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In-depth reviews

Dacia Sandero hatchback – Interior & comfort

Dacia’s trim levels provide just the right amount of toys and even the top trim is very affordable

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

3.5 out of 5

One of the most noticeable areas of cost-saving in Dacia's models is the interior, but it's less of an issue here. The Access trim was certainly very basic, but it was removed from sale during 2021. This leaves Essential models, followed by Expression and the range-topping Journey trim, both of which offer a surprising level of equipment.

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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.

The Sandero Expression has 15-inch steel wheels with plastic trims. The same applies to the Citroen C3 You!, but the Dacia’s design hides more of the wheel behind, doing a more convincing job of imitating an alloy. For a set of genuine alloys, you’ll want to upgrade to the Sandero Journey, which comes fitted with a set of 16-inch items.

Dacia Sandero dashboard

It may have a slightly old-school-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 supermini – like the gear lever and heater controls. In the Expression model we tested, there was an attractive padded section in the dashboard, and a padded section on the door lining for your elbows. Hard plastic is still present around the gearlever and doors, however, as you’d expect at this end of the market. A smartphone holder is wedged between the touchscreen and instrument panel, so it’s only possible to clamp narrower devices into it.

Equipment

Gone are the previous Access and Comfort trim levels, leaving Essential, Expression and Journey trims. Essential has LED headlights, reach and height adjustment for the steering wheel, electric front windows and tinted windows all round, cruise control, a front USB socket, DAB radio, remote central locking and stop/start technology to save fuel and keep emissions down.

Expression undercuts most of the entry-level trims of its rivals on price, yet offers rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, electronically-adjustable wing mirrors, front fog lights, keyless entry, automatic windscreen wipers and an eight-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This makes it our pick, thanks to more usable tech that should also improve the car’s residual values.

New for 2024 is the Journey trim. Sitting at the top of the range, it adds automatic air conditioning, an electronic handbrake, front and rear USB-C ports and Blind Spot monitoring.

Options

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 you can’t even pick the latter, as the LPG tank occupies space underneath the boot floor.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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