Our cars: Dacia Sandero - February
Week ending February 28
Driven this week 540
I was on the school run earlier this week with my six-year-old daughter and I was impressed by how quickly she got to grips with the Sandero's audio functions. Without asking for help, she switched on the radio, found her favourite station and adjusted the volume. No problem.
I think this says a lot about the simple layout and easy-to-use interface in the Sandero. You can't hide the fact that this is a cheap car, but in being so cheap Dacia has managed to strip out the complexities you find in many cars these days, reinforcing the cliche that sometimes the simple things are the best.
Week ending February 22
Driven this week 280
A rather hectic testing schedule has meant that I’ve only been able to drive the Sandero once so far, but the early indications are that there’s plenty to like. The engine is punchy, the ride is half decent and there’s bags of space.
However, even though I’ve hardly been near the car, it already has a battle scar. A scratch has appeared that stretches from the rear wing to the rear door, taking in the filler cap on the way. I’m hoping the scratch is light enough that it might polish out.
By Ivan Aistrop
Week ending February 15
Miles this week 250
I took the Dacia Sandero for an early-evening visit to Waitrose the other day - allowing me to a) introduce the concept of a sub-£10k car to the supermarket chain's Surrey clientele, and b) prove that it can carry organic butternut squash as well as a Land Rover Discovery can (it did, incidentally).
I was loading the bags into the boot when a chap with a distinctly French accent started to show an interest. He'd just parked his BMW 1 Series next to the Sandero, and was fascinated to see a Dacia in the UK. 'I don't think I've seen one of these in right-hand drive before,' he said. 'You know, in France they have a very good reputation for simplicity and reliability?'
We then had a short chat about the brand's introduction into the UK, and the fact that its reputation is founded on its adoption of proven Renault electrics from before the days when that brand felt the need to go 'premium'.
At no point, I should say, did my French chum look like he was about to exchange his Bimmer for the Sandero. However, as he wandered off he mustered one of those Gallic nods that indicates grudging approval. I drove off feeling as satisfied as you can feel when you've spent that much on groceries.
The Sandero is cruising up towards 1000 miles on the clock now; no major dramas to report, although I wish the trip computer's fuel economy average of 37.4mpg would nudge up into the forties.
Introduction to our Dacia Sandero