Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Laureate
Week ending March 14
Overall mileage 8403
Read the full Dacia Sandero review
When the Sandero arrived on our fleet a year ago, it had just been launched as the cheapest car on sale in the UK, with prices starting at £5995. We wanted to see what you got for your money and if it could compete on quality.
Dacia expected most buyers to avoid the entry-level model, so we thought we’d test what people were actually going to drive. We went for the £8795 0.9 TCe in Laureate trim which comes with everything you could want. You get air-conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, front and rear electric windows, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel all as standard.
We added blue metallic paint and the £250 Media Nav infotainment system, which is both a bargain and a real highlight; the touch-screen is quick to respond and is extremely easy to use. We had no problems connecting our mobiles to it, but we did notice some cost-cutting: Dacia hasn’t changed the system for right-hand-drive cars, so when you are using the hands-free function, the audio from the phone comes out of the passenger door.
We opted for the 0.9-litre petrol engine, a new three-cylinder unit. It promised 54.3mpg, which we achieved on a couple of occasions, but we were hoping for better than the 38.3mpg we averaged.
One area where the Sandero trounces the competition is space. There's room for five and plenty of headroom. The seats were pretty flat, but I drove all over the country in it and didn’t have any problems with comfort. The boot was big too, even if we did have to use the key or pull a handle by the driver’s door to open it.
The cabin itself wasn’t the most exciting place to be but the plastics lasted well. There weren’t any scratches and everything looked the same as when the Sandero first arrived. That’s great for a car at this price.
Ultimately, price is the most attractive feature to most buyers. So do the figures for our car add up? In a word, no. It costs nearly £10k and for that money you can get some excellent nearly new cars on the used market which will be better to drive and as well equipped as ours.
If you are tempted by a Sandero, we’d suggest going for the cheaper 1.2 Ambiance model – you get most of the best bits of our car, including its surprising quality, at a much better price.