Long live simplicity!
Since Dacia does not participate in all the innovation, the question is why the brand bothers to develop new models. After all, if an existing model is sold for longer, the development costs have been recouped and the price can be reduced. However, it is not that simple! After all, Dacia has to remain competitive. Moreover, legislation is changing and all cars have to meet new requirements. That is why it is now time for the third generation of Dacia's Sandero.
The Sandero is a compact car comparable in size to a Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa or Toyota Yaris. However, the Sandero is more simply lined. The Sandero looks neat, but attracts little attention and will not be easily chosen for its desirable lines. Dacia is not about prestige, but functionality. And that is why the Sandero is a fraction larger than its direct competitors.
And that translates into extra interior space. Space in the front is average, but thanks to the long wheelbase, legroom in the rear is just above average. With large adults in the front, two more adults fit in the back. The boot too is just a little bigger than usual. The doors have substantial storage compartments and only the glovebox is small.
The Sandero is not only more spacious than its rivals, but above all very much more affordable. Dacia achieves this in two ways. Firstly, a lot is left out. However, the new Sandero can be equipped with a lot of luxury if desired. That way, it is up to the buyer to decide what they are willing to pay for or not. For instance, a reversing camera, keyless entry, a full climate control system and an electric parking brake are all on the options list. Note that some essentials are also options. For instance, a depth-adjustable steering wheel and an armrest also require additional payment.
The second way to keep the price down is the simple design. Dacia's early models (including the Logan) skimped on quality. Outdated technology was also used or things only worked halfway. The result was that the driver was reminded every day to drive a cheap car. Gradually, Dacia got better at reducing things to the essentials.
A good example is the choice of materials. The dashboard is not adorned with wood or high-gloss parts, but with a woven fabric that is much more economical and has at least as much character. The test car is fitted with so-called "Flexwheels" that look like alloy wheels, but are in fact hubcaps. Another example concerns the clocks. These are often replaced by a display these days, allowing the driver to choose which information is shown how. This is nice, but certainly not a necessity. The Sandero therefore features traditional analogue clocks with a small black and white display in between for the on-board computer. This is at least as effective, but a lot more economical.
For audio, communication and sat nav, Dacia offers three options. The first is a phone holder with a USB connection. If a display is chosen, the phone can be connected to it with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to serve as the brain of the car. The test car is equipped with the third option: a full infotainment system that excels in simplicity. The design is elementary, but therefore extremely effective. Note that the sat nav map is limited to Western Europe, the whole of Europe requires an extra charge.
When technology becomes widespread, it naturally becomes cheaper. That is why the Sandero can now automatically brake for danger. A light in the wing mirror indicates whether there is a vehicle in the blind spot. Anti-slip control and airbags are now required by law, so they are always standard.
The Sandero is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine that comes from parent company Renault. Although the Sandero is certainly not a noisy car, it is clearly audible that this is a three-cylinder engine. The characteristic rumble clearly penetrates into the interior, but it is not disturbing.
After starting, the "eco" mode is always chosen. This gives the Sandero enough power to effortlessly keep up with the flow of traffic. When eco mode is switched off, the throttle response is significantly more alert and the 91 hp / 160 Nm strong Sandero can even be described as quick and lively. Despite the fact that the Sandero is equipped with six gears, the revs in the highest gear are relatively high. 90 km/h means 2000 rpm and therefore the Sandero is just a little more tiring on long distances than more expensive cars in this segment.
The Sandero does not feature hybrid or even mild-hybrid technology. The main fuel-saving features are a shift indicator and an idle stop system. On a route with an even share of city traffic, motorways and county roads, test consumption came to 5.7 litres per 100 km. That is slightly more than the factory specification and also more than more expensive cars with more advanced fuel-saving features.
The new Sandero stands on an all-new platform, which is sturdier and lighter than the previous one. Moreover, a more advanced suspension has been chosen. Consequently, there is very little to complain about in terms of handling. On bad road surfaces, the Sandero offers sufficient comfort. On speed bumps, the car reacts well and only its sensitivity to side winds is slightly above average.
The Sandero is not a sharp steering car, but that is simply a manufacturer's choice. After all, the Sandero is not about maximum driving pleasure, but maximum functionality. The Sandero offers functional transport from A to B and still does so at the sharpest possible price.
Dacia presents the third generation of the Sandero. Once again, the aim is to offer as much value for money as possible. And in this, Dacia is succeeding ever better! This is partly due to advancing technology. As a result, Dacia can offer more advanced technology at an old-fashioned price. This is noticeable in the drive, the chassis and the safety features.
In doing so, the Sandero now offers a wide range of options, allowing buyers to decide how simple or luxurious the car is. Arithmetic shows that the advantage is greatest with simple equipment. The more the Sandero is dressed up, the smaller the advantage over other brands. On the other hand, the Sandero is always above average in space, regardless of its trim level.
However, Dacia's most important asset is: simplicity. Instead of prestige, performance or innovation, Dacia invariably opts for simplicity. With that, the Sandero offers enough of everything, but at a much lower price.
- Great value for money
- Bove-average spacious
- Small glove compartment
- High engine speed in sixth gear
- Less competitive with more options