Dacia Sandero Review logo

Dacia Sandero Review

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1/10

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2/10

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3/10

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1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2013
      Body type
      Small Hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, LPG
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Cheapest new car there is

Best bits

  • Unbelievably cheap for this size of car
  • Generous interior space and a big boot
  • Reasonably comfortable to drive

Not so great

  • Interior quality is predictably low
  • Sparsely equipped, both on luxury and safety
  • Pretty noisy on the road 

Read by

Dacia Sandero Front

Overall verdict

Dacia Sandero Interior Side

On the inside

Dacia Sandero Driving

Driving

Dacia Sandero Back

How much does it cost to run

Dacia Sandero Side

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Dacia Sandero

"We always say that any car is a good car if it’s cheap enough, and on that score the Dacia Sandero is an absolutely brilliant car. Yes, it’s flawed in terms of its interior quality, its refinement and its level of luxury and safety equipment, but it’s good at plenty of other stuff, and at these prices, there can be no complaints."

Dacia Sandero Front

With the seemingly countless amount of makes and models on offer these days, there aren’t all that many cars that have a unique selling point. And even with those that do, what that selling point is usually takes plenty of explaining, and it’s usually only a technicality that nobody really cared about in the first place. Examples? Hmm, let us see.


Well, we remember Mercedes boasting that the first A45 AMG had the most powerful four-cylinder engine of all time, and Audi boasting that the latest A8 limousine was the first car capable of Level Three autonomous driving, although currently, that level of autonomy is not actually legal to use anywhere in the world. Seriously, who cares?


The Dacia Sandero, meanwhile, has a true USP, and it’s one that even kindergarten kids will find it easy to understand. Ahem. The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest new car on sale. There you go. Simple.


And again, we’re not talking fine margins. With prices starting at £6995 (and obviously, the used examples you can find here on HeyCar will cost significantly less still), the Dacia Sandero supermini costs at least £2500 less than any rival, and that includes city cars from the class below that are considerably smaller. 


And yet, compared with other superminis, most of which cost several thousand more again, the Sandero is also bigger and roomier, with a bigger boot. The sheer value-for-money that this car represents is scarcely believable. 


But how can Dacia - owned by Renault - flog this car for so little and still turn a profit? Well, a number of reasons. The mechanics on which it’s based are the same as those from the Renault Clio of several years ago, so they’re basic, cheap and very little had to be spent on research and development. 


There are also some clear signs of cost-cutting all over the car. The interior is plasticky and unappealingly finished, on-road refinement is pretty poor and the amount of luxury and safety kit you get on most models is very low: entry-level Access models don’t even have a radio for heaven’s sake.


However, you might well be surprised at the number of things that the Sandero does pretty well. Not only is it cheap and practical, but it’s also easy and reasonably comfortable to drive, it’s easy to see out of, the engines are (just about) perky enough and do a decent job on economy, and also, the car looks the part (provided you avoid the entry-level version, that is). For a car this cheap, that’s not a bad list of virtues.


Perhaps even more appealingly, though, the Sandero’s unabashed no-frills approach to motoring gives the car an honest, humble, no-nonsense character that certain buyers find incredibly appealing. This is a very likeable, very charming car, and one that just about anyone will be able to afford. How’s that for a USP?


If you're looking for a more rugged version, you need our Dacia Sandero Stepway (2013-) review.



Is the Dacia Sandero right for you?

If you want the cheapest car you can possibly get, then yes. If you want that car to be bigger and roomier than most rival cars costing many thousands more, then absolutely. That’s precisely what the Sandero gives you. Yes, you have to make sacrifices as a result. After all, you don’t get something for nothing in life. 

The driving experience is rough and ready, the interior feels cheap and the level of standard equipment - in terms of both luxury and safety - is sparse on most versions. However, given its incredibly low price, you might well be astonished at how many things the Sandero does surprisingly well. 

What’s the best Dacia Sandero model/engine to choose?

The entry-level Access-trimmed Sandero may be the cheapest new car on sale in Britain, but it’ll be way too basic for most people. No air-con, no remote locking, no electric windows, not even a radio. It also comes only with white paint and black plastic bumpers, making it look like something that United Nations troops would roll around in. 


The second-level trim - named Ambiance or Essential depending on how old the car is - doesn’t cost too much more, but makes life a lot more comfortable. Most of the missing items from the Access are accounted for, body-coloured bumpers mean it looks like a proper car, and it’s still cheap as chips. 


We wouldn’t blame you for upgrading to the top trim (Laureate or Comfort) for a few more goodies, but that does add a fair bit to the price, although it’s still hardly pricey. Of the engines, we’d forego the entry-level petrol and head straight to the turbocharged 0.9 with 90PS for its superior pull and economy. The diesel’s good, too, but more expensive to buy.

What other cars are similar to the Dacia Sandero?

Good question, mechanically, the Sandero is very similar to the Renault Clio of a few generations ago, because even today, it runs on the same ageing oily bits. That’s part of why it’s so cheap. Otherwise, there’s not a whole heap like it. It’s priced more aggressively than most city cars which are much smaller, yet it’s bigger than most supermini rivals which are also considerably more expensive. Other ‘budget’ hatches include the MG3, the Kia Rio and the Suzuki Swift, but none of them can get anywhere near the Sandero on price.

Learn more

Dacia Sandero Interior Side

On the inside

Dacia Sandero Driving

Driving

Dacia Sandero Back

How much does it cost to run

Dacia Sandero Side

Prices, versions and specification

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