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In-depth reviews

Dacia Sandero hatchback – Reliability & safety

The Dacia Sandero is fitted with proven parts and now has some of the latest safety features

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

3.5 out of 5

One crucial part of the Dacia recipe is the use of tried-and-tested parts from its owners at Renault, so almost every part in the Sandero is already familiar. This should help alleviate any issues, as the lower trims in particular have very little technology to go wrong.

Dacia Sandero reliability

As we've alluded to, the 1.0-litre petrol engines fitted in the Sandero are familiar Renault items, so we don't expect any major issues. The sheer simplicity of the car should also be reassuring for buyers, because even if something does go wrong, it should be fairly straightforward and cheap to repair. 

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There is one blot on the copybook, though, which is Dacia's disappointing last-place position in our 2022 Driver Power survey, out of the top 75 models. The model was given poor scores across the board, except for in the value category where it came very near the top. The model didn’t feature in our 2023 edition, although Dacia as a brand came in 26th place out of 32 manufacturers, with a higher-than-average 26% of owners reporting an issue with their car in the first year of ownership. Dacia beat parent company Renault which came 29th overall, although a slightly lower percentage of Renault owners (25%) reported an issue in the first year.

Safety

One of the main strikes against the previous Sandero was its relative lack of safety features compared with the latest models. It scored a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating (out of five), but this was back in 2013 when the test wasn't as tough as it is today.

It hasn’t been tested since, although the Sandero Stepway (heavily based on the standard Sandero) achieved just two stars when it was tested in 2021. This is partly because Dacia models have missed out on key safety technology such as a lane-departure warning system.

However, all new Sandero models built after April 2024 benefit from additional standard-fit safety kit to comply with new European GSR2 safety regulations. That means you get lane-keeping assistance, lane departure warning, driver attention monitoring and advanced emergency braking in every new Sandero model, including the basic Essential trim. 

Some older Sanderos came equipped with a basic emergency braking system that only scored 41% in the Vulnerable Road Users category. This system has since been upgraded for 2024 – now featuring pedestrian and cyclist detection – further boosting the Sandero’s safety credentials.

The Sandero is also fitted with six airbags as standard, along with ISOFIX child seat mounting points. It also has a system called E-Call that can automatically summon the emergency services in the event of a serious accident, and a blind spot monitoring system that flashes an amber LED in the wing mirror when a vehicle or cyclist is in your blind spot.

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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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