Dacia Spring reader test team

It’s by far the cheapest electric car you can buy in the UK, but does that really mean the Spring is a bargain? Our jury looks at what you get for its low price...

Dacia Spring reader test team

The Dacia Spring is the UK’s cheapest pure electric five-door car. Available to pre-order, starting at £14,995, it undercuts our favourite version of the MG 4 by a huge £12,000. But is there a catch?

Well, all Springs come with a 26.8kWh battery (about half the capacity of the MG 4’s) and a choice of two power outputs: 44bhp and 64bhp. However, while those figures are low, the 64bhp version of the previous model kept up with traffic when we drove it in Europe. The 44bhp model has an official range of 149 miles; the 64bhp version’s extra pep drops the Spring’s stamina to 136 miles.

The Spring’s large windows make for an airy interior and bring good visibility, aided by an elevated driving position.

Dacia Spring reader test team coffee maker

Entry-level Expression trim comes with a 7.0in infotainment touchscreen, while the top-spec Extreme upgrades this to a 10.0in screen. It also gains a rear-view camera, air conditioning and a bi-directional charger that can be used to power electrical devices, including a coffee machine.

To see if the Spring is really the car that could make electric motoring a reality for the masses, we asked a group of readers to give it a thorough once-over and issue their verdicts.

Ron Godfrey

Dacia Spring reader test team

Age 62

Job Inspector for EV ChargeSafe

Drives Tesla Model 3

“Externally, the Spring isn’t as modern looking as the latest Nissan and Renault models, and the traditional-looking door handles seem dated. However, I like the ‘urban environment’ exterior trim accents, which remind me of the Citroën C4 Cactus.

“The Spring is spacious for a small car; the high rear roofline helps it to feel airy. The front seats are supportive and the upholstery has a good-quality feel. I managed to find a good driving position, but it would be better if there was reach adjustment for the steering wheel as well as height.

“The infotainment system is better than I was expecting. It is clear and uncluttered, and there are physical buttons for important functions such as the heating and radio volume.

“There are some good practical touches, such as the optional front boot [or frunk], which is handy for storing the charging cables.

“However, some little things let it down, making it feel like it’s been built down to a budget, such as the absence of a light in the boot.”

Rating 3 stars

George Bourne

Dacia Spring reader test team

Age 77

Job Retired company director

Drives Fiat 500, Seat Ateca

“I’m impressed with the Spring’s build quality; the shutlines look spot on and the quality of the interior trim and seat fabric is good. The fact that it’s a Dacia is also reassuring; it’s an established European brand and a subsidiary of Renault, so there’s plenty of dealer back-up in the UK.

“One detail impressed me straight away: it’s great that the central infotainment screen is no higher than the dashboard. My wife is 5ft 2in tall and she finds that the screens on some cars are sited so high up that they obscure her nearside view of the road when she is driving.

“Overall, the Spring would be a great option for replacing my wife’s Fiat 500, which is now seven years old. She could make all her local trips in it, and there’s plenty of room for a few of her friends. The Spring would be easier for her to strap our grandchildren into the back of than the 500, too.

“It wouldn’t do many miles, so we’d probably need to charge it up only once a week. We already have a home EV charger, so that would be easy.”

Rating 5 stars

Edward Wild

Dacia Spring reader test team

Age 50

Job Head of retail sales

Drives Hyundai Kona EV

“The Spring looks really good for a car at this price point. There’s no cheap-looking exposed metal inside, and the trim all looks pretty plush. It reminds me of a modern take on the classic Fiat Panda 4x4, which was sturdy but practical.

“It’s really cool that there’s an optional adapter that enables you to use the charging port to inflate an air bed or boil a travel kettle. That’s a great feature for people who might use the car to go on camping trips.

“There’s a decent amount of room inside; the Spring would make a good second family car, with room for two children or adults in the rear seats and a couple of suitcases in the boot.

“I love the seat material; it feels far more upmarket than I was expecting, and the dashboard is simple but stylish. The trim on the passenger side up front is more plasticky, though, and little things have been left off, such as a mirror on the passenger’s sun visor, to keep costs down.

“However, I think the Spring looks like fantastic value for money. The only thing that lets it down for me is the range; at around 140 miles, it officially does around 100 fewer miles between charges than my Kona.”

Rating 4 stars

Ian Barry

Dacia Spring reader test team

Age 61

Job Retired bank quality analyst

Drives Mazda CX-5, Toyota Yaris Cross

“I chose my Yaris Cross because I wanted an economical car for local use and I wasn’t confident about spending a lot of money on an electric car. The Spring is making me rethink this, because it’s so affordable and it ticks many of the same boxes as the Yaris.

“Build quality seems superb, and the doors shut with a reassuring clunk. I’m seriously impressed with the level of standard equipment, too. It’s got a lot of premium car features I’d have expected to pay extra for, such as heated seats and LED headlights. I live in a rural area with many unlit roads, so having powerful headlights is a boon.

“I love the Spring’s shape, too; it’s quite tall and looks rugged, and the driver’s seat is positioned high up to give good all-round visibility. The plastic wheel trims are sensible; they’ll be cheaper to replace if they get damaged than alloy wheels would be.

“The range is on the short side for a modern EV, but I only tend to drive between 20 and 30 miles a day on local roads, so it would be adequate for me.

“Overall, the Spring actually feels like more of a premium product than previous Dacia models. It ’s an appealing alternative to my Yaris .”

Rating 5 stars

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