DACIA UPGRADES ITS BUDGET SANDERO HATCHBACK FOR 2017
The Sandero has been famed as a robust, budget hatchback, but now there’s a new one. Andrew Evans tests it out...
Alongside a lightly reworked exterior facelift, the new Sandero brings with it a new engine. This three-cylinder unit, known as the SCE 75, becomes the entry point to the Dacia range at £5,995 in basic Access trim, but is also available in the far more popular Ambiance specification, as well as the Laureate range-topping model we tested – although this latter combination won’t be coming to the UK.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
Dacia isn’t a particularly stirring brand. Despite some free and partly tongue-incheek advertising for the Sandero on the world’s most popular motoring television show, ultimately it’s a little-known Romanian brand that builds cars based on older Renault platforms (this one used to be a Clio) and sells them cheaply on a no-frills promise.
It’s endearing to an extent and the brand has its admirers and fans, but it’s not going to make many car enthusiasts take too much notice – for now.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The Sandero is a roomy car. It’s a B-segment hatchback, sitting in the same class as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, but with a 320L boot – expanding to 1,200L with the rear seats down – it’s the roomiest vehicle in the sector.
There’s decent space in the cabin too, so it comes with some pretty solid family credentials and even the EURONCAP rating (at 4 stars) is a decent effort that rivals many in the sector.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
There are few things to grumble about in the Sandero’s driving manners if you temper your expectations somewhat. The older Clio underpinnings actually do translate to some modicum of handling performance, but it’s a little outdated and while you can coax a little fun out of it, distinctly average.
It’s largely focused on the comfort of the drive and it scores reasonably well, even on some dismal roads out in the Croatian hills. The size – and cameras in this Laureate specification – mean it’s a doddle around town, too.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Sandero ticks one box for value
right away: it’s the cheapest car you can buy in the UK. However, in the very cheapest Access trim, it’s almost a false economy, as there’s so little equipment that it draws too much attention to the car’s shortcomings and detracts from the experience.
Ambiance buyers get air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth for your phone and Aux and USB inputs, and for £6,995 that’s a pretty solid equipment list.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE?
The Sandero is very much a car for those who are budgeting for two or three-year old examples of more expensive hatchbacks but still want all of the benefits of a new car.
“THE SANDERO IS A ROOMY CAR. IT’S A B-SEGMENT HATCHBACK, SITTING IN THE SAME CLASS AS THE FORD FIESTA AND VAUXHALL CORSA, BUT WITH A 320L BOOT – EXPANDING TO 1,200L WITH THE REAR SEATS DOWN – IT’S THE ROOMIEST VEHICLE IN THE SECTOR.”