Outsider view: On the way up

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Dacia are transforming themselves from a budget manufacturer into a lifestyle retailer. Exciting designs such as the Duster, already in the pipeline and now being prepared for launch in 2010, and the bang-up-to-date Sandero Stepway are grabbing attention. The Stepway has already successfully debuted in South America, where it is marketed as a Renault and should appeal to image-conscious customers on a tight budget here in Europe. Boasting Renault engineering, offering a long guarantee and representing excellent value for money, the Stepway is sure to make new friends. Safety equipment is the only area that is wanting, since upgrades are not available as an option. Dacia will have to do better in this respect.