Dacia Sandero hatchback - Interior & comfort
Dacia have chosen just the right amount of toys and even the top trim is very affordable
One of the most noticeable areas of cost-saving in Dacia's models is the interior, but it's less of an issue here. Yes, the Access trim is certainly very basic, but the vast majority of buyers are expected to go for Essential or Comfort, and here there's a surprising level of, well, comfort and equipment.
There is less sound deadening than you’d find in the Renault Clio or Skoda Fabia, though, and this becomes more evident on faster roads like the motorway. Here, road noise and even the sound of the turbo is more noticeable than in more expensive superminis but importantly, despite its budget status, the Sandero’s interior is free from creaks and rattles when driving.
Dacia Sandero dashboard
It may have a slightly frumpy looking analogue instrument cluster and four-spoke steering wheel, but there's a lot to like inside the new Sandero. For starters, the quality has improved noticeably, and there are also more than a few carry-over parts from the Clio - which is a far more expensive car - like the gear lever and heater controls. In the Comfort model we tested, there was an attractive padded section in the dashboard, and a padded section on the door lining for your elbows.
The first two trims get a smartphone holder on the dashboard, while Essential adds Media Control, which allows you to use the Dacia smartphone app to access features like Waze and Google Maps navigation. These work well, but it's a shame only the upper USB socket has a data connection, while the one lower on the dashboard charges, but that's it. The top trim gets an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a reasonably bright display, but a large bezel.
Even with the Access trim level, the more advanced underpinnings mean you now get LED headlights, reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel and front electric windows. Notable omissions include a radio and air-conditioning, and only the SCE engine is offered. Essential will be a better fit for must buyers, and let's not forget it still undercuts the Clio and Ford Fiesta by thousands of pounds. Here, as well as the two features missing above, you also get cruise control, body-coloured bumpers, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
At the top of the range, Comfort trim brings luxuries like keyless entry, electric rear windows, automatic wipers, a rear-view camera, front fog lights and six speakers.
Dacia is famed for promoting simplicity and no frills, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the only options are metallic paint and a spare wheel. Choose a Bi-Fuel version and we doubt you can even pick the latter, as the LPG tank occupies space underneath the boot floor.