Dacia says that it’s going to keep being a budget car brand and resist calls to fit more expensive and sophisticated active safety kit. Fine. The firm was criticised when the Sandero was given only two stars in Euro NCAP’s safety test because it doesn’t come with a more advanced emergency braking (AEB) system.
Adding cameras to its forward-facing radar would enhance its AEB for a higher mark – but these aren’t mandatory. Dacia was thus accused of putting money before safety. To which the answer is: well, of course it is. The Sandero is the cheapest new car on sale, and adding safety kit that isn’t mandated would be expensive.
The cost of such equipment is one of the reasons why the Peugeot 2008 was given a ‘dual’ Euro NCAP rating: four stars with its standard AEB, which you get on the base model, and five stars with an uprated system (in the UK, standard on non-base cars).
It’s impossible to argue that cars should be more dangerous. Too many people die on the road. But you can’t mandate a bunch of safety kit and then have a pop at the cheapest car on sale when it comes fitted with only that. What more do you expect?
The Sandero meets all legislation and looks after its occupants pretty well in a crash. Plus, it looks after other road users a darned sight better than the old cars that people will swap out of only because the one new car they can afford is a Dacia.
Dacia’s boss said its customers know what they want, and when the Sandero is the best-selling car in Europe, evidently he has a point.