This could be the shortest road test we’ve ever published. The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest car you can buy in the UK. But, it’s actually pretty good. Full stop.
Well, actually there’s a little more to say. Yes, the most basic Sandero just limbos under the £6,000 bar at £5,995. Among the economies are the fact that it comes without a radio (but, then, when I was a lad, most cars came without a radio!). In a precise opposite of the Henry Ford quote, you can also get it in any colour you want, as long as it is white.
It’s not the basic model that I tested, but even the Dacia Sandero 1.5 dCi 90 Ambience cost just £8,395. That still means you are getting a family-sized, five-door hatchback for the price of a pretty basic supermini.
At this level in the range, the car you get is also reasonably well equipped. True, there is no adjustment on the steering wheel, but you do get electric windows in the front, remote central locking, Bluetooth connectivity, a radio with MP3 CD and USB connections.
The one extra on the test car that I would treat as essential is the £95 emergency spare wheel. Also tempting for peace-of-mind are the extended warranties. You can opt to extend up to five years at £395, or to seven years for £850.
You don’t buy a car like this for its refined interior and choice quality of trim materials. But, although you can see that everything is produced to a budget, this is quite a comfortable and attractive cabin – albeit with a few exposed screw heads to remind you of the budget nature of this model.
Not having an adjustable steering column does mean that fine tuning the driving position was not an option. I would also have preferred another inch, or so, of backwards adjustment on the driver’s seat. In saying so, I recognise that at least 90% of drivers will find it just fine.
Space in the back is a whole lot more usable than in many superminis and the boot is a good size.
You will not be surprised if I say that the Dacia Sandero 1.5 dCi sets no new standards in terms of its dynamics. But it does the job, efficiently and well.
The power output of the common rail 1,461cc diesel engine is 90 hp. That translates into a reasonable 12.1 seconds 0-62 mph and a top speed of 107 mph.
The combined fuel c consumption figure is an impressive 74.3 mpg and CO2 emissions are 99 g/km. This puts the Dacia Sandero 1.5 dCi in Band A for UK car tax, meaning that running costs are further cut by not having to pay for the annual tax disc.
It is not the most responsive, the most refined or the most hushed of power units. The steering is not the most communicative and the handling is not likely to get an enthusiasts pulse racing.
But, as transport to get you from A to B in pretty good comfort, efficiently and economically it is good. When you factor that you get a lot of car for your money, well… let’s just say we can expect to see a lot more Dacia Sanderos on our roads in the coming months and years.