What Car? says...
The Dacia Sandero is from a Romanian brand owned by a French car maker (Renault), but its name has its roots in Greek. It means warrior – and we have to admit it fights hard to give good value.
In fact, no matter how hard we try, we can’t think of a new small car that competes as strongly on price. Even the MG 3 is several thousand pounds more expensive than the entry-level Sandero. Skoda doesn’t field a Fabia that gets anywhere near this level of price-cutting.
Still, we’re talking about a car class that includes the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Volkswagen Polo. Can the Dacia Sandero really compete with such stalwarts of the small car category on anything other than price? The next few pages of this review will tell you.
By the way, we're focusing on the standard model here. If you're interested in the SUV-inspired version, we have a full separate Sandero Stepway review. The Stepway gets roof bars, jacked-up suspension and chunky plastic wheel-arch extensions.
If you do decide to buy a Sandero – or, indeed, a new car of any make and model – you could make a big saving without any tricky haggling by checking out the free What Car? New Car Buying service. It has lots of the best prices available, including Dacia Sandero deals.
The latest Dacia Sandero didn’t feature our 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, but the previous-generation (2013-2020) Sandero finished first out of 17 small car models. Dacia came second (behind premium car maker Lexus) out of 30 brands featured in the survey. The Sandero’s warranty is a fairly standard three years or 60,000 miles policy, but you can pay extra for a five or seven-year plan. Read more here
There are no company car driver-friendly hybrid or electric car versions of the Dacia Sandero, but there is an LPG version, called the Bi-Fuel. It has a 40-litre LPG tank as well as the car’s standard 50-litre petrol tank, for a combined range of 800 miles. LPG costs around half the price of petrol, slashing your running costs. Read more here
We recommend the Dacia Sandero in range-topping comfort trim with the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel engine. Comfort includes sat-nav, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and an 8in infotainment touchscreen that can run apps from your phone with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety kit includes automatic emergency braking (AEB). Read more here
Upgrading the Dacia Sandero from entry-level Essential trim to top-spec Comfort gets you nicer interior finishes, with a soft-feel wrapped steering wheel and tasteful cloth inserts in the dashboard. It also drastically improves the infotainment system and adds helpful parking aids including a reversing camera and rear parking sensors. Read more here
If you opt for the entry-level Essential Dacia Sandero, you’ll need to download an app to your phone and use that in a specially designed cradle for infotainment. Comfort trim adds an 8in touchscreen, which responds quickly to prods and swipes (although we’d prefer to have some physical shortcut buttons). The screen in the instrument cluster is a simple monochrome affair. Read more here
The Dacia Sandero has pretty much the biggest boot in the small car class. It beat even the Tardis-like Honda Jazz in our suitcase test by swallowing seven carry-on cases with its 328-litre space. It could do with less of a lip to lift things over, and there’s lots of exposed painted metal to scratch, though. Read more here
The Sandero is available with a selection of small petrol engines. The entry-level SCe 65 is underpowered and slow. However the TCe 90 petrol and TCe 100 Bi-Fuel both offer reasonable performance and economy. The latter is also interesting because it can run on cheaper TCe 100 Bi-Fuel. Read more here
Part of the reason Dacias are so cheap relative to the opposition is that they are built on the proven foundations of older technology from parent firm Renault. However, it’s misguided to say that a Sandero is just a reworked Renault Clio. While it uses much of the same technology, it is also heavily re-engineered in key areas. Read more here
The Sandero Stepway is essentially a more rugged looking and higher-riding Sandero, its beefed-up looks coming courtesy of styling details including a revised bumper design, plastic wheelarch extensions, roof rails and a sculpted bonnet. The Stepway is more suited to the urban jungle than actual jungle, but is a popular model with buyers. Read more here
|RRP price range||£12,295 - £15,095|
|Number of trims (see all)||4|
|Number of engines (see all)||4|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||hybrid, petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||48.7 - 53.3|
|Available doors options||5|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£667 / £889|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£1,334 / £1,777|