Used Dacia Sandero (13-present) long-term test review: report 2

The Dacia Sandero has long been a price point winner in the What Car? new car awards, but is it a great second-hand purchase? We have four months to find out...

Used Dacia Sandero (13-present) long term test review
  • The car - 2018 Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Comfort  
  • Run by - Max Adams - Used cars reporter
  • Why it’s here - To find out if a ‘good value’ new car can be a great value used one
  • Needs to - Prove its worth against other used small cars

Price when new £10,890 (including £1095 worth of options) Value on arrival £8990 Value now £8413 (trade price with no options) Miles on arrival 3395 Mileage now 4543 Official economy 45.6mpg (WLTP) Test economy 44.2mpg

5 June 2019 - All plugged up

Oh dear. I know these things can happen at any time, but I've already encountered an issue with the Sandero that has meant it’s gone back to the dealership for diagnosis.

I’d left the Dacia at the office car park for a few days, and when I came back to it and started it up, I found a warning light in the gauge cluster that looked a bit like a heart rate monitor, telling me that all was not well.

Used Dacia Sandero (13-present) long term test review

On the plus side, it wasn’t lit up in red, so the Sandero could still be driven to the workshop. And I’m fortunate enough to work for a car magazine, so making other arrangements is usually quite easy. But most people don’t have that luxury, so to be left without a car you could use for the bank holiday weekend, especially if you’d planned to go somewhere, might have been a complete disaster.

At the time of writing, the Sandero is still being seen to, so I shall have to wait for a future report to let you know what the problem was. But for now, I need to bring up another issue I’ve found.

Now, the UK is well known for being quite wet at times. You know it. I know it. It’s common lore. Problem is that the people who designed the Sandero seem to have not quite grasped that aspect of our climate, because I’ve discovered a pretty bad water trap in the car.

Used Dacia Sandero (13-present) long term test review

Let me explain. It had rained rather heavily two days prior to this discovery, and I’d gone out to the car to drop the rear seats in preparation for putting a couple of large plants in the back. To do that, you must pull back the pins on the seat from inside the car and then flop the whole assembly forward. The ground was bone dry when I began doing this, but when I shut the doors after, I found water dripping onto the ground.

It was coming from the bottom of a rear door, so I got on all fours to investigate. Now, it's not uncommon for water to get into inside the door of a car, because it gets past the weather stripping that butts up to the windows. The water is supposed to drain out of holes at the bottom of the door so that it doesn’t collect and cause corrosion. The Sandero has rubber bungs in all of these holes that should be able to deform to let water get past but prevent water kicked up by the tyres from getting in.

Used Dacia Sandero (13-present) long term test review

Trouble is, after dirt gets between the bung and the edge of the hole, it seems to cause the rubber to stick to the door panel, and until such a time someone opens the door and the resulting shock breaks the rubber loose, the water just stays inside. After I pulled the bung out, water began dripping out of the door at a steady pace.

This is extremely concerning, because if the water level builds up high enough, it could get through the weatherproofing behind the interior door trim and begin pooling up in the rear footwells. It also doesn’t bode well for our car’s future rust-worthiness if water is allowed to continue sitting inside the door.  

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