New Dacia Sandero on sale for €13k
Dacia’s mantra to offer simple, spacious and reliable motoring at an unbeatable value-for-money price continues with their new generation Sandero 5-seat family car which comes with a start price of €12,999 making it Ireland’s most affordable new car.
Earlier allocations in May and June sold out in two weeks. A new allocation is due shortly.
Having recently enjoyed a proper test drive in the car, not just the 20 minutes or so behind the wheel at its mid-May launch, I can honestly say I’m won over by what’s on offer for this bargain-basement price. The car is a practical family car offering good interior space, a decent drive, low fuel consumption, and also debuts some new technology to the brand.
Based on the CMF modular platform which provides more strength and rigidity, Dacia say the new Sandero is more robust, safer, spacious and better to drive. It has been totally redesigned from the ground up and looks very different to before.
While exterior dimensions remain the same, with some subtle tweaks the new car now has greater presence and looks way more expensive than it actually is with smoother lines, a more sloped windscreen, and flowing roofline; new LED lights (offered as standard and which increase night-time visibility), a black grille with chrome bar, body-tone front and rear bumpers, and 15-inch steel wheels. The pale Highland Grey paint work of my review car enhanced the look considerably. Ground clearance remains at 133mm loaded.
The interior is spacious with good rear head and leg room, sporting new upholstery, nice trim on the dash and doors, new and comfortable front seats with anti-whiplash headrests for better protection as well as a decent glovebox and generous door bins and cubbies.
The first thing you notice is no screen or radio on the central console which visually takes a bit of getting used to. Along with other drive information, radio settings are show on the 3.5-inch TFT digital display between the dials.
This new model comes with higher levels of standard equipment and debuts new technology to Dacia. My car featured a Media Control where smartphones can be placed on a removable smartphone support in front of the driver to become a remote multimedia system via the new free Dacia Media Control app and a Bluetooth or USB connection (the USB port is beside the Media Control up on the dash). The system provides easy access to the radio, music, calls, messages, sat nav apps and other features like Siri and Android voice recognition. Controls are either on the steering wheel for the radio, or behind it for the sat nav.
The ‘no unnecessary frills’ meant you have a key to start the engine, there’s no front armrest, just manual adjustments for side mirrors which works fine, wind up windows in the rear, and there is no spare tyre - but a well is provided for one which you can purchase from your local dealer. The boot floor is low and boot capacity is 328 litres.
However, my car had many ‘necessary’ items such as cruise control, air conditioning, remote central locking, height/reach adjustable steering wheel, Hill Start Assist, Bluetooth and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
On the safety front, six airbags are standard and a broader selection of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems is now available including Emergency Brake Assist (standard), Blind spot warning, Park Assist parking sensors and Hill Start Assist which prevents the car from rolling backwards for more than two seconds when you lift your foot off the brake pedal to move to the accelerator when pulling away on a hill. All-round visibility is good. Sandero’s sibling Sandero Stepway, is also built on the same platform, and has achieved a two-star safety rating from EuroNCAP.
The engine range includes a SCe 65hp 1.0 3-cylinder petrol paired with a five-speed manual transmission (my test car) and a TCe 90 turbocharged 1.0 petrol paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or a new CVT automatic transmission. There is also a new LPG bi-fuelled turbocharged 1.0 unit; the LPG tank is located where the spare wheel would be.
I found the 65hp engine slow to gain speed from start and requires a fair bit of revving, and time, to reach the 100km/h mark. But when you get there, it’s absolutely fine. The car also cruises the motorway nicely at 120km/h. My choice, though, would be the more powerful TCe 90. After a few days of test drives, the fuel consumption showed a 6.0L/100kms return.
Dacia and Renault boss Paddy Magee believes there is no longer a status applied to cars as people seek out good value which includes a good return when it comes to changing cars. He said Sanderos ‘absolutely’ hold their resale value. “Residual values were expected to be between 39pc and 42pc but trade-ins are now getting up to 60pc. Sandero’s biggest advantage is that it is a proper B-segment car, an affordable car doing its job and gaining a big chunk of the market.”
He said parents looking to purchase a good second hand car for their offspring should take a look at buying a New Sandero for them instead for the same price as they’d expect to pay for a good second hand car, but also with the added benefit of Dacia’s comprehensive three-year /100,000km warranty and Roadside Assistance.