The latest Renault Sandero Stepway, badged under the Dacia brand in international markets, has not gotten top marks in its latest Euro NCAP crash test. The Romanian-built hatch scored well in some areas but was brought down to two stars due to shortcomings in standard safety specifications.
Crash protection for the inhabitants of the Sandero Stepway was noted to be respectable. After impact, the passenger compartment of the remained stable in the frontal offset test. Dummy readings indicated protection that was at least adequate for the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger. However, structures in the dashboard presented a risk of injury to occupants of different sizes and to those sitting in different positions, and protection for this part of the body was downgraded to marginal.
Chest protection was also rated as marginal for both front seat occupants, based on dummy readings of chest compression. The Sandero Stepway is quite small and light and analysis of the deformable barrier after the test revealed that it would be a benign crash opponent. In the full-width rigid barrier test, protection of the front seat driver and rear seat passenger was at least adequate for all critical parts of the body.
In the side barrier test, representing an impact by another vehicle, chest compression indicated a marginal level of protection. In the side pole test, protection of all critical body areas was rated as good or adequate.
An assessment of the excursion of an occupant in a far-side impact showed poor protection and the Sandero Stepway does not have a counter-measure, such as a centre airbag, for this accident type. Tests on the front seats and head restraints demonstrated good protection against whiplash injuries in the event of a rear-end collision. However, a geometric analysis of the rear seats indicated marginal whiplash protection.
Considering these notes, the NCAP states that the Sandero Stepway would have scored four-stars but due to the poor level of standard safety features, it was lobbed down to two. In European markets, the hatch is fitted with radar-only autonomous emergency braking but this system is only able to detect cars; not passengers or cyclists. A poor vulnerable road users and safety assist score is what brought the overall result down.
NCAP praises the Sandero Stepway for including a seatbelt reminder system as standard for the front and rear seats and a driver-set speed limiter. However, the lack of lane assistance hurts its case. To its credit, the active emergency braking system performed well in tests of its response to other vehicles with accidents avoided or mitigated in many cases but its inability to detect pedestrians or cyclists seriously hurt its score.
The protection provided by the bonnet to the head of a struck pedestrian was predominantly good or adequate but poor results were recorded at the base of the windscreen and on the stiff windscreen pillars. The bumper provided good or adequate protection to pedestrians’ legs at all test locations. However, protection of the pelvis was poor over much of the width of the car.