Of course, whether these traits make a good car or not depends on how much you spend on a Sandero. Adequate and acceptable are fine when you’re spending less than £6000, much more so when you’re spending more than £10,000.
This £8395 price sits nicely next to this Sandero. With the sophisticated engine, strong equipment levels and smartened-up appearance inside and out, it feels true to Dacia’s good value ethos rather than being elevated into an arena it’d struggle to compete in.
Performance from the 1.5-litre turbodiesel is strong, spinning freely and with plenty of low-end grunt. It’s quite noisy above 3000rpm though, and the gearshift is notchy. Tall gear ratios aid fuel economy; we returned more than 60mpg on a gentle motorway run.
The handling is fairly crisp, turn-in decent, although it never feels planted and grip levels aren’t the strongest. The ride is one of the stronger points, there’s plenty of suspension travel, although the secondary ride does suffer with the heavier alloy wheels rather than the steel wheels fitted to lesser Sanderos.
The steering wheel is fixed and the seat doesn’t adjust for height, so finding a decent driving position depends on how tall you are and how close you like the wheel to your chest. If your height and shape works with the default Sandero set-up then lucky you, if not then you might have some achey limbs at the end of a long journey.
The Ambiance trim is nicely appointed. Painting the bumpers the same shade as the body helps lift the model’s appeal no end over the Access. You also get electric front windows, remote central locking a 60/40 split rear seat, a radio with USB and AUX-in connectors and even some chrome trim as part of the Ambiance trim.