The 2021 Dacia Sandero has arrived in Ireland!
The 2021 Dacia Sandero has arrived in Ireland!

Dacia Ireland has launched a new version of the Dacia Sandero supermini here, with pricing starting from a ‘shockingly affordable’ €12,990. The latest Sandero and Sandero Stepway sport an all-new design with updated equipment and technology. The more ‘adventurous’ Stepway with rugged crossover charm is Ireland’s favourite version of the Sandero representing over 60 per cent of all Sandero sales in Ireland. We took the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway on a nifty test drive around Dublin to find out what’s new.

Enjoy the latest of our Dacia reviews below with the 2021 Dacia Sandero, on Irish roads for the first time!

Looking for something a bit bigger? Read our latest review of the Dacia Duster.

Styling

Styling of the Sandero twins has been updated. Both cars now look even more modern, and, dare we say it, upmarket. Exterior dimensions are similar to the previous generation of the car but tweaks include more pronounced wheel arches, a lower roof, sloped windscreen and smoother lines throughout. A wider track and flush wheels contribute to the lower, more planted appearance on the road. Machine-stamped panels provide a seamless, higher quality fit. All versions feature LED lighting with a new Y-shaped LED signature at the front, and LED-effect four-element lighting signature at the rear. The Dacia Sandero Stepway gets a more rugged makeover with extra cladding, raised ride height, unique grille with Stepway logo, roof bars and metal skid plates. It’s definitely the better looking of the two. Though compact, the Stepway simply has more presence and we can see it gaining even more fans with this latest version.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a more rugged crossover appearance
The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a more rugged crossover appearance

Interior

The interior has been revamped with enhanced materials and a new design. The very entry models do feel basic with mostly hard plastics and few frills. But the Stepway model we tested in Prestige trim had a more colourful and plush feel. We were impressed with the new infotainment screen (from Comfort trim up) and some new soft touch materials with interesting patterns. So on the surface this one looked good. The Stepway also adds unique orange detailing on the air vents and orange stitching on the upholstery. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake.

Practicality

The Sandero has not grown in size much but it’s roomier on the inside. There’s an extra 42 mm of legroom in the rear and it is one of the most spacious in its class. The boot is perfect supermini size too! It has increased to 328 litres and passengers also have more space to put their belongings, with up to 21 litres of storage space dotted throughout the cabin.

Engines

Here’s where it gets really interesting! New engines including a three cylinder 1.0-litre TCe Bi-Fuel petrol engine, which can also run on LPG. We tested this model with 6-speed manual transmission at the launch and with 100 hp it feels nicely powerful on the road, more than enough for a Sandero’s typical 9 to 5. It’s the ‘quickest’ in the range with 0-100 kmh in 11.2 seconds! The LPG tank is located in the spare wheel well and the filling nozzle is next to the petrol filler. Running on LPG, the new Sandero Bi-Fuel releases on average 11 per cent less CO2 emissions than an equivalent petrol engine but is also capable of travelling more than 800 miles when utilising both petrol and LPG tanks – 50 litres for petrol (the same capacity as the tank on petrol-only variants) and 40 litres for the LPG tank. The manufacturer warranty period, servicing costs and frequency are the same as the petrol versions too.

We also tested the more basic 1.0-litre, three cylinder, SCe 65 (Sandero only), which didn’t have a huge amount of zest or energy, but probably does the same 9 to 5 around town pretty reliably. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission. For an indication of performance, 0-100 kmh is 16.7 seconds!

There’s also the TCe 90, a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit paired with a CVT automatic transmission.

The interior of the new Dacia Sandero Stepway
The interior of the new Dacia Sandero Stepway

Driving it

With a new platform, both Sandero models for 2021 have been designed for better handling, greater steering precision, more efficient engines and improved refinement. Redesigned wing mirrors reduce wind noise and improve cabin refinement. New Sandero and Stepway models are fitted with a new front axle with rectangular suspension arms that provide more effective shock absorption and enhanced steering. Anti-roll capacity has been improved and the wheelbase extended for greater cornering stability, while the track is 41 mm wider on Sandero and 29 mm on new Sandero Stepway to improve handling and behaviour on the road. The new engine mount has been improved with a lighter and stiffer cradle to minimise vibrations in the cabin too. It’s fine to drive but on first impressions it did lack some of the refinement and sophistication of more expensive models like the Renault Clio for example.

Equipment

As the first Dacia models based on the CMF modular platform, the new Sandero and Stepway benefit from more active safety features than before. All models feature automatic headlamps with improved visibility from the LED light units. Other features include emergency brake assist, hill start assist, blind spot warning and park assist.

The Sandero is available in Essence, Comfort and Prestige (Stepway only) trim.

Standard equipment includes 15″ steel wheels with covers, cruise control, air con, electric front windows, DAB radio with steering wheel-mounted controls, display integrated into the dashboard computer screen, smartphone holder on the dashboard, 2 front speakers and Bluetooth® connection.

The Comfort model adds 15″ flex wheels with covers, front grille with chrome, soft feel steering wheel, satin chrome trim inside, front fog lamps, power mirrors, keyless entry, automatic wipers, 8″ touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and rear view camera.

The Sandero Stepway is available from €15,990
The Sandero Stepway is available from €15,990 in Ireland

Dacia Sandero Pricing For Ireland

ENGINE TRIM ANNUAL ROAD TAX RRP
All-new Sandero
SCe 65 Essential €190 €12,990
TCe 100 LPG Essential €200 €14,490
TCe 100 LPG Comfort €200 €16,290
TCe 90 CVT Comfort €210 €18,290
All-new Sandero Stepway
TCe 100 LPG STEPWAY Essential €210 €15,990
TCe 100 LPG STEPWAY Comfort €210 €17,790
TCe 90 CVT STEPWAY Comfort €210 €19,790
TCe 100 LPG STEPWAY Prestige €200 €19,290
TCe 90 CVT STEPWAY Prestige €210 €21,290

Rivals

The new Dacia Sandero rivals cars such as the Kia Rio, Hyundai i20, Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.

Summary

The new Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway are maturing in the right way with enhanced quality and technology. One can simply not argue with the price. At a time when cars are getting even more expensive to buy, the Sandero remains refreshingly simple and affordable. These cars look and feel better on the road with a new platform bringing more technology to the mix. Some engines offer more zest than others and the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel is certainly one to watch! We look forward to bringing you a more detailed review later in the year.

Caroline Kidd

Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway on sale now!
Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway on sale now!