- Most affordable car in the UK at present
- More boot space than a Ford Fiesta
- Rivals are more fun to drive
- Standard kit is not substantial on any trim
- Diesel engine is noisy
Dacia's second-generation Sandero enters the UK market for the first time in the supermini’s history, and it is the cheapest car on sale in the UK (based on official list prices). Prices start at just £5,995, rising to £10,395 for the top-of-the-range Laureate trim.
This model is aimed at the budget end of the market. Like the Dacia Duster 4x4 it's built in Romania but its main rivals in terms of size are Ford’s Fiesta, Vauxhall’s Corsa and the Kia Rio. Its ace up the sleeve, however, is its competitive price - designed to turn heads of those looking for a supermini that won't break the bank.
Dacia Sandero equipment
Just like the Dacia Duster there are three trim levels: Access, Ambiance and the top-of-the-range Laureate. The entry-level Access is fitted with airbags, ABS and power steering as standard but customers will have to live without alloy wheels, electric mirrors and aircon. A DAB radio was added towards the end of 2016.
The mid-spec Ambiance gets a CD player, USB socket and aux-in jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows, body-coloured bumpers, front foglights and a height-adjustable driver’s seat, while the Sandero Laureate gets alloys, cruise control, electric rear windows, heated electric door mirrors and a trip computer.
Three engines were available on the Sandero range from launch. A 1.2-litre 75hp petrol engine returns a claimed average fuel economy of 47.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 137g/km. A 0.9-litre 90hp petrol engine has fuel economy of 57.6mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 109g/km and a 90hp 1.5-litre diesel engine averages 80.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 90g/km.
Late in 2016, Dacia replaced the 1.2-litre petrol with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. It produces 75hp and returns a claimed 54.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 117g/km to bring running costs down at the entry point of the engine range.
The Dacia Sandero gets a 320-litre boot with 60/40 split-fold rear seats, while a durable cabin and dashboard completes the layout. This trumps rivals including the Ford Fiesta that has a load space of 295 litres with the rear seats in place while the Kia Rio has a load space of 288 litres with the rear seats up.
It blends value with a fairly decent driving car. With no frills, the Sandero should attract buyers wanting to get from A to B in a straightforward and reliable manner. By undercutting its rivals this is the most affordable car in the UK which will worry established rivals like Ford and Vauxhall.
The 90hp three-cylinder model is the pick of the bunch in Laureate specification. It lacks the character of other three-cylinder engines but it does make sense if you are going to use the Sandero occasionally out of town. Combined fuel economy is claimed at 57.6mpg while CO2 emissions are 109g/km.