Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Laureate
Week ending August 30
Driven this week 110
We like cheap and cheerful at What Car?, but our Sandero lacks the sparkle that makes some of our favourite budget cars such a hoot.
To drive it simply feels old, with dynamics and refinement that belong to another era. Its dowdy and dated interior is unappealing too, and rather confusing.
There’s an up/down button on the steering wheel that you would think controls the radio volume, but seems to do nothing. Someone told me later this is actually part of the cruise control, which seems an unnecessary extravagance on a car of this class, while the radio volume controls were actually hidden behind the steering wheel.
The horn is not where you think it should be, the air con controls and electric window switches are awkwardly placed and I couldn’t get my driving position right. When I thought I had, there turned out to be no legroom left behind my seat. It even has huge doors that, because they wrap over the top of the car, nearly knocked me out every time I shut them.
But it’s roomy and cheap, yes? Well I used it for family and shopping duties, and I didn’t find it unduly roomy in the cabin, though the boot was a useful size. Our car, with options, is £9500, which isn’t particularly cheap either. The base price of this model is £8795, and you won’t get any discounts on that.
The truth is the same money would buy you a year or two old car that is far superior, and among new cars you’d have more fun in the Fiat Panda, the Hyundai i10, or the Skoda Citigo - smaller cars, admittedly, but definitely more cheerful.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending August 23
Driven this week 233 miles
The fuel consumption of our Sandero has not been hugely impressive. Since receiving the car the figure has rarely got above 38mpg - some way off the claimed 54.3mpg.
I'm pleased to report that the little Dacia is now proving to be less thirsty.
At the most recent calculation our Sandero returned a more respectable 40.8mpg. A few long journeys in the last few weeks have worked wonders.
My OCD has now kicked in. Whenever I drive the Sandero I'm now trying to get as high a figure as possible.
On a trip to Henley this week, the trip computer showed 51.2mpg. This has of course fanned the flames of my obsession and I'm now keeping the air-conditioning switched off and employing all my hypermiling skills.
By Matthew Burrow
Week ending August 9
Driven this week 60 miles
On the majority of new cars, the horn is to be found on the steering wheel. Press the centre of the wheel on the Dacia Sandero, however, and nothing happens. The horn is actually located on the end of the indicator stalk.
I remember this most of the time, but there have recently been a couple of occasions when I have meant to scroll through the trip computer menu and have pushed the horn instead of the button on the end of the wiper stalk. This is fine within the confines of the car park but out on the road it startles other road users and needs me to make apologies.
By Matthew Burrow