While much of the rest of the car industry has been floundering, Romanian budget brand Dacia has been soaring during the last five years - and its biggest-selling model is this - the Dacia Sandero supermini. Now Europe's second best-selling new car, the Sandero arrived in second-generation form at the end of 2020, bringing fresh styling, more practicality, slightly higher equipment levels and a new model platform with it; but keeping much the same value positioning that it had before. Even in our inflation-ravaged Britain of 2023, you can buy it outright in entry-level trim for less than £13,000.
Dacia tweaked the car's grille- and interior design slightly towards the end of 2022, changing its corporate badge logo, but leaving almost everything else about the car unchanged.
Unlike its predecessor, this car has convenience features; niceties, if you like. A reach-and-rake adjustable steering wheel; LED headlights; even a touchscreen infotainment system (on certain trim levels). Okay, it’s easy to be flippant about these sorts of things, but they serve to show just how much Dacia has overhauled the Sandero. It may be the UK’s cheapest car and it’s still called the Sandero, but it’s a total contrast between this version and the 2013-2020 previous Dacia Sandero.
This car sits on Renault's CMF platform. That means it shares its underpinnings with the Renault Clio, and beenfits from greater body rigidity with less weight. We’ll get to what all that means in a tick, but here’s a teaser: it’s good news.
Those new headlights, along with more LEDs at the rear, help to set this car apart from its predecessor. Although the overall dimensions remain the same, the track is a useful 41mm wider and the wheelbase is 15mm longer. Coupled with the new, sharper styling and little touches like the chrome on the grille, this makes the new Sandero less frumpy than before, bringing its style intent closer to mainstream rivals like the Skoda Fabia.