Dacia’s Sandero claims to be the cheapest new car in the UK but is it good value? We get behind the wheel to find out
What is it? Renault’s budget brand Dacia is all about providing simple and functional cars at an affordable price. Roughly the same size as the Renault Clio, the Sandero is a compact hatchback starting at just £5,995
Who is it aimed at? This Romanian-built hatchback is the cheapest new car in the UK so for those whose finances have always dictated a second hand car, a new car may now just be possible.
Styling? The Sandero is not going to win any design awards, it maybe a little dated compared to rivals but on the road we think it looks reasonably smart.
Under the Bonnet: Our Sea Blue test car was powered by a hard working turbocharged three cylinder petrol engine. Other engine options include a 1.2 litre petrol or a very frugal 1.5 diesel.
What about Inside? Inside functionality has the edge over design and grey plastics cover every surface. While it feels on the cheap side there is a durable and understated quality nonetheless and it manages to feel fairly light and airy. Logically laid out the dials and controls are all easy to use and behind the steering wheel there is just enough adjustments to get comfortable. Much more importantly it seats five adults in comfort, there is plenty of head and leg room and a very decent boot.
On the Road? For a car that undercuts its nearest rivals by about £4,000 it is remarkably civilised on the road. There is nothing particularly memorable about the drive but there is little to complain about also. It is reasonably quiet, comfortable and self assured on the road.
And Safety? Awarded four stars out of a possible five by the EuroNCAP for safety the Sandero comes equipped with antilock brakes, electronic stability control, emergency brake assist and emergency brakeforce distribution as standard.
Options? There are three versions to choose from: Access, Ambiance and Lauréate. The entry-level version Access trim comes equipped with 15” steel wheels, power assisted steering, a 60/40 split folding rear seat and even daytime running lights. For £600 more, the mid-level Ambiance offers such niceties as radio CD player with fingertip remote controls, USB and AUX input, Bluetooth, remote central locking, electric front windows, body coloured bumpers and 15” ‘Colorado’ wheel trims. The range topping version is Lauréate and is equipped with air conditioning, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, cruise control and electric rear windows as standard. For an £250 there is a fully-integrated 7-inch touchscreen navigation and multimedia system available.
What about fuel economy? On a mix of motorway and city driving our test car returns a decent 56.5mpg and emissions are 116 g/km .
Okay so the Verdict? It’s hard not to be impressed with the Sandero. You get a huge amount for your money. And yes if you are stepping from a Fiesta, an Adam or a Clio into a Sandero you’ll probably be distinctly underwhelmed but once behind the wheel it drives fine, offers plenty of room and certainly deserves to send ripples through the Budget car market.
Why you’ll buy one? Price; Spacious; Practical
Why you won’t? Basic, Nosiy; Dull
Ford Fiesta – £9,995 – £17,995
VW Polo – £10,650 – £16,255
Renault Clio – £10,750 – £19,995
Dacia Sandero Ambiance TCe 90
Engine: 898cc three-cylinder petrol engine putting out 90bhp @ 5,250pm
Max speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Model price range: £5,995 – £8,795
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 4 stars
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 56.5 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 320 Litres (1200)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
25th September, 2013