Dacia Spring electric car review – prices, specs and review

The new Dacia Spring is officially the UK's cheapest car. We’ve already had a preview of the new 2024 model and had a drive in the outgoing car...

2024 Dacia Spring front static parked

On sale October 2024 | Price from £14,995

When you’re working at the office or away from home, one of the most important questions of the day is ‘What’s for lunch?’. Sure, you could treat yourself to a takeaway, but a supermarket meal deal contains all the key components for a lot less money. 

The Dacia Spring electric car is, in effect, the meal deal – giving you all the essentials for a price starting at £14,995. That undercuts our current favourite small electric model, the MG4 EV (£26,995), as well as the Fiat 500 Electric (£28,195) and upcoming Citroën e-C3 (est £22,500), making it the cheapest new electric car you can buy, even on PCP finance. Only the Citroën Ami is cheaper, but that model is classed as a quadricycle rather than a car, and its 46-mile range and 28mph top speed limits appeal.

Now, there's certainly been a lot of noise around whether the Spring will come to the UK, seeing as it was originally launched in Europe in 2021. However, it has now been confirmed that a heavily revised model will arrive in the UK in right-hand drive later this year.

2024 Dacia Spring rear driving

Despite the changes both inside and out, the new Spring is almost identical to the outgoing car mechanically. This means it’ll be offered with two power outputs, either 44bhp or 64bhp, both with a top speed of 78mph. Performance is mediocre, to put it lightly; 0-62mph will take 19.1sec with the former, and 14.0sec with the latter. For context, the least powerful version of the MG4 can cover the same sprint in 7.7sec.

More positively, the Spring tips the scales at 984kg, which means it’s very light for an electric car (by comparison, the MG4 weighs 1655kg). This will help with its energy efficiency, although the tiny 26.8kWh battery (25kWh usable) means it can only travel 137 miles officially between charges. That’s farther than the entry-level Fiat 500 Electric (118 miles), but significantly less than the MG4 SE (218 miles). 

To maximise its real-world range, you can select a ‘B’ drive mode on the gear lever. This enhances the effect of regenerative braking to harvest back more energy while slowing down. Meanwhile, a charging port hidden behind the front badge allows the Spring to use a 7kW Wallbox home charger, which means a 20-80% top-up takes around 4 hours.

2024 Dacia Spring side driving

Upper trim models will also get 30kW charging capability as standard, which will reduce the 20-80% charging time to 45 minutes when using a suitably powerful public charger. By comparison, the MG4 SE has a maximum rate of 117kW, which means a 10-80% top-up should take around 40 minutes.

Buyers who place a £99 deposit to pre-order their Spring online will receive £250 towards public charging or a home wallbox charger. These cars will be delivered in October.

As part of the update, the Spring is offered with vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging. This means you can use the car's battery to power almost any appliance with a three-pin plug, including a kettle, coffee machine or even a bike pump. 

The design of the new Spring is much chunkier than before, with a front end design inspired by the new Dacia Duster. It's a similar story around the side and rear, although the roof bars present on the outgoing model have been removed to improve aerodynamics and range. 

2024 Dacia Spring interior dashboard

Inside, the new Spring has a more ergonomic dashboard design, with a new 7.0in digital driver's display, Y-shape air vents and new climate controls. Entry-level cars come with a dashboard clip for mounting your smartphone as standard, while upper trims get a crisp new 10.0in infotainment screen.

We’ve had the chance to sit inside the new Spring, and found nearly all of the interior plastics to be hard and scratchy. Overall, the MG4 and BYD Dolphin are much better in terms of solidity and material quality.

Despite that, the driving position is better than you might think for a car of this size, and its relatively large windows provide a good view out. However, the steering wheel only adjusts for height, and the lack of height adjustment for the seat could make it tricky for some drivers to get comfortable.

2024 Dacia Spring interior side

In the back seats, space is pretty tight, although taller passengers will feel less cramped than they would in a Fiat 500 or Mini Electric. The Spring’s rear doors also make it easier to access the rear seats (despite the relatively small opening), while the 308-litre boot should be big enough for a large weekly shop. As an option, you can add a 35-litre frunk for storing the charging cables.

If you want more space, you can fold the rear seats down as a single piece. This is less versatile than the 50/50 split you get in the 500 and the Mini, while the MG4 is more practical with a larger 363-litre boot and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Three trim levels will be offered in the UK, with the entry-level Essential trim giving you 14in wheels, a 7.0in digital driver’s display, a dashboard clip (for mounting your smartphone), remote central locking, electric front windows and rear parking sensors as standard. Expression trim is the next level up, and adds manual air conditioning and 15in wheels. 

2024 Dacia Spring charging

At the top of the range sits Extreme, which includes copper interior and exterior finishes, electrically adjustable door mirrors, electric rear windows, a 10.0in infotainment screen (with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), two USB ports and V2L charging.

The outgoing Spring was awarded just one out of five stars when it was tested for safety by Euro NCAP in 2021, performing poorly in all areas and lacking some of the latest safety equipment. However, to comply with upcoming European safety regulations, the new Spring will get automatic emergency braking (AEB), traffic sign recognition, rear parking sensors, lane-keep assist, driver attention warning and an emergency call system as standard. Dacia has also included a new ‘My Safety’ button, which allows the driver to quickly choose their preferred setting for the safety systems.

Okay, so we’ve had a look around the new Dacia Spring. But what’s the mechanically identical outgoing model like to drive in the UK? Here are our first impressions…

What’s the Dacia Spring like to drive?

Dacia Spring review, euro spec, front, 2023

Despite the raised suspension and slightly rugged body work, the Spring is strictly front-wheel drive-only. We haven’t driven the less powerful 44bhp version yet, but we suspect its 0-62mph time of 19.1sec will make it best suited for driving around town.

The 64bhp version is a much better choice, being sprightly at low speeds and able to keep up with motorway traffic. Still, all of the Spring’s rivals (not counting the Citroën Ami, which is technically a quadricycle) are more refined at any speed, with far less road, wind and electric motor noise.

Dacia Spring driving, rear, euro spec, 2023

Our test car’s soft suspension tuned for European roads soaks up the worst of the bumps, but quickly becomes choppy and struggles to settle down. The raised ride height means there’s a huge amount of body lean when cornering and plenty of vertical movement over undulating roads, resulting in a tiring experience for occupants on longer trips.

The steering has a keen initial response, but provides very little sense of grip, inspiring minimal confidence when tackling roundabouts above town speeds. In short, the MG4 and Fiat 500 Electric have a more sophisticated ride and handling setup, feeling less out of depth once you venture out of a town or city.

Dacia Spring interior, euro spec, 2023

So, then, it's clear that there are compromises with the Spring. However, if you're willing to overlook some of those factors, it could make a good addition to a household fleet if you're looking for a cheap electric car to take care of the local journeys.

Dacia Spring prices

  • Dacia Spring Expression Electric 45 - £14,995
  • Dacia Spring Expression Electric 65 - £15,995
  • Dacia Spring Extreme Electric 65 - £16,995

Read more: Best electric cars >>

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