Dualdrive Car Review – Dacia Sandero Comfort Tce 90 6 Speed
Read time: 2 minutes
The Dacia Sandero Car Review – This month we have the best-selling ‘retail’ car in Europe since 2017, with over two million finding homes since 2004.
It’s the new Dacia Sandero!
When you think of the Sandero, most will think of the former model and it being the cheapest new car in the UK at the time. A car with no radio, no painted bumpers, no central locking, no aircon. Just wheels and seats.
Fast forward to 2022 and we have the latest generation of Renault owned Dacia, the award winning new Sandero. This car sits on the same platform as the current generation – not previous or old model – Renault Clio and new model Nissan Juke. It also has the latest modern, efficient engines under the bonnet. Here we test drive the most popular and one we feel the Instructor’s would most benefit from, the 1.0 Tce 90bhp petrol. Our test version is the Comfort model, this has since (and the car has only been on the market under 2 years) been updated to the Expression model which the new Dacia logo on the front grille and new paint options. However that’s the extent of the changes so read on to see how we got on with our test model.
To quote ‘Top Gear’ – It looks smart, and inside has more than enough space enough for five people and their luggage. The outgoing Dacia Sandero, which we liked very much, looked and felt cheap. This latest one just… doesn’t. Not as much, anyway. It’s bewildering. In the Iron Blue of our test model, with sharp new creases and a lower, wider stance the previous version we think it’s a decent looking car. The Comfort model we drove (which has since been replaced by the Expression model) comes with 15-inch alloys, foglights, body-coloured everything, keyless entry, rear electric windows, automatic wipers, heated and electrically-adjustable mirrors, parking sensors (with a back-up camera) and the eight-inch touchscreen including Android and Apple CarPlay amongst other things. There’s even a drivers armrest that tilts out of the way when not required, simple but effective!
What’s it like on the inside?
So, exterior thoughts noted. What’s it like on the inside? Well firstly there’s notably more room than we anticipated, and a 6 footer can easily get behind the wheel and allow somebody to travel behind without cutting off the circulation to their legs. The transmission tunnel is low in the rear so you can get 3 rear seat passengers seated which can’t be said for some other mainstream rivals. The boot is deep and admittedly does have a higher loading lip than some would like, however it makes up for this with more capacity and the split fold seats only add to extra carrying capacity.
The dashboard, OK we’ll admit, isn’t the last word in luxury but it’s functional, appears to be well made and doesn’t stand out either way. We do like the simple rotary controls for the heating and ventilation, the Touchscreen is simple to use and does what it needs to do (this is all familiar Renault territory) and it’s easy to get comfy in the seat with the reach/rake plus height adjustment. Slim A pillars at the front aid visibility and the gearbox and clutch, well, they’re light and extremely easy to use. Reverse is up and over so no getting muddled up, this car has a 6 speed box. Again, how may rivals have a 6 speed box? There’s a central binnacle option to display the speed in a digital format, important for Instructors. There’s also plenty of space in the doorbins for larger water bottles and the passenger footwell has loads of space too. There’s really nothing we can fault!
Driving the Dacia Sandero
Behind the wheel, press the engine start button and the 3 cylinder turbo engine fires into life – don’t let first impressions fool you. According to Car Wow, ‘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. We found it felt very keen and responsive, and preferred driving it with the ‘Eco’ button pressed. This softens the throttle response slightly, not only improving fuel economy but also making it easier to accelerate smoohtly.’ We couldn’t have worded that better, the car feels eager and nippy from the offset, there’s no noticeable turbo lag and during a mix of mostly urban and a few dual carriageway runs we averaged late 40’s mpg.
The car will happily tootle around at 28mph in 4th gear without labouring the engine and having the 6th gear at anything over 50mph is a huge bonus to aid economy. We are going to say it, this car drives better than some of its closest rivals, some of which don’t have a turbocharged engine but some that do! The gearchange is concise and ratio’s pretty well spaced out, the steering is light (possibly too light for some) but noticeably our car, riding on 15” alloy wheels, soaked up the bumps nicely and handled fine. It’s not a car for taking corners fast or feels particularly ‘planted’ on the road, however for an Instructor it’s well upto the mark.
Overall we have been impressed with the Sandero and feel it’s definitely a car worth considering.
If you want to experience the Dacia Sandero for yourself get in touch with our expert team today.