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Dacia Sandero long-term test review

It's not the headline-grabbing Β£5995-spec Sandero, but hopefully our 0.9 TCe Ambiance-trim car should prove easy to live with...

Words By Jimi Beckwith

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  • The car Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe 90 Ambiance
  • Run by Jimi Beckwith, special contributor
  • Why it's here Britain's cheapest car has received a midlife facelift. It's here to show us just how much it's improved and if cheap can indeed be cheerful.
  • Needs to Impress a wide range of people without the lack of dignity that comes with so many budget cars. Practicality and small running costs are musts.

List price Β£7995 Price as tested Β£8640 Miles covered 7000 Official economy 57.6 Test economy 52.2mpg Options fitted Height adjustment pack (Β£50; now standard), metallic paint (Β£495), emergency spare wheel (Β£100)


7 December 2017 – it takes more than a cold snap to give the Sandero a frosty reception

Bit cold, isn’t it? And, unfortunately, that means the Sandero is a cold and sometimes austere place to be, without heated seats, heated windscreen or climate control. Even the mirrors are standard units, with manual adjustment and no heating. Shivery mornings are unavoidable.

When it’s frosty, just like many others I have to get out the scraper and scrape the frost off the car. When I get in, the engine takes a good 15 minutes to warm up sufficiently for the blowers to not blast glacial air at me. I have created a β€˜warm zone’ for my morning commute by precisely placing the blowers at such angles as to envelop the steering wheel, stereo controls and gear stick with a blanket of warm air – nobody dares to move these. Perhaps climate control would be easier.

So how much would I have to spend to satisfy my need for warmth? Well, the Sandero doesn’t get climate control, even in top-spec Laureate trim, so other models need to be considered. Let’s use the UK’s best seller as a benchmark: the Ford Fiesta. Prices start at Β£13,165 – Β£4525 more than our Sandero and Β£7170 more than the base-spec Sandero Access. In terms of the comfort and warmth gizmos I’m after, the Fiesta only provides heated door mirrors. At least that would mean no fiddly scraping and wiping of frost from the mirrors in the mornings.

Any extras are where things start to get a bit steeper – to get a heated windscreen, you’d have to spend Β£14,665 on a Zetec-spec Fiesta. It’s not available as an option on the entry-level Style.

To get heated seats to warm your tush, you have to buy the Β£225 Comfort Pack, which also gets you a heated steering wheel. Climate control is available on Titanium cars, priced from Β£16,595 – so, together with the Comfort Pack, that would be Β£16,820. Or double the cost of our long-term Sandero.

I think I’ll stick with my Β£1 ice scraper and an extra layer, thanks.

Next: read more about our Dacia Sandero >