You'll have to admit that only 90 horsepower and 128 Nm (94.4 lb ft) of torque are underachieving figures from a modern 1.6-liter gasoline engine. Well, the thing is that the engine found under the hood of the Dacia Sandero Stepway we tested is as far from modern as saying "neat" instead of "cool" or "awesome". Identical to the one from the Sandero 1.6 MPI we drove before, it managed to provide even less impressive figures, both from the performance or the fuel economy point of view.
The antique two valves per cylinder arrangement and the multipoint indirect injection manage to "steal" pretty much from the engine's potential. To give you guys an idea of how old this engine's conception is, you should just learn that it was introduced for the first time in this form in the early nineties, on the first generation of the Renault Megane.
To put it in short, the engine is the least powerful 1.6-liter in its class, while the fuel economy it provides is mighty far from being efficient, especially on a car such as the Sandero Stepway. As we mentioned in the regular Sandero 1.6 MPI test drive, we did like its power and torque curves, which are pretty flat, therefore making it pretty OK for city driving since you don't have to change gears so often.
Naturally, the lack of oomph at higher rpm is present on the Stepway as well, while the Renault-sourced JH five-speed transmission is as imprecise as on the regular Sandero. Also, another problem with the gearbox is the way you put it into reverse. There was more than one occasion when we got it into fourth instead of reverse, since they are so close together. Other than that, every technical bit is identical with the ones found on the normal Sandero, except for the McPherson suspension, which has a longer travel.Continue reading