Touching down on our shores for the first time in 2013 in second-generation Dacia Sandero guise, the Romanian supermini immediately staked its claim to the title of ‘cheapest new car in Britain’. Prices for the bog-standard Access model started at £5995, for which you would get a car that had four wheels, an engine and not much else. Such was the absence of standard equipment that even the most conservatively minded Spartan would have felt right at home behind the wheel.
Of course, despite the headline-grabbing price, not many people actually opted for the Austerity Special. Higher-spec variants offered a bit more in the way of creature comforts (namely air conditioning and a stereo) but still came with an intriguingly low sticker price. The formula proved to be a hit, and with a range bolstered by similarly cut-price offerings in the form of the Dacia Duster SUV and Dacia Logan MCV, Dacia sold its 100,000th UK car just three years after it first set up shop.
Fast forward to 2021, and the Renault-owned brand has sold 108,000 Sanderos in Britain alone. It’s the Romanian firm’s breadand-butter model, and was a big contributor to its ability to shift more than 500,000 cars annually in Europe before the pandemic.