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Driving position, visibility, build quality
Both the Dacia Sandero and our used Ford Fiesta have steering wheels that adjust for height and reach. Neither car has adjustable lumbar support, although you do get the benefit of a standard-fit armrest in the Sandero.
You sit lower in the Sandero, while the Fiesta has somewhat of a lofty driving position. In saying that, the Fiesta's front seats are very supportive, plus the pedals and steering wheel line up nicely with the driver – more so than in the Sandero. The Sandero's thin pillars allow for excellent visibility. Seeing out of the Fiesta is also a doddle, although its window line rises quite steeply towards the rear, somewhat hindering rewards visibility.
Rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera come as standard on the Sandero. The Fiesta has standard-fit rear parking sensors, but the original owner needed to pay £900 (for the Mid Series Driver Assistance Pack) to get a rear-view camera, so not every used example has it.
As for interior quality, you'd expect the bargain Sandero to be a mosh pit of shoddy plastics and, although there are quite a lot of them, it's not as bad as you might think. Dacia has borrowed a trick used by Peugeot for years and has fitted fabric inserts on the doors and across the face of the dashboard that lend it a plusher feel. Other touches, such as chrome-edged air conditioning knobs, help to lift an otherwise fairly functional interior.
The Fiesta has scratchy plastics in many of the same places the Sandero does, but the Fiesta does feature some higher quality materials in some important places, such as the steering wheel and gear lever.
In entry-level Essential trim, the Sandero comes with a radio but otherwise relies on your phone for infotainment functions. Step up to Expression, though, and you get an 8.0in colour touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone mirroring. The high-mounted screen is easy to see and use on the movie.
The Fiesta also has an 8.0in touchscreen with icons that are (mostly) fairly large and easy to hit, even on the move. The graphics are sharper than the Sandero's, though. You'll find Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability in the Fiesta, too.
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