Dacia Sandero hatchback
Price £5,995 - £10,295
- Incredible value for money
- Cheap to run
- Big boot
- Not much fun to drive
- Interior feels cheap
- Very dull design
At a glance
“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 and special-edition Laureate Prime models cost more, but it still work 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.
Avoid the 1.2-litre Dacia Sandero hatchback if you want tiny bills
The Dacia Sandero hatchback is very comfortable, but it’s no sports car
The Dacia Sandero hatchback’s cabin is dull but worthy
The Dacia Sandero hatchback is incredibly spacious for its price
Given its low price, the Dacia Sandero hatchback performs surprisingly well on the reliability front