Dacia Stepway – 1 year and 20K miles Review


Its been a whole year since I picked up my shiney new Dacia Sandero Stepway Laureate 1.5dci and I’ve done a fair number of miles in the last 12 months!

The 9 week wait and lack of information from the dealer wasn’t great but that gets forgotten when you are looking at your new car waiting to drive it away.

So whats it like?

Its considered a super mini but its not that mini, pretty decent size in all fairness.

Comfort

I’m 6’4″ and I can comfortably sit in the drivers seat without hitting my head and allowing ample room for rear passengers, the only downside is the space between the front seats isn’t big enough and with the addition of the armrest there is often bumping when plugging in the seatbelts.
The back seats feel comfy and passengers have never complained – only had 2 people in the back and I think that 3 may be a squeeze.

Driving.

Drives pretty well for a jacked up car, you can’t push it around corners like a Focus but it still soaks up the bumps fine.  The gearbox and engine have loosened up but at times you need to rev it to perform a quick manoeuvre, but it doesn’t complain which is good.

The sun visor when dropped sits in the wrong place for using in towns as it blocks your view of traffic lights, so its a constant flip up/down to get the best use.  The A pillar can hide other vehicles on approach to certain sized roundabouts and you have to stick the nose out to see past bushes as its blocks out a little too much.

The steering wheel also has a bit too much movement before actually turning the wheels but you get used to that quickly.

Costs.

Over the past year I’ve averaged 55mpg, £200 for insurance, £149 for a service and 1 set of front tyres at £88 for the pair fitted – not something to complain about for 12 months and 20K miles!

Upgrades.

Yes I’ve tweaked it slightly from new

  • Installation of wind deflectors – reduces wind noise.
  • Installation of noise deadening sheets in boot and under back seat – helps reduce noise from the road and from fuel slap in the tank.
  • Carpet installed around exposed bodywork in boot – reduces noise and helps finish the boot area.
  • Additional driving lights – more light is always good and a dual filament bulb is never as good as 2 single filament bulbs.
  • Engine rubber seal – help keeps the engine bay clean.
  • Armrest – I like to rest my arm on a long motorway drive.
  • Dashboard lights that come on with the ignition. – removed these as they didn’t want to stick to the right place!

If possible there are a couple of things I’d change, one is mentioned above – the dashboard in certain light conditions becomes impossible to read as there is no permanent backlight and the red km/h is hard to read at any time unless the lights are on.  The other, the horn is on the end of the stalk not on the steering wheel, which means you need to fumble around and that includes the horn itself, my name isn’t Noddy so lets have a more aggresive sounding horn!

Verdict.

Not a bad car for £11K, lots for the money and it was new.

Would I buy another? Not sure, for the same money I could pick up a 2/3 year old crossover from another manufacturer, which would have more toys and other features, but its not new with a new warranty and decent running costs.

Update – 01/11/2015

I’ve just got back from Germany (2nd time I’ve done the trip in this car) and again it did well.  Kept up on the motorways and returned a decent 56mpg, which considering we were caught in crawling traffic a number of times and I was travelling at around 130km/h (81mph) at other times (which isn’t fuel efficient for this car!) was good.

The couple of let downs – my back has been playing up a bit and you can feel it on the seats, they lack that extra support on a long journey.  The SatNav, last year when we went across it wasn’t aware of a major motorway that had been opened for at least 8 months, so this year I paid for Euro mapping updates (was on offer) and guess what, hat major road still isn’t there so for about 20 miles I had a SatNav going mental and trying to re-route me from the middle of fields!

Update – 20/03/2016

Well I’ve recently moved house and my journey into work has changed, its very slightly longer but takes me on roads with a lot of speed cameras setup in places to make money rather than improve road safety.  Up until this point I thought having a speed limiter on the car was a pointless device, oh how wrong I was – flick it on at the speed you want and it’ll do its job and prevent that speed creep that is so easy to do in moving traffic, yes it does mean that I am doing the speed limit and yes that does annoy other motorists, but I like my driving licence and I don’t want points – they don’t make prizes.

The thing I would say from moving house and going on a few longer trips is the boot size needs to be larger, yes this is in part to me having a box of bits in the boot but they are things that I feel a need to have in the car (spare bulbs, de-icer, screenwash, fire extinguisher etc) so this removes some space but I think a bigger boot is more useful.

If I were looking at buying now, I would opt for the Duster – same interior but with more space (inc. boot space) yes it doesn’t have the MediaNav unit but that SatNav isn’t great and I have a much better system in the house that comes with free map updates for life after buying the software for £35! (Not £90 per update).

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