Skip advert
Advertisement

Dacia Sandero hatchback - Engines, drive & performance (2013-2020)

The Dacia Sandero hatchback is very comfortable, but it’s no sports car

Carbuyer Rating

3.0 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.0 out of 5

The Dacia Sandero was clearly developed for comfort and ease of driving rather than sheer entertainment. The steering is a little heavier than most of its rivals around town, but this doesn’t translate into greater feel on the road. All told, while perfectly pleasant from behind the wheel, with more than enough grip from the tyres and a predictable, safe feel, the way the car leans in corners and some occasional ‘kickback’ through the steering discourages you from pushing too hard on a twisty road.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The only difference between the two petrol engines is the amount of power they offer – they both weigh around the same and this means you can barely tell them apart unless you really put your foot down.

As a car intended to earn its keep for providing fuss-free family transport, too much enthusiasm in corners will only spoil your passengers’ enjoyment anyway. Ease off the accelerator, though, and they’ll appreciate the way the Sandero effortlessly soaks up bumps. For such an inexpensive car, the Sandero is a thoroughly comfortable way to pass the miles. It’s not too noisy inside, either – the tyres don’t kick up much racket and the rush of the wind is muted, too.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Although some superminis come with automatic gearboxes, there isn't one available on the Sandero. Only a five-speed manual is offered and while it’s a little notchy in use, it’s acceptable enough for the price.

Dacia Sandero petrol engines

As the cheapest engine option, the 74bhp SCe 75’s 0-62mph time of 15.1 seconds is slow but not unexpected. It’s still a pleasant engine to drive and feels as responsive as some engines with more power.

It has to be worked harder than the more powerful engines, though, and this has a detrimental effect on fuel economy. It’s also a little more prone to vibration but does have a surprisingly characterful sound.

Sitting in the middle of the Sandero engine range is the turbocharged 0.9-litre TCe 90 petrol. With three cylinders, it makes a characterful thrumming noise that never gets intrusive, particularly as its high gearing means engine revs stay low at motorway speeds. A total of 89bhp and 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds makes safely merging with motorway traffic easy. Apart from a tiny bit of lethargy when you first put your foot down, it’s a responsive engine. You have to be quite gentle with the accelerator, though, because the turbocharger’s boost comes in quite abruptly.

Those opting for the range-topping TCe 100 Bi-Fuel 1.0-litre engine are likely to be impressed by its improved pulling power over the TCe 90 engine. It’s also the most powerful engine available in a Sandero, with 99bhp. Despite the extra power, it doesn’t offer any real performance gains, taking 11.5 seconds to reach 62mph regardless of whether you're running it on petrol or LPG.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Top 10 best cars for students 2024
Best cars for students
Best cars
6 Jun 2024

Top 10 best cars for students 2024

Top 10 best first cars for new drivers 2024
The best first cars 2023
Best cars
17 Apr 2024

Top 10 best first cars for new drivers 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

Top 10 best hatchbacks 2024
The best hatchbacks 2023 hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best hatchbacks 2024

Most Popular

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024