well screwed together and seems very tough and durable, the design is spartan and minimal and hard scratchy plastics are the order of the day.

You'll also be expected to live without some of the creature comforts that you may have become used to.
Some people, for instance, may baulk at the lack of air conditioning and cruise control with the Ambiance trim, as well as having to manually adjust the wing mirrors, while rear passengers also have to wind down their own windows.
I couldn't even find a clock on the dash!

What you do get for your money, though, is remote central locking, ECO mode, front fog lights, electric front windows and a Radio/CD with Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
You also only get four rather than six airbags but anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are included as standard and helped the Stepway to a respectable four stars in the EuroNCAP crash tests.
While such equipment levels may seem very much 'no frills' these days - it's not so long ago that such a package would have been more than acceptable.

Driving a Dacia is a stark reminder of just how pampered drivers have become.

For the massive savings the brand offers, such perceived 'discomforts' are surely a small price to pay.
It's clearly a price which Dacia and its parent company feel many will be willing to pay in austerity Britain - and they could well have a point.

http://www.birmingha...sandero-6316192

Click here to view the news
 

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What you do get for your money, though,???

You get Renault ! reliability :)

Peace of mind and you get a bargain nothing more and nothing less ! and when your Neighbor jumps in his Jag or Merc and it starts first kick ! so does yours B) and when he has to take it for a wash so do you .............................................BUT when he goes to fill up you drive on past him ! :D :D :D :D :D
 

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What you do get for your money, though,???

You get Renault ! reliability :)

Peace of mind and you get a bargain nothing more and nothing less ! and when your Neighbor jumps in his Jag or Merc and it starts first kick ! so does yours B) and when he has to take it for a wash so do you .............................................BUT when he goes to fill up you drive on past him ! :D :D :D :D :D
Renault reliability' god I hope not
 

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More than happy with mine too - you do get exactly what you pay for - nothing more and nothing less. I think Dacia / Renault have these cars targeted just right, both in terms of cost and equipment levels. If you want a bit more kit you get the next one up in the range - it's not rocket science and it doesn't take 3 hours pawing over the options list ticking boxes for stuff you fancy!

Stepway owners - we can choose from 1 petrol and 1 diesel engine, 2 trim levels, the touring pack and a spare wheel in place of the dodgy 'repair/inflation kit'.

How simple can you get!
 

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Marillion said:
More than happy with mine too - you do get exactly what you pay for - nothing more and nothing less. I think Dacia / Renault have these cars targeted just right, both in terms of cost and equipment levels. If you want a bit more kit you get the next one up in the range - it's not rocket science and it doesn't take 3 hours pawing over the options list ticking boxes for stuff you fancy!

Stepway owners - we can choose from 1 petrol and 1 diesel engine, 2 trim levels, the touring pack and a spare wheel in place of the dodgy 'repair/inflation kit'.

How simple can you get!
Exactly why I bought one....
 

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Got mine Friday 28 March 2014 it's a really nice car, got the diesel model it's very nippy. Love the Cinder Red colour.
 
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