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Woohoo! It's the new Dacia Sandero

It's the return of a Top Gear hero, yours for just under £8k

Published: 29 Sep 2020

A Top Gear hero returns. I know we usually bang on about stratospheric numbers in horsepower, top speed, maybe these days kilowatt-hours. But no. Here's a car that grabs our admiration for a teensy-weensy number. The new Dacia Sandero starts off somewhere less than £8000.

For a proper new-model supermini. It really is new too. There have been times when Dacia – like other cheap-car mongers – has relied on time-expired hardware borrowed from other manufacturers. But this one uses a fully up-to-date Renault-Nissan platform. Mostly the same one as the current Clio. A car that lists at £15k minimum.

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That's the sort of pricing policy, rolled out internationally, that has made the Sandero Europe's best-selling car to private buyers for the past three years.

OK, full disclosure, you probably won't choose the actual base model. It has just 65bhp. You're not that patient are you? But you won't have to step up far to get the 95bhp turbo and six-speed box. Exact UK prices will be known in time for the spring 2021 delivery dates.

Even with that 65bhp engine, there's lots of other useful stuff you'll get as standard. Like full-LED headlights, cruise control, multi-way adjustable seat and wheel. For your entertainment, phone and navigation needs, it pragmatically hooks up to your phone. A holder for which is mounted by the steering wheel, and the wheel's buttons can control the phone via a Dacia app.

Six airbags are also standard, as well as the solid new bodyshell that ought to be protective in a crash. Mind you the base Sandero won't get the toppermost NCAP rating because it doesn't have the standard driver-assist systems that are mandatory for the fifth star. That stuff comes in higher up the range.

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The Stepway faux-by-four returns too, a mildly crossed-over version with extra body cladding and taller tyres that lift the ground clearance.

Actually most Sandero sales are this version. Which says something paradoxical. Dacia builds about the most pragmatic and rational new car available, but even so most buyers upsell themselves to the blinged-up version.

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