Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Stylish, modern shapes, rendered in solid plastic
  • Logical, clear layout, some soft-touch surfaces on Comfort trim
  • Utilitarian, but not unattractive

Although functional, the previous Sandero's inteior always looked a bit odd; fairly cheap-feeling plastics in shapes that were unlike the design of rivals and rather oddly proportioned. That's been eradicated entirely; there are bold, simple lines with angular vents and on the Comfort, a contrasting fabric strip that feels very contemporary, repeated on the door armrests.

Although it's considerably more stylish - and much higher quality - the plastics are still rugged, solid and fairly uniform throughout.

Improved technology and details like contrasting stitching on the seats go a long way to eradicating the 'second-class' feel of the Sandero, but there's a lot more to it than just looking fancier. The controls for heating, seat adjustment, lighting and infotainment are all satisfyingly solid to use. A refreshing change as more premium cars move to hit-or-miss touch controls.

All models except the Access get a a height-adjustable driver’s seat and armrest, reach and rake adjustable steering column, open centre console storage and manual air conditioning. 

What equipment do you get?

Comfort is well-specified for the money, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system - MediaNav. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, though still via a wired connection where the highest-specification Stepway offers wireless smartphone mirroring.

There's iGo navigation (though postcode entry seems limited still) and a DAB radio as well.

There's a smartphone holder by the screen, but it's a little cramped for larger handsets; however, that's where the USB port for connection is located. On the Stepway's top trim level the MediaNav system includes wireless smartphone mirroring - with an optional wireless charging pad - so you may want to go for the taller Sandero to get those features.

Comfort models also feature electric windows all-round, electric adjustment for the door mirrors (finished in body colour), a leather-feel steering wheel, keyless entry, front fog-lights, and automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.

The Essential swaps out the MediaNav system for a clever 'flap' on the dashboard that can hold your smartphone in the same location as a typical display, and uses an app to display car information (the radio/media player uses the dashboard's LCD display otherwise). It only has two speakers, and loses some of the soft-feel trim. It does feature cruise control with a speed limiter, but the rear windows are manual, as are the door mirrors.

The Essential is where most people would consider the Sandero range to be a good multi-purpose car, and it's less than £10,000 with the TCe 90 engine (we'd recommend the extra for the Bi-fuel though).

You get the core safety equipment in the Access, and electric power steering and front windows, but there's no audio equipment (just wiring) and no air conditioning.

Comfort

  • Old-school, soft-suspension comfort
  • Spacious front and back with great visibility
  • Well-suited to neglected roads, refined but not quiet

Dacia's cars are known for being designed to cope with developing markets, which explains why they've got long-travel, soft suspension, steel wheels and relatively large tyres. These are a recipe for good comfort, and the Sandero doesn't disappoint here. It's not exactly 'floating over potholes' clever but it's less harsh and intrusive when you encounter one than many cars costing twice as much.

The seats on the Comfort specification are trimmed in fairly breathable fabric and have subtle bolsters that hold you in place without feeling 'tight', and there's enough adjustment between the seat and steering wheel to get a comfortable driving position for long journeys. There's even a pop-down narrow armrest on the higher-specification car.

Noise levels around town and at idle are admirably low - much quieter than most diesel cars - and up to 70mph road and wind noise increase predictably without becoming unpleasant given the cost of the Sandero. You can still hold a conversation or hear the relatively low-powered radio.

Up to 50mph it's even quite nice having the window open, where many cars become so blustery over 30 you tend to leave them closed.

For the price, the Sandero is extremely good - and crucially, is more than capable of long drives without discomfort for the front occupants, and arguably with better comfort for rear occupants than many rivals thanks to the generous amount of space available.