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Dacia Sandero


By Jonathan Crouch

The third generation Dacia Sandero could very well completely change the way you think about budgeting for a new compact family car. Jonathan Crouch reports on the improved version.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 87

Wouldn't it be good if the Dacia Sandero could feel properly modern as well as being properly cheap. Well, we're promised that this MK3 version is. Really modern that is. It still pretty cheap too - still the cheapest family car you could choose - but at the same time as being a far better quality hatch in this rejuvenated third generation form. If you're just about to buy a mainstream brand city car, supermini or family hatch, you need to stop right here and read on....

Backgroundword count: 166

From Renault's point of view, it was a great concept. Buy a struggling Romanian car brand using factories with cheap labour. Then take a last-generation Renault hatch design, freshen it up with modern styling and a different badge and sell it at the kind of super-cheap prices that all of these short-cuts could facilitate. So was born the Dacia Sandero in 2013, which was then - and still is now - by some margin Britain's most affordable compact family hatch. With the original version, lightly freshened in 2017, you very much got what you didn't pay for, but loyal owners didn't care. Some of us though, wondered whether this car's sales prospects wouldn't be considerably improved if just a fraction of that affordability could be sacrificed in favour of creating more modern, efficient engineering. In a cabin that didn't feel quite so much like a Bulgarian thrift store. The rather more palatable product we were picturing has arrived. And this is it, the rejuvenated MK3 model.

Driving Experienceword count: 311

Owners of the original Sandero model didn't care too much about drive dynamics - which is just as well because they weren't up to much. This MK4 model's stiffer, more sophisticated CMF-B platform means it can deliver a little bit more - and there's a better engine beneath the bonnet too. It's almost certain that your Sandero will come with a Renault-derived three cylinder 90hp TCe 90 petrol engine, which only comes with 6-speed manual transmission (unless you stretch to the Sandero Stepway model). Acceleration is acceptable, with 0-62mph taking 11.7 seconds, to the accompaniment of a slightly off-beat feel that's unique to three-cylinder engines. You can also have a Sandero with much the same engine in TCe 100 Bi-Fuel LPG form if you fancy a more eco-minded route. In that Bi-Fuel version, with both the petrol and the LPG tanks filled, you'd have a range of over 800 miles. Built on a contemporary structure that's closely related to that of the current (rather than previous-generation) Renault Clio, the Sandero still majors on ride comfort like its predecessors, but this MK4 version's body movements are much better controlled and the car wanders far less over larger bumps. There's also more grip than you might expect, thanks to the wider track, lower stance and a fresh front axle fitted to this current design. Electric steering was introduced for this generation and the rack is light without much meaningful feedback, but it's precise and predictable enough for everyday driving, and the turning circle is usefully tight at 10.5 metres. The more modern underpinnings of this MK4 Sandero have made it a noticeably quieter car than before, which emphasises its improved refinement. The result is a supermini that often feels like a car from the next class up. Which is not bad considering that it's still priced alongside cars from the next class down.

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Category: Small Runabouts

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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