A DACIA is the first new car of choice for used-buyers who want to move up the motoring ladder.
From its UK launch in 2013, the Renault-owned Dacia brand sold 17,000 in 12-months and it's rapidly climbed ever since adding about five per cent each year.
Two-thirds of sales are the Sandero hatch and Stepway SUV with the Duster accounting for 30 per cent of registrations.
Dacia has the Duster SUV in 2WD and 4WD, four trim levels, 110hp diesel or 115 and 120 petrol engines from under £9,500 to almost £16,900.
The Logan Estate is priced between £6,995 and £11,400 in three versions with the 90hp diesel or choice of 75 and 90hp petrol engines and up to 1,518 litres loadspace.
The Sandero is a five-door hatch in normal or the SUV-like Stepway bodysyle, priced from £5,995 to £11,395 but only two-wheel-drive despite its appearance. It comes in three trim specifications and 75hp or 90 petrol units and 90hp diesel.
Dacia brand manager Louise Sullivan said the increase in popularity is down to the value-for-money proposition, equipment and warranty appeal, particularly to the 47 per cent of drivers who have previously only owned a used car.
"We are getting people coming over to us from all brands, including up market older models, who really appreciate the Dacia package and pricing," she said.
Dacia has 161 UK dealers who are already Renault outlets and they have a good customer base around the country.
The economy can also influence buying habits at times, said Ms Sullivan, who added: "If people are feeling uncertain about the economy they want to hang on to their money, look for some security, and see our brand with its Renault backing providing a new car which is not too expensive. As more appear on the roads buyers also feel more confident."
For the better off families a new Dacia is often seen as a good second car to have for general runabout journeys rather than a potentially troublesome second-hand model.
In 2017 there is for the first time a Dacia Duster automatic option with the 110 diesel engine and this is expected to widen further the car's appeal and a 1.0 three-cylinder low emission petrol engine is coming later this year to the range.
Dacia has facelifted the models front and back, given them a make-over inside and generally raised the trim level quality and included a higher quality sound system for buyers to enjoy.
We opted to briefly try out the best selling Sandero Stepway and could immediately see its appeal to first-time new car buyers.
Even with the metallic paint and emergency spare wheel it worked out under £9,400 and it comes with a threee year, 60,000 miles warranty.
The powertrain on this model was the proven and reliable 900cc 90hp turbo-petrol engine mated to a five speed manual box.
Even if modest in output t had an easy going performance and composure on main roads. Top speed is 104mph, 0 to 60 takes around 11 seconds and officially it is rated at 55.4mpg with emissions of 115g/km.
On winding roads demanding frequent gearchanges the noise level went up but the long travel clutch and short-throw five-speed lever were comfortable, as was the steering.
You could hear the suspension working away and the ride was slightly firm but rarely shook us about and the seats were comfortable.
Instruments were a little basic and small, a lot of plastic was visible and oddments room was only reasonable.
For the money it offers new car reassurance when you might be tempted into a second hand car and a lot of buyers want that, which explains why Dacia has been successful.