Dacia Sandero hatchback

Price  £5,995 - £10,295

Dacia Sandero hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Incredible value for money
  • Cheap to run
  • Big boot
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Interior feels cheap
  • Very dull design

At a glance

The greenest
Lauréate dCi 90 5dr £9,795
The cheapest
Access 1.2 16v 75 5dr £5,995
The fastest
Lauréate TCe 90 5dr £8,795
Top of the range
Lauréate Prime dCi 90 5dr £10,295

“The Dacia Sandero hatchback is the UK's cheapest new car, yet it's spacious, economical and feels grown-up.”

Being the cheapest new car on the UK market, the Dacia Sandero hatchback isn’t what you would call the lap of luxury. Cheap and cheerful is very much the name of the game here, and although entry-level models are basic and the cabin isn’t great quality, you can’t knock it for outright value for money.

The Sandero's rock-bottom list price means it undercuts pretty much every rival in its class – and just about every smaller car as well. Fellow budget superminis and what you might call traditional rivals include the Hyundai i20 and the Kia Rio, but the Dacia is significantly cheaper than both of them and also has a 320-litre boot, which is very large for the class and only a shade smaller than the Hyundai's.

The Dacia's anonymous looks befit its budget image and it isn’t a car for driving enthusiasts, but it's comfortable and practical. It has soft suspension giving a comfortable ride, while its 1.2 and 0.9-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines are economical and cheap to tax.

It's no surprise that the diesel engine is the cheapest version to run, with fuel economy of up to 74.3mpg. CO2 emissions for that model are 99g/km, which means free road tax. This is certainly the Sandero to go for if you’re a higher-mileage driver, but the 89bhp 1.5-litre diesel isn’t the most refined or powerful engine around, so it can get a bit tiring on the motorway. Though they’re not as economical, the petrol engines suit superminis like the Sandero a lot better and they work well in and around town.

The idea of adding a heap of equipment to a small, cheap car might sound strange, but it's necessary with the Dacia if you want anything other than a really basic car. The entry-level Access model has next to no standard equipment, which is why it costs so little – there's no stereo and the bumpers are plain black plastic. The top-of-the-range Laureate model costs more, but it still works out cheaper than most rivals.
The Sandero hatchback has since spawned a 'crossover' version called the Dacia Sandero Stepway, with a raised ride height and some rugged off-road features.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

Avoid the 1.2-litre Dacia Sandero hatchback if you want tiny bills

Engines, drive & performance

2 / 5

The Dacia Sandero hatchback is very comfortable, but it’s no sports car

Interior & comfort

2.6 / 5

The Dacia Sandero hatchback’s cabin is dull but worthy

Practicality & boot space

3.6 / 5

The Dacia Sandero hatchback is incredibly spacious for its price

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

Given its low price, the Dacia Sandero hatchback performs surprisingly well on the reliability front

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
"Even in top-spec trim and with sat-nav fitted, the Sandero costs around £800 less than the cheapest Ford Fiesta, which is gob-smacking value for money. But it's not all about the rock-bottom price tag - interior quality is better than expected and the way it drives is calm, quiet and composed, too, so long as you don’t push it too hard. Factor in rear seats and a boot that's among the most spacious in the supermini class, and the Sandero is an accomplished new car, for the price of a used one."
4 / 5
"The Dacia Sandero isn't faultless; there's evidence of cost-cutting measures throughout, but that's hardly surprising when you consider that the mid-spec 0.9 TCe model costs £3100 less than the cheapest five-door Ford Fiesta. What's even more astonishing is that the Sandero isn't worth recommending on price alone. It's pleasant to drive, easy to see out of and doesn't feel as low-rent inside as you might expect. The Sandero is an endearing and well-rounded package that requires fewer compromises than expected given the incredibly low price."
"Its ace up the sleeve is its competitive price - designed to turn heads of those looking for a supermini that won't break the bank."
"Thanks to an unbeatable combination of price, space and equipment, Europe's fastest growing automotive brand for the last six years has appealed to smart consumers in every country in which the brand is on sale, who have realised they can buy a car which easily meets their needs, without spending more than they need to."
What owners say 
4.6 /5 based on 9 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

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Last updated 
6 Jul 2015
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