In-depth reviews

Dacia Sandero hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Choose the TCe engine and the Sandero is quick enough and easy to drive

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Fantastic value
  • Practical
  • Right amount of kit

Cons

  • Access trim is too basic
  • Base engine is sluggish
  • Road noise

The fact the latest Sandero is based on the lighter, stiffer underpinnings of the current Clio is a great start, and the Sandero also now has a noticeably wider, and more athletic stance. Its steering is fairly light, but accurate enough to ensure the car doesn't wander along the road. 

It's also pleasing to note that the 90 TCe's standard six-speed manual gearbox is good to use, with a slick feel that makes it easy to keep the engine in its power band. Surprisingly, the more expensive Renault Clio TCe 100 only has a five-speed manual.

Our early test car was left-hand drive, but despite spending more time than usual driving through potholes and over drain covers, the ride comfort proved this is a car aimed more at soaking up bumps than posting lap times. There's a reasonable amount of body lean in corners, but the Sandero is perfectly fine to drive unless you up the pace on a twisting back road. 

Dacia Sandero petrol engines

Both the SCE 65 and TCe 90 use the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, but the latter gets a turbocharger to improve its peak figure and pulling power. While the SCE gets Dacia the accolade of the UK's cheapest new car, we'd save up for the TCe, because its performance advantage not only makes it faster, but also more relaxing to drive. With the SCE taking 16.7 seconds to get from 0-62mph, it is likely to struggle to get up to speed on motorways and dual carriageways. 

With a 0-62mph time of 11.7 seconds, the TCe is capable of keeping up with traffic without much fuss, doing its best work between 1,750rpm and 3,000rpm. It's also available with a CVT automatic gearbox, but we're yet to drive this model. 

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