Parkers overall rating: 3.3 out of 5 3.3

Should you buy a Dacia Sandero?

Let’s be clear, the Sandero isn’t remotely a bad car, it just feels off-the-pace compared with much newer and more refined supermini rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and SEAT Ibiza. That’s fine providing you buy one from the cheaper echelons of the range – you wouldn’t expect it to be cutting-edge – but the reality is not many customers do that.

Sure, a multimedia system and air-con aren’t necessities, but they do make budget new-car motoring easier to embrace, but the trinkets fitted to higher spec models negate the Sandero’s value-for-money appeal.

Earlier Laureate and newer Comfort trims prove to be the most popular versions – they’re not the ones we would recommend, though, as the prices are too high for what’s supposed to be a budget hatchback.

That’s another reason we would overlook its Sandero Stepway sibling – the version that rides higher and wears SUV-inspired plastic cladding to make it look more rugged. In reality the differences are superficial – if you want a Dacia with impressive go-anywhere agility order a four-wheel drive-equipped Duster.

Although the dCi diesels may seem attractive because of the higher fuel economy, the petrols remain the better option – particularly the turbocharged TCe 90. That particular motor delivers a good balance of sensible pace and fine efficiency

The petrols are cheaper to buy too, and unless you are doing a lot of motorway miles, don’t expect the diesel to get particularly close to the official combined fuel economy figure. You will get better resale values with the diesels, however, but not so much as to outweigh the price premium when new.

For our money, the Essential TCe 90 slap-bang in the middle of the range is the sweetest spot. Consider adding the metallic paint option instead of the standard washing machine white finish to make it look more appealing.