5,995. That’s how many pounds you’ll need to get a gleaming new example of the car that has obsessed James for years - the Dacia Sandero. And according to the manufacturers, it’s the UK’s cheapest car too.
If, like Cap’n Slow, you’re over-endowed with sense, you’ll be thrilled by its scintillating range of engines, which wear words like “frugal” and “sparing” with spine-tingling ease.
There’s a decadently turbocharged 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol that returns 54.3mph (and whisks owners up to an eye-watering 109mph), and two four cylinders. The first is a 1.2-litre petrol that does 47.9 mpg and 137g/km (and only costs a tenner a month for road tax), and an actually pretty impressive diesel. It’s a 1.5-litre, delivers 74.3 mpg and sub-100 grams of CO2 per kilometre, so you can dodge road tax and London’s Congestion Charge.
The Sandero comes in three trim levels: the provocative “Access”, partially specced “Ambiance” and indulgent “Lauréate”. The entry-level version offers pleasures aplenty, like steel wheels. 15 inches of them on each corner. And power assisted steering, a 60/40 split folding rear seat which drops to reveal a cavernous 1,200 litre boot, and daytime running lights, just like expensive cars. There’s also pre-wiring for a radio (though you’ll have to go to Halfords for the actual radio).
Safety wise, you get ABS with Emergency Brake Assist, ASR traction control, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), driver, passenger and front side airbags and ISOFIX points in both outer rear seats. ISOFIX POINTS IN BOTH OUTER REAR SEATS, PEOPLE.
Playing it fast and loose? For £600 more, the mid-level Ambiance profers niceties like an actual radio CD player with fingertip remote controls, USB and AUX input and Bluetooth. And that’s not all. There’s remote central locking, electric front windows, body coloured bumpers and trims for your 15-inch wheels.
That’s still not all. It gets some plush interior touches such as chrome surrounds for the air vents, instrument dials and steering wheel logo.
For more you’ll have to climb to the top of the Sandero tree, which starts from a lavish £7,995. And it’s rammed with equipment. There’s air conditioning, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, cruise control and electric rear windows as standard. There’s even an optional fully-integrated 7-inch touchscreen navigation and multimedia system for just £250.
There’s also a height adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel, leather steering wheel and gearknob and an upgraded radio CD player with MP3 CD reader and fingertip remote controls and four speakers. FOUR!
So, who’s buying one?