The price you pay (if price is the right word) is gear-changing. You’re in top gear far less than you would be in a car with, say, a 1.5-litre engine.

Sixth is geared at over 28mph per 1000rpm, which means you never select it until you’re doing 50mph- plus. You spend a lot of time in third, fourth and fifth, which seems wrong at first, because you think it’s going to blow a hole in your fuel consumption. Only it doesn’t. We’re averaging a tad under 50mpg, and I’m using the revs more freely now than ever. But why doesn’t the tacho have a redline?

My gripe about engine flat spots persists, but with familiarity you drive around it. The bottom line is that I’m enjoying the car. Every single day, I like comparing the modesty of its name and price with its excellent all-round delivery. It’s easy to see why so many private buyers choose the Sandero.

Mileage: 5235

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One key feature – 30 June 2021

The Stepway’s key card is turning out to be an unexpected boon. I love the way you don’t have to remember to lock the car – when paying in filling stations, for example. I was initially worried about losing the card (feeling it there was no substitute
for the reassuring rattle of a regular key), but if you keep it in your wallet, there’s never a problem.

Mileage: 4398

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Welcoming the Sandero to the fleet – 23rd June 2021

I have to admit that it was quite a change. Going from a £200,000-plus Bentley Bentayga with a blizzard of classy but pricey options to a Dacia Sandero Stepway Prestige priced at £14,605 – including the only two offered extras, metallic paint at £560 and a £150 spare wheel – is the kind of step that a real car buyer never makes. But I was really looking forward to it.

For one thing, our road testers had already established that the Dacia is a very decent car according to the ‘fitness for purpose’ criterion that guides all well-founded verdicts. And Dacia’s own sales experience across Europe, which has established the Sandero as the most bought retail car going, was irresistible. I have a weakness for simple, affordable cars, and so do 1.3 million Sandero buyers (around 10% of them British).