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 bring 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.