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Dacia Sandero

New from £13,575 / £196 p/m

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Petrol or bi fuel
Automatic or manual
Hatchback
5 seats
5 doors
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Is the Dacia Sandero Hatchback a good car?

Read our expert review

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Words by: Dan Trent

"Freshened up with a corporate nose job, the Dacia Sandero remains one of the cheapest cars you can buy, with monthly finance costs comparable with what you might be paying for your smartphone subscription or TV sports package. Without ever hiding its bargain price point the Sandero is also a more stylish and well-built car than before, with the space of superminis like the Renault Clio on which it is based but at a cost undercutting smaller city cars from a class below, like the Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto. While this update removes the previous super-basic entry model the Sandero is still incredibly affordable and opens up new-car ownership to those who might previously have only been able to afford a used one. Click here for our review of the crossover inspired Sandero Stepway version."

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Running costs for a Dacia Sandero

5/5

True, the days of the sub-£10,000 Dacia now seem over but monthly payments for an entry level version are cheap enough to make a brand-new Sandero seem a viable alternative to public transport, let alone a second-hand version of a supposedly fancier alternative. Running costs are also pretty keen, the regular TCe 90 petrol doing over 50mpg by official figures while the Bi-Fuel version gives you the option of running on cheaper LPG (or liquefied petroleum gas) thanks to an additional fuel tank. With both topped up it can travel as far as 800 miles without having to refuel, according to Dacia’s claims. With range like that visits to the petrol stations are going to be every month or two, not a weekly chore.

Reliability of a Dacia Sandero

3/5

The Sandero is based on the same platform and engines as the current Clio and, as a brand, Renault has a decent if not dazzling reputation for reliability. The general no-nonsense simplicity of the Sandero counts in its favour here, though, and does potentially mean less to go wrong. The warranty is an industry standard three years or 60,000 miles, but you can, if you wish, pay to extend that for up to six years or 100,000 miles and Dacia offers a range of good value fixed cost maintenance plans to keep a lid on ongoing expense.

Safety for a Dacia Sandero

4/5

The previous Sandero cut some costs on safety gear but another benefit of being based on the modern Clio is the improved tech Dacia can carry over, not to mention the stronger overall structure. All feature automated emergency braking if you don’t respond to a hazard in the car’s path, multiple airbags, a hill start assist system, tyre pressure monitors and Isofix fixings for two child seats in the back. There’s also an adjustable speed limiter/cruise control system, the higher trim level also getting reversing sensors. The standard Sandero doesn’t offer features like blind-spot warnings, but this is available on the slightly more expensive Stepway version if you feel you need it.

How comfortable is the Dacia Sandero

3/5

While standard features like electric windows seem positively decadent compared with the previous Sandero, the entry-level version is still pretty basic. Where other models get a split-fold rear seat the base Essential has a one-piece rear bench, though the steering wheel now adjusts for reach as well as height. This isn’t a deal-breaker as the fundamentals of the seating position and suchlike are pretty decent, even if the seats are a bit soft and lacking in support on longer journeys. In terms of ride comfort the Sandero has absolutely zero pretensions to being a hot hatch and adopts a more easy-going, softer character than many more mainstream rivals. There are some rough edges to the ride but, generally, this is no bad thing and it’s a relaxed and easy car to drive, with decent refinement for all its no-frills demeanour. Cost cutting includes bare painted metal in the boot where most cars these days are plastic lined, and this can scratch if you’re loading kids’ pushchairs, scooters or bikes in and out. Given how much the car costs these are small details you likely won’t lose sleep over, though.

Features of the Dacia Sandero

4/5

As we’ve already said, the cheapest version really lives up to Dacia’s ‘Everything you need, nothing you don’t’ mantra. With the removal of the properly stripped back version all Sanderos at least get basic (OK, very basic) infotainment with a two-speaker DAB radio you can Bluetooth your phone to for wider listening options. Upgrade to the higher of the two trims and that becomes a more modern touch-screen through which you can use your apps via CarPlay or Android Auto. In tech terms this puts the Sandero on terms with more mainstream superminis and gives you all the functionality you really need to go about your daily business. Visual changes for this updated Sandero include a more modern looking grille and logo, some earthy paint colours and more. You still get steel wheels on the higher model but at least hide behind clever covers that make them look like alloys while being less vulnerable to kerbing and other everyday damage. Very Dacia.

Power for a Dacia Sandero

3/5

Having ditched the most basic engine option all Sanderos now use a version of the same 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol from parent company Renault, this driving through a five-speed manual gearbox. An old-school choice in this day and age but perhaps Renault had a job lot of them lying around that it needed rid of. If you want an automatic you’ll now have to upgrade to the Stepway version, which costs quite a bit more. In standard TCe 90 form it has – you guessed it – 90 horsepower, which is enough to be going on with without feeling your socks risk being blown off. It’s not especially refined and the cut-out of the stop-start system feels very rough but you can turn that off on the basis it’s still very good on fuel. The Bi-Fuel version offers a small power increase when running on LPG (you can switch manually if you choose) and feels usefully more sprightly as a result.

Lease deals

These deals are based on terms of 8,000 miles, for a 36 month lease with a 6 months initial payment.

Standard equipment

Expect the following equipment on your Dacia Sandero Hatchback. This may vary between trim levels.

Other vehicles in the Sandero family

Sandero Stepway Hatchback

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    Smart new look

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    Still fantastically affordable

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    Loads of tech for the money

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Your questions answered

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