Dacia Sandero continues to shine

Dacia Sandero

Image:Dacia Sandero

We continue to see low price entrants into the car market, but one which is still making headlines and making progress is Dacia. Part of Renault, Dacia was originally a Romanian company building models like the Renault 12 under licence from the French manufacturer in the 1960s.

Renault took a majority stake in 1999. Fast forward and we now have a modern, keenly priced range including a much acclaimed new seven-seater.

Our focus for this test is the Sandero which in second-generation guise continued to win praise. In both looks and the drive it feels like a more expensive car than is actually the case. There are cheaper non-tactile interior plastics, as one might expect at this price point, but in Expression trim as tested the standard equipment list is generous. Material trim adorns the fascia, keyless entry, power door mirrors, Bluetooth with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, cruise control, navigation, air conditioning and powered door mirrors, auto wipers, rear parking camera and sensors all come in the price of €14,817/£12,995. This makes it somewhat of a star in the affordable price league. The Sandero range has an additional trim level of Expression priced from €15,957/£13,995.

There is just one engine size – 1.0-litre, three-cylinder – in three different power outputs including an LPG bi-fuel version. The turbocharged power 90 hp unit develops a much more useable power and the LPG bi-fuel 100 hp. A CVT automatic is offered along with manual gears.

The Sandero looks good and with the 90 hp power unit it drives well and feels perky under acceleration, easily keeping up with traffic on A-roads and motorways. There’s the characteristic thrum from the three-cylinder engine but it really is a refined and smooth drive. My driving week involved a lengthy journey as well as commuting and the Sandero proved comfortable and very economical.

When you look across the board, in purely price terms, at the range of cars available to buyers, the Sandero offers keen pricing and the back-up of a large dealer network plus generous equipment. Many will doubtless dismiss the Sandero as rather ordinary in a market where brand snobbery still carries so much weight. It’s most definitely transport, rather than a car enthusiast dream, but nonetheless it’s a car that wholeheartedly deserves the praise that has been directed its way. Unlike earlier versions this latest model should be more durable and desirable on the second hand market.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Dacia Sandero Expression TCe 90

Engine: 0.9 turbocharged, 3-cylinder, petrol developing 90 hp

Gears: 5-speed manual

Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 11.7 seconds/Maximum Speed 175 kph (111 mph)

Economy: 5.3 l/km (53.3 mpg) WLTP

Emissions: 119 g/km

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.