Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Inexpensive running costs
- Comfortable ride
- Variety of efficient powertrains
- Rivals are better to drive
- Low build quality
- Lacks advanced equipment on most models
What's the Dacia Sandero like?
Budget car brand Dacia is wholly owned by Renault and uses its range of smaller engines.
Its diesel, for example, is the excellent 1.5-litre unit used in the Clio, Megane and many other Renaults as well as by Nissan in the Qashqai and Micra.
How do they keep the prices so low? By having access to Renault's huge parts list and engines and because the factory that produces the cars is in Romania, where wage costs are far lower than in the rest of Europe.
The Sandero is a larger than you would think, family-sized five door supermini based on the chassis and suspension of the Clio, so it has a very good starting point
And while the cheapest cars in the range come with very basic 'Post Office' spec, the rest are reasonably equipped and still come at very good prices.
Diesel models are a good bit more expensive than petrols, and although they're capable of over 60mpg in real driving, people who only cover low to middling mileages are likely to be better off buying the petrols.
Earlier models up to 2016 started with a 1.2-litre that had 75bhp, but this was replaced by a 1.0-litre in 2016, which had the same power and performance but better economy. The 1.2-litre gets to 60mph in a leisurely 14.0 seconds and can do 48mpg, while the 1.0-litre covers the sprint in the same time but manages 54mpg.
Finally, there's a turbo version of the 1.0-litre with 90bhp, and this covers the sprint in a creditable 10.7 seconds while still returning 57mpg.
The petrol engines are smooth if a little noisy, but the diesel is a slightly more agricultural than when it’s used in other vehicles. In this guise, it produces 88bhp, covers 0 to 60mph in 11.4 seconds and is rated at an amazing 80mpg.
Of course, you would not expect such a reasonable car to be as nimble as the latest top superminis like the Škoda Fabia, but nonetheless, there’s not too much roll in the corners, and it grips well.
The uncommunicative steering lets things down a bit, but if you’re thinking of a car like this, you’re likely to want something that’s A to B reliable rather than something that’s fun to drive.
However, it is comfortable – something that most of us want – and in this, could give a few lessons to a number of others in the supermini class.
The boot is a good size compared to rivals, and all models come with a split-folding back seat to increase that.
Even higher-spec Sandero models can feel on the cheap side, with plenty of hard plastic around the interior. But they all feel well-built and strong.
Three main trim levels start with Access, which has very little equipment as you might expect, but it does come with four airbags and traction control.
The mid-range Ambience includes a touchscreen for the multimedia system, remote locking and electric front windows, while the top Laureate adds aircon, electric mirrors, cruise control, and a height adjustable driver’s seat.
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Find your Dacia Sandero your way with CarStore
The Dacia Sandero is a budget friendly option in the supermini segment perfect for those looking for a no-frills approach to motoring. With a well-sized boot and highly economical powertrains on offer, you'll struggle to find a car that's as cost-effective as the Sandero.
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