Dacia Sandero Stepway• Starting from £7,995
• Like the Sandero, but more rugged
• 70.6mpg if you for the diesel

The Dacia Sandero Stepway will offer customers a tough alternative to the standard Sandero model, which shocked industry experts with its £5,995 starting price last month.

The main features of the £7,995 Stepway are 40mm more ground clearance, front and rear skidplates, two-tone bumpers, foglights, wide wheelarches and roof bars.

Dacia Sandero Stepway

Step inside and there is a choice of a dark carbon or two-tone dashboard. Higher trim levels get chrome instrument and air-vent surrounds, while the Laureate model benefits from a seven-function trip computer. Leather upholstery is available as an option.

The Laureate (from £9,795) also boasts air-con, cruise control, MediaNav seven-inch touchscreen system, AUX and USB inputs and a speed limiter.

A simple line-up consists of either Ambiance or Laureate trims and a 90bhp petrol or diesel engine. Petrol versions can average 52.3mpg, while the diesel returns 70.6mpg and emissions are 125 and 105g/km respectively. Both models feature an ECO mode button, which can reduce fuel use by around ten per cent, by reducing engine torque.

Dacia Sandero Stepway

Lift the hatchback and there’s a 320-litre boot, expanding to 1,200 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded.

On sale from January 1, 2013 the Stepway will be available with the option to extend its warranty to five or seven years, costing £395 and £850 respectively. Dacia expects that it could make up as much has half of all Sandero sales, the sales split achieved where it has already gone on sale in South America and Europe.

By Andy Goodwin, senior road tester