Dacia Sandero - Used

Car Review

Dacia Sandero, front
Dacia Sandero, front
Dacia Sandero, side
Dacia Sandero, interior
Dacia Sandero, interior
Dacia Sandero, rear seats

THE old saying cheap and cheerful isn't often applied to cars these days, but then there's a brand like Dacia.

One of the cheapest cars you can buy new is the Dacia Sandero five door hatchback, with prices starting at just £6,000.

Now of course, as you might expect, you don't get much kit in that basic model, but if that doesn't worry you, well carry on.

The Sandero is based on the last model Renault Clio and built in Romania, where wage costs are lower.

The company is owned by Renault and uses its range of smaller engines, so the diesel is the 1.5 unit used in the Clio, with 90bhp on tap.

It's more expensive than the petrol models and although it is capable of 60+mpg in real driving, people who only cover low to middling mileages are likely to be better off buying the petrols.

Earlier models had a 1.2 with 75bhp and a turbo version of the same unit with 90, but these were replaced by a three cylinder 1.0-litre with the same outputs.

The turbos are the quickest in the range and reasonable fun to drive.

The 1.2 has an official average of 48mpg, while the 1.0-litre is rated at 54 and the turbo at 56.

The turbo makes the 60 sprint in 10.7 seconds compared to the non-turbo's 13.7.

The petrol engines are smooth if a little noisy, but the diesel is a little more agricultural than when it's used in the Clio.

Of course, you would not expect such a reasonable car to be as nimble as the latest top superminis like the Skoda Fabia, but nonetheless, there's not too much roll in the corners and it grips well.

The uncommunicative steering lets things down a bit, but if you're thinking of a car like this, you're likely to want something that's A to B reliable rather than something that's fun to drive.

However, it is comfortable - something that most of us want - and in this, could give a few lessons in the supermini class!

The boot is a good size compared to rivals, and all models come with a split-folding back seat to increase that.

Even higher-spec Sanderos still feel on the cheap side with plemty of hard plastic around the interior. But it does feel well-built and strong.

Three trim levels start with Access, which has very little equipment but it does come with four airbags and traction control.

The mid-range Ambience includes a touchscreen for a mulitmedia system, remote locking and electric front windows, while the top Laureate adds air con, electric mirrors, cruise control and a height adjustable driver's seat.

Pay about £3,000 for a '13 13-reg Access 1.2 75bhp, or £4,750 for a '15 15-reg Laureate 1.0-litre 90bhp.

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