Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Good Stepway on Which to Build

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Good Stepway on Which to Build

Article excerpt

THERE is doom, gloom and then there is Dacia.

The Renault subsidiary Romanian-made models are the quiet success story in a year that has ruffled feathers of some peacock producers who've made a lot of noise about Brexit and dire warnings of impending disaster.

Meanwhile, Dacia and its delighted 161 UK dealers have ratcheted up sales over 5% in the first six months when the market share was down closer to 10%.

Ironically, the Dacia increase was matched by a near identical decrease in sales by its Renault parent, so you wonder how many buyers are simply trading across while remaining with their familiar dealer? The Dacia brand is not big in range or numbers in the UK but two-thirds are met with the Sandero hatch and Stepway SUV and it's the latter that is gaining ground in a market that is slowly moving away from saloons and even some hatchbacks in the family sector.

Despite its looks, the Sandero Stepway compact SUV is front wheel drive only and comes in three trim levels with 75 and 90bhp petrol and a 90bhp diesel.

Earlier this year they were facelifted and updated inside with a better-quality sound system and less austere trim, but I think there is still room for improving the tactile appearance and feel.

The higher power turbo-petrol engine provided respectable performance from rest and through the gears but it let you know how hard it was working.

It was at its best cruising main roads but if you needed to use the gears the clutch action was pleasantly progressive, the gearshift short and it responded quickly through mid-range.

Our overall fuel consumption reflected the fact it had a five-speed gearbox and was not particularly economical, and with a load aboard it was obviously working hard.

I would have liked more feedback through the steering although its turning circle was good and it did not suffer from kick-back vibration while the brakes were well up to their job at any speed and the parking brake securely held on our regular test slope. …

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