It may not look it, but the Dacia Sandero is the world’s most advanced car. This is because it’s actually a time machine. Note its unapologetically steel wheels, the absence of any adornment whatsoever, and a key that is just that and nothing else. There’s no central locking (remote or otherwise), minimal seat adjustment, air-conditioning comes courtesy of the windows (lowered on winders), and the radio is proudly unintegrated into the dash. In the Sandero, a multimedia experience is having a conversation with your passenger. It’s the Seventies all over again.
The entry-level Sandero Access costs £5,995. This makes it Britain’s cheapest new car, a distinction that should condemn it to the darkest recesses of car-dom but instead could turn it, in our wildly over-specified world, into an object lesson in exactly what you need in a car. Is less more? Or just less? Standing on the main straight of Kent’s feisty little Lydden Hill circuit, Stig’s body language suggests that word may have reached him that our Sandero takes 14.5 seconds to get to 62mph. Not such a time machine, perhaps.
Pictures: Justin Leighton
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine