BRITAIN'S cheapest new car range is becoming even better value for money as Dacia goes about revamping its entire line up.
A new engine, an automatic gearbox and smarter trim are among changes coming on stream at the Renault-owned budget brand.
Starting prices for the four models in the Dacia UK stable are unaltered keeping the Sandero hatchback as the cheapest new car on any lot and priced from £5,995.
In fact none of the Dacia models currently on sale in Britain has a starting price over £10,000 and the line up features the hugely accommodating Logan estate, the Sandero Stepway crossover and the Duster SUV.
It's a formula that has won the Romanian-based car company plenty of fans and since it arrived in Britain in 2013 it has notched up almost 100,000 sales at a rate that continues to grow.
We Brits love a bargain and on the new car scene they don't come much better than this.
There is nothing shabby about any Dacia and while the entry level Sandero may still not come with a radio, spend another £1,000 and you get not only that but also air conditioning, electric front windows and Bluetooth connectivity.
Even the range topping Sandero Laureate, complete with sat nav, a seven-inch touchscreen and cruise control among its standard features can be had for less than £9,000.
Options include a reversing camera, leather upholstery and a ‘real' spare wheel but even those would add an extra Â£800 to the price.
The high value proposition is all down to clever use of Renault technology past and present and sees Dacia benefiting from having an automotive heavyweight as a parent.
New to the range is a 75bhp 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine which now powers the entry level Sandero and the Logan MCV and they are nicely nippy as well as economical.
It's a development of the Renault Twingo engine and Dacia claims a 0 to 60 acceleration of around 14 seconds (not the quickest on the block but there's enough zip to deal with traffic) and an official fuel return of 54 to the gallon - and that's exactly how it performed.
Other tweaks across the range include smarter trim inside with carbon-effect panels and bright surrounds, a soft-touch steering wheel which is nicely comfortable and repositioning the front window switches on to the doors and away from the facia.
The same interior design is used on all models apart from the Duster which has a bit more of a macho feel to go with its SUV status.
If there is a niggle it is minor and that is the lack of a cover on the vanity mirrors which can cause a distraction when the sun visors are down.
The new SCe engine replaces the 1.2-litre unit in the previous models and is joined by a turbo version developing 90bhp and a 1.5-litre diesel which in the Sandero and Logan is claimed to be good for 80.7mpg with emissions of 90g/km.
In the Logan, which is priced from £6,995 and that has to be a steal for an estate with a Volvo-esque cargo capacity of 573 litres, the diesel costs from £10,195 and was good for an average of 56.5mpg on our run, all helped by an effective stop/start system and an eco mode.
The turbo petrol engine in the Sandero Stepway proved the thirstiest of the bunch at an average of 41.5mpg but the real eye opener was the new Duster with its six-speed dual clutch transmission.
The semi-automatic box is available only on the front-wheel-drive 1.5-litre 110bhp diesel Dusters and not only is it smooth and effective through the gears it is rated at 62.7mpg - a fraction off the manual alternative.
We averaged a shade under 50 to the gallon which in an automatic SUV is very commendable - and at Â£14,995 the new Duster EDC (that stands for efficient dual clutch) is more than Â£1,000 cheaper than anything similar.
Other improvements being introduced by Dacia include a smart new look to the nose of the cars, LED daytime running lights and a ‘stacked rectangle' light signature for the tail lamps.
On the cosmetic front they have the desired effect and push the cars' appearance upmarket.
All perform adequately, exhibit no bad habits and for the price are astonishingly well appointed.
Every one of the models has its own strengths, each is generously proportioned, family friendly and very accommodating. Pound for pound they are unbeatable value.