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The Dacia Sandero Stepway

The Sandero Stepway will be Dacia’s third model in the UK when it arrives in May 2013

RENAULT has announced that a third model will be sold under its “smart buy” Dacia budget brand in the UK. Already Dacia’s Duster SUV is scheduled to arrive in January at prices from £8,995, along with the Sandero super-mini, which starts at £5,995.

That’s given cash-strapped business buyers plenty to think about, but now we know that the Sandero Stepway, a crossover based on the Sandero, will arrive in May 2013 too. Stepway models will cost £600 more than their mainstream Sandero equivalents, although prices will start at £7,995, as the Stepway will only be available in the upper two of the three Sandero trim levels, Ambiance and Lauréate, and the base Sandero engine, a normally-aspirated 1.2-litre petrol four, won’t be offered in the Stepway either.

The Stepway feels surprisingly different from the standard Sandero to drive and to travel in.

For the most part, the other changes that turn a normal Sandero into a Stepway are mainly cosmetic. Outside there off-road-style front and rear scuff-plates and wheel-arch extensions – as well as those roof-bars, of course.

Inside, equipment levels mirror those of the standard Sandero. Ambiance versions get Bluetooth, metallic paint and a radio/CD system, as well as an ECO mode button. Renault reckons that can improve fuel consumption by up to ten per cent by limiting torque.

The top-of-the-range Lauréate gets air-con, a chrome front grille, full electric windows and electric heated door mirrors. There’s also a MediaNav seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system with satellite navigation, AUX and USB inputs and four speakers, as well as cruise control, a speed limiter and rear parking sensors.

Finally, a £495 Touring Pack, which features a boot luggage net and transverse roof bars is also available as an option.

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