Okay, it’s not exactly going to set your heart racing, but Dacia’s new Sandero has just been confirmed again as the UK’s most affordable new car. Prices start from just £79,95 for the Access model, climbing to £13,395 for the flagship Stepway Prestige variant.
Available to pre-order now — with first deliveries expected during February/March next year — the fourth-generation Romanian-built Sandero can be yours for a deposit of just £99. When the new model arrives next year, it’ll come with three years’ free servicing.
The new Sandero is the first Dacia to use Renault-Nissan’s CMF platform. Shared with the latest Clio, this is said to reduce weight while improving ride quality, handling characteristics and safety.
It’s also bigger. The new Sandero is 19mm longer overall than before, at 4,088mm, and noticeably wider, at 1,848mm not including the mirrors. There’s also more internal space, with more than four centimetres of extra kneeroom for those in the rear, plus a few extra millimetres of shoulder and elbow room for front passengers.
The cabin now benefits from a more modern and stylish dashboard, which now features fabric finishes on some higher trim-levels. Plus boot capacity has also increased, from the 310-litres of its predecessor, to 328litres.
Dacia Sandero trim levels
The entry-level Sandero Access comes with front electric windows, automatic LED headlights, 15-inch steel wheels, and and a phone-docking station with a dedicated smartphone app, which takes the place of an integrated infotainment system.
Next-up is the mid-range Essential. Price from £8,995, it adds remote central locking, body-coloured bumpers and plastic wheel covers. Inside, buyers benefit from manual air conditioning, an adjustable steering column, a USB port and a DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity.
Comfort trim, which starts at £11,595, adds keyless entry, an eight-inch infotainment system with integrated sat nav, parking sensors, a reversing camera, body-coloured electrically adjustable wing mirrors, and 15-inch alloys.
The conventional Sandero range is supplemented by a new version of the SUV-inspired Stepway model. Sitting 41mm higher than the regular hatchback, it features roof bars, chunky body cladding, metal skidplates built into the front and rear bumpers, and 16-inch alloys.
The entry-level Stepway Essential, priced from £10,995, features the same equipment as the equivalent Sandero, apart from the new alloys and body trim. Stepway Comfort adds modular roof bars that can be transformed into a roof rack, and a leather steering wheel. Prices start at £12,595.
The range-topping Stepway Prestige, at £13,395, gets a centre console with an integrated armrest and storage bin, front parking sensors, climate control, a blind-spot warning system and heated front seats.
Engines and drivetrains
Sandero buyers have a choice of three petrol engines, all based on the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit. The entry-level TCe 65 develops a lowly 64bhp and generates 68lb ft of torque. Not surprisingly, it takes a leisurely 16.7-seconds to reach 62mph from standstill. It tops out at 98mph, and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard.
There’s also a turbocharged version of the same engine. This boosts output to 89bhp, with torque hitting 118lb ft. The 0-62mph time drops to 11.7 seconds, with top speed rising to 111mph. As with the base-model, fuel economy is a claimed 53.3mpg.
The quickest Sandero comes with the 1.0-litre which is available is an LPG bi-fuel derivative. It generates 99bhp and 125lb ft of torque when running on gas. The 0-62mph time drops to 11.6 seconds. Dacia highlights the benefit of the LPG system is lower CO2 emissions compared to a conventional petrol engine; it claims figures of 109g/km, compared to 120g/km for the 89bhp car.
Perhaps most significantly, the car’s range significantly increases. When both tanks are brimmed and used in parallel, the bi-fuel Sandero can cover as much as 800 miles between fuel stops. That’s enough to drive from John o’Groats to Brighton on one tank … and still have around a 50-mile range left.