Bargain Dacia is no

joke

Dacia Sandero, front
Dacia Sandero, front
Dacia Sandero, side
Dacia Sandero, rear
Dacia Sandero, interior
Dacia Sandero, boot

PEOPLE joke about the cheap as chips Dacia Sandero being basic' Post Office' spec and not even worth its very reasonable price.

Don't you believe it. It's one of the bargain small cars on the market as far as I'm concerned with agility and comfort in spades, decent economy and a lot more than adequate performance.

I drove a petrol model powered by parent company Renault's brilliant little 900cc three cylinder turbo and it's marvellous.

It pulls remarkably well from reasonably low revs through the standard five-speed gearbox, the clutch is light and there's good space for the left foot.

Through the gears, its quickly up to 70 and can happily keep up at motorway speeds. It is very willing, with hardly any turbo lag and it always sounds sweet unless taken below about 1,700 revs, when it sometimes makes a thrumming noise if asked for acceleration.

Overtaking is easily possible in thirdand fourthgears, and there's even decent acceleration in fifth.

In normal driving I would expect economy to be about 45 miles per gallon, which is more than fair.

Ride comfort is very good, with little bump thump even over some very rough roads and while the seats are a bit basic, they do offer some support in the corners.

The steering is not as direct as some but the handling is nonetheless excellent and, despite some roll, the road holding is also very good.

Few cars are perfect and when you consider that the Dacia costs just £8,640 as I drove it, it has to be one of the best bargains on the market.

The interior has hard plastic all around but, at that price, there have to be some savings.

Equipment is very good for the money, with electric front windows, remote locking, an FM/AM radio with aux and USB and fingertip controls for it in the best place - on the steering column.

FAST FACTS

Price: £8,640

Mechanical: 90bhp, 898cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 109mph

0-62mph: 11.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 9

C02 emissions: 109g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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