TONIO DARMANIN drives the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway.
Dacia is a leader when it comes to promoting a sensible form of car consumption and is now more than ever aligned with the real expectations of its customers. It offers simple, spacious, reliable and robust vehicles with no unnecessary frills, at the best price on the market.
Although a shift in mindset had already been under way for a few years, the unprecedented backdrop of the last few months has more than ever before encouraged drivers to consider more sustainable consumption and to turn their focus back to what is really essential, while still expressing their needs for mobility and freedom. More and more customers are returning to a more pragmatic approach when buying cars.
For more than 15 years, Dacia has met that need by offering drivers cars at a fair price. The new Sandero and the Sandero Stepway embody Dacia’s DNA. An iconic and a very popular model, the Sandero has been the best-selling car in Europe in the retail customer market since 2017 and the best-selling Dacia model with almost 2.1 million cars sold, representing 32 per cent of the carmaker’s sales since 2004. The Sandero Stepway, the more adventurous version, represents 65 per cent of all Sandero sales, with more than 1.3 million cars sold.
Dacia has revamped its offer in the city and versatile compact car segment with the Sandero and Sandero Stepway to meet all the needs of retail customers. While the carmaker has kept the same external dimensions, both models now offer more modernity, roominess and versatility with the fundamental simplicity and reliability that drivers have come to expect from Dacia.
With a new platform, they offer more features, increased active and passive safety, new engines and a new automatic transmission and an all-new six-speed manual transmission. With its shoulders and marked wheel arches, the Sandero exudes a strong personality and sturdiness. Nevertheless, the overall lines are smoother, with a more sloping windscreen, a lower roof and flowing roofline with the radio aerial at the end.
Ground clearance is unchanged, and yet the Sandero feels lower and more grounded with wider tracks and flush-mounted wheels. The front and rear lights unveil Dacia’s new Y-shaped LED light signature, giving the Sandero a strong identity. A horizontal line joins the two lights both at the front and rear and extends into their respective LED lines, giving the car a greater visual presence. The LED headlights, offered as a standard automatic feature at all trim levels.
The design of the door handles reveals a focus on quality and more ergonomic shape. Most versions now have electric boot release on the lower tailgate section, improving looks and practicality. The new shape of the doors and wing mirrors improves the car’s aerodynamics while reducing air noise for passengers. Inside, the dashboard features an insert wrapped in fabric while the air vents boast an all-new shape.
The Sandero Stepway is immediately recognisable at the front with its unique ribbed and
more domed bonnet, the chrome Stepway logo under the front grille and the curved fenders above the fog lights. The front and rear bumpers include a body-coloured metal skid plate designed to protect the original colour from everyday scratches.
The Stepway features the design codes of the crossovers with a 174mm raised ground clearance, roof bars featuring the logo, large fender flares and specifically textured reinforced door bottoms.
The Sandero Stepway’s roof bars may look as if they are quite simply an attractive visual feature, but they are also adjustable. Using a key located in the glove compartment, they can be easily dismantled in just a few seconds and turned into a roof rack with a load capacity of 80 kilos, which is the same as standard roof bars.
The interior upholstery is customised with the Stepway logo, while the door panels and dashboard have orange fabric inserts and edging.
The Sandero and the Stepway offer three back seats which can each accommodate three adults, a 1/3-2/3 split-fold rear bench seat (depending on the versions) and a family-sized boot. The boot of the Sandero has a 410-litre capacity and features a flat floor with adjustable height floor two positions depending on the versions. It meets the roominess standards of the upper segment of the market, especially as it offers best-in-class rear passenger legroom, with an additional 42mm for the Sandero.
At Dacia, they have always believed that modern cars should not be filled with non-essential features. Dacia has designed the new features of the Sandero and the Stepway in line with the development of customers’ main expectations. Standard features include a smartphone holder (removable depending on the version), an on-board computer screen, an automatic headlight activation, a steering wheel featuring speed limiter and cruise control on all trim levels.
New automatic air-conditioning with digital display, heated front seats, a handsfree card featuring remote boot release, electric parking brake, reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors and automatic windscreen wipers are all available as a standard feature or options depending on the market. In a first for Dacia, an electric glass sunroof will be available on the Sandero.
The new CMF modular platform used on the Sandero and Stepway combines greater resistance and rigidity with less weight. The recommended engine is the TCe 90 turbocharged one-litre three-cylinder unit paired with a six-speed manual transmission or CVT automatic transmission.
The new modular CMF platform of the new Sandero and Stepway enables three major improvements. The first is acoustic: with a lighter and stiffer cradle, front block and body structure, vibrations are reduced. The second concerns the ground connections: the widening of the tracks by 41 millimeters on the Sandero and 29 millimeters on the Sandero Stepway respectively improves handling and road behaviour. The last concerns passive and active safety, with the integration of the latest generation of driving driver-assistance systems.
The primary reason Dacia have been so successful is that they recognised that there exists a substantial segment of customers who require attractive, reliable efficient and safe cars with no extra frills – they are happy with what is essential to ensure a pleasant and comfortable driving experience but without breaking the bank. And that is exactly what the new Sandero and Stepway offer customers.