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The Top Gear car review: Dacia Sandero
For:Cheap to buy, cheap to run, cheap to insure. Refreshingly gimmick-free
Against:Lacks the safety tech of more upmarket ‘minis. And the style. And the build quality
What is it?
The cheapest car for sale in the UK. Yours for £6,995, this whole actual car. With a roof, doors, wheels and some engine. Brand new, never before farted in or bumped up kerbs. All yours. What’s the catch, exactly?
Okay, the Sandero costs ‘from’ £6995. That’s what the most basic one asks. And when we say basic, we mean unpainted door handles. No radio. No air-con. But hey, Porsche and Ferrari charge six figures for that kind of sadomasochistic treatment. And they won’t give you five seats as a bonus. And if you’re prepared to pay more than eighty quid a month, there are other versions of the Sandero that do indeed feature motorised windows, hot and cold-running air and even a pseudo-4x4 crossover version, called the Stepway.
Ostensibly a Romanian company, Dacia is in fact a Renault offshoot these days, so it gets hand-me-down Renault switchgear and Renault engines, but handily dodges Renault’s touchscreens and digi-dials. If you thought cars peaked in the late 1990s, you’re in for a treat.
All that being said, Dacia (like all carmakers) rarely actually sells a base model. The ‘cheapest car you can buy’ sell hooks people in, but invariably you’ll trade up a trim level or two to score more equipment. The thing about Dacia is that even in the higher models, the cars still feel honest and well-priced, not, well, not lipstick applied to a pig.