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 €9,990
Who is it aimed at? This Romanian-built hatchback is the cheapest new car on the market 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 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 €5,000 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 two trims to choose from Alternative and Signature levels. The entry level the Sandero features Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), four airbags, Daytime Running Lights, height adjustable headrests, 60/40 split folding rear seat, electric front windows and Radio with CD, MP3, USB and Bluetooth as standard. Moving up to the Signature trim level, additional standard equipment includes 15” alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, 7-funtion trip computer, cruise control, front fog lights, manual air conditioning and rear electric windows.
What about fuel economy? On a mix of motorway and city driving our test car returns a decent 5 litres per 100kms or 56.5mpg and emissions are 116 g/km so will cost €200 a year for motor tax.
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 – €15,550 – €20,930
VW Polo – €14,945 – €22,675
Renault Clio – €14,990 -€ 20,690
Dacia Sandero Ambiance TCe 90
Engine: 898cc three-cylinder petrol engine putting out 90bhp @ 5,250pm
Max speed: 175 kph
0-100kph: 11.1 seconds
Model price range: €9,990 – €14,490
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
2nd October, 2013