2021 Dacia Sandero Review

4/5

Overview

The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest new car you can buy at the moment with most supermini rivals costing far more to purchase. The Sandero appears to be proof that you can have your cake and eat it – the French owned Romanian car manufacturer does not seem to have cut the corners you apparently need to sell a car this cheaply. It comes from the same platform as the recent editions of the Renault Clio and Nissan Juke. It runs on efficient, environmentally friendly engines and most versions will come equipped with a six-speed gearbox. It has an attractive appearance and has plenty of space inside. While the old Sandero was somewhat utilitarian looking, the same cannot be said about this latest model. 

Pros
  • Extremely cheap
  • New interior design
  • Comprehensive list of safety equipment
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Styling may be divisive

Exterior

The recent facelift has offered lots of subtle improvements and while the Sandero is hardly a proposition to get the pulse racing, it is still an attractive enough proposition with neat, clean lines on a sturdy, rigid bodyshell. Everything in this car is designed with economy in mind and Dacia have been sure to emphasize the improved aerodynamics of this generation Sandero which in turn should make for an improvement in fuel efficiency.

Interior

While the previous models interior was functional it didn’t exactly get the pulses racing. The new Sandero’s interior is rather more swish, made from quality materials that appear to be well made. Everything from the indicator/wiper stalk to the climate controls feel sturdy and robust, a marked contrast from the Dacia interiors of yesteryear.  Having said that, Dacia still pull out all the stops to ensure you get the cheapest car possible. Base spec Sandero’s do not even get a radio but come ‘pre-wired’ so owners can spec their own. However, higher spec models get an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay/Android Auto. Rear legroom has been increased by 42mm over the old model so there is plenty of room on board for occupants. Boot size is a decent 328 litres, rising to a massive 1,108 litres with the seats folded down. There is also a great driving position thanks to the multiple levels of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel. 

Performance

Although the Sandero is not ‘sporty’ in any real sense the steering is still light and smooth while the drive is particularly suited to challenging Irish backroads. Dacia tell is that there will be fewer vibrations transmitted into the cabin thanks to the new sturdier platform and refined engine mounts. Better sound proofing also means that it is a better place to be on long motorway jaunts. 

Reliability

Dacia’s recent reliability record is second-to-none and all models come with a three year/60,000 mile warranty. 

Running Costs

The entry level model is called ‘access’ and while it is (very) basic you still get LED headlights, electric windows for the driver and front seat passenger, a smartphone holder, six airbags and automatic emergency braking. Most Irish buyers will plump for the mid-range ‘Essential’ which adds air conditioning, colour-coded bumpers (swoon!), cruise control and media connectivity. The top-spec ‘Comfort’ model gets automatic wipers, heated and electrically adjustable mirrors, parking sensors and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, amongst other things. And it is still very reasonably priced. All the engines are frugal and fall neatly into the affordable tax brackets. 

Handling

This is a car which has been designed to be as functional as possible, you don’t buy a Sandero expecting it to be a demon on wheels on Irish backroads. However, it uses Renault running gear so expect it to handle much in the same vein as a Clio, which is no bad thing. 

Safety

The Sandero comes with a range of standard safety equipment and was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
10%

The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest new car you can buy at the moment with most supermini rivals costing far more to purchase. The Sandero appears to be proof that you can have your cake and eat it – the French owned Romanian car manufacturer does not seem to have cut the corners you apparently need to sell a car this cheaply. It comes from the same platform as the recent editions of the Renault Clio and Nissan Juke. It runs on efficient, environmentally friendly engines and most versions will come equipped with a six-speed gearbox. It has an attractive appearance and has plenty of space inside. While the old Sandero was somewhat utilitarian looking, the same cannot be said about this latest model.