As a brand Dacia are all about practicality and affordability. They make mediocre cars and sell them at low prices – which for many is brilliant. Some people just need a car to get them from A to B and they don’t want to worry about all of the features that are available in the latest BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Of course, we think those people are mad, but when it comes to Dacia we see the sense in what they’re offering. The Dacia Sandero offers the lowest entry level point in the Dacia range in Ireland and it is a cheap alternative to nearly all of its rivals.
There are three engines available to the Irish market. The entry level engine is the 1.2 litre 16 valve Sandero in “Alternative” trim. This engine offers 75 bhp and 0-100 km/h in a not-so-quick 14.5 seconds. The 3-cylinder 898cc TCe engine would be a slightly better alternative to the entry level engine. It will give you 90 bhp. The third engine is their 1.5 dCi diesel engine which can also be found in the Dacia Logan MCV. This will give you the same power output as the TCe engine, but it’s €10 per annum less to tax on account of Dacia’s reported CO2 emissions.
The ride quality of the Sandero is clunky at best when on uneven surfaces. On smooth surfaces things are much better, but still nowhere near as good as most competitors. This all comes back to the expense of the vehicle. Why would Renault invest more money than needed into a Dacia product when what they create is perfect for the price they sell the vehicles at? What we’re saying is that you get what you pay for – and consider the sub €10,000 of the entry level model in the Sandero range, the offering is not bad at all. While ride quality may not be excellent the steering is well weighted and it deals well with corners.
The cliché will be used again here. You get what you pay for. This is not an overly refined car. The engines are loud when pushed and the car suffers a lot from general road, tyre and wind noise. The gear box is stiff like in the Dacia Logan MCV.
A lot, if not all, of what you find in a Dacia comes from Renault. This means that the materials are of reasonable quality and they are tried and tested in other cars. The plastics are cheap but acceptable.
In all Dacia’s you will find four airbags. More recently they introduced Electronic Stability Control as well as anti-lock brakes into some of their models. In the Euro NCAP safety tests the Sandero scored four stars, which is not terrible. It doesn’t match many of its rivals when it comes to safety features though.
Unfortunately you can’t adjust the height of the driver’s seat in the entry level Sandero, but it does come with higher spec models. The windows within the Sandero are large, this makes the interior feel spacious. The cabin offer plenty of space, so head and leg room is more than adequate. Boot space to the rear is ample and it would beat many of its competitors in this department.