The bombshell has been dropped. Riding on the crest of a wave of global growth, Renault's budget brand, Dacia, arrived in the UK. And it brought with it a product to shake up the market: the inexpensive Sandero. 

Now to measure the impact crater. Is this car as appealing as the idea of it? Will it suit the roads and drivers' tastes of one of the most mature and idiosyncratic car markets in the world? Is it likely to inspire a super-low-budget supermini class of its own? Or will the unavoidable concessions of a low-cost supermini prove unpalatable, and render the Dacia an irrelevance to the likes of us? 

The range from 2017 kicks off with an entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol Core-trim Sandero that comes replete with grey plastic bumpers and manual door locks. 

More upmarket versions are available, with upgraded trim, more powerful engines and better kit levels, but the price predictably begins escalating to around, or above, that of more mainstream and desirable alternatives like the smaller but more appealing Skoda Citigo or the similarly sized but less well kitted out Ford Fiesta.

This is just one of the many conundrums a Sandero buyer must consider, as they juggle capability, space and badge appeal, among many other things. However, Jean-Christophe Kugler, Head of Dacia, remains confident that the Dacia's presence will continue to grow as buyers embrace the cheeky charm these budget cars brign with them. At the Paris Motorshow, Kugler also unveiled the tweaked look of the Sandero which majors on a distinctive new exterior and, an uprated and more ergonomical interior.

So what exactly do you get when you choose to buy a Dacia Sandero – and what must you be prepared to give up? Read on to find out.

To find out what our sister site, What Car? thought of the Dacia Sandero, watch the video below.

Top 5 Superminis

  • Ford Fiesta
    Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

    Ford Fiesta

    1
  • Mini Cooper 5-door hatch

    Mini 5-door hatch

    2
  • The Mazda 2
    The Mazda 2 name dates back to 2002. This latest version showcases the firm's Skyactiv technology and 'Kodo' styling

    Mazda 2

    3
  • Volkswagen Polo

    Volkswagen Polo

    4
  • Renault Clio
    Distinctive styling details are taken from the showstopping Renault Dezir concept car

    Renault Clio

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    21 January 2017
    Is an upgrade to 730bhp and the addition of four-wheel steering enough to realise the Aventador's potential?
  • Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375
    First Drive
    20 January 2017
    Does an official Mountune upgrade of 25bhp and 30lb ft, improve the already rampant and rather magnificent Ford Focus RS?
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics