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Long-term review

Dacia Sandero - long term review

£14,795 / £15,445 as tested / £213 PCM
Published: 26 Sep 2023
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Can the Dacia Sandero make you a more efficient driver?

Recently I was revelling in the Sandero’s sense of fun. It may look like a white good (especially if you skimp on the options and go for the only free colour – UN spec white), but it’s the simplicity that makes it so much fun in an age of overcomplicated and over-assisted hatchbacks.

With just 89bhp on tap it can be tempting to thrash the little 3cyl at every opportunity, but this month I’ve been reining it in on an economy drive.

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This was initiated by the discovery of the Sandero’s ‘Driving Eco’ tab in its surprisingly responsive 8.0-inch touchscreen. It gives standard trip data and the like, but it also has an ‘Eco Scoring’ tab that rates your driving out of 100 and gives you a score out of five stars for acceleration, gear changes and anticipation. The challenge was set.

Without knowing this clandestine assessment was going on in the background, I’d managed an eco-score of 66/100. Not great. But that still translated to a very decent mpg figure in the mid 40s.

The ‘Eco Coaching’ tab was offering tips like “try not too accelerate too hard” and “if you have a six-speed gearbox, change to 6th gear from 70km/h”. Yeah, this is a five-speed gearbox. Oh, and it also offers a handy place to house some product placement: “Dacia recommends Castrol.” Get in the bin.

Still, it did the trick in getting me to try and up that score out of 100. Despite being super simple, the Sandero does actually have an ‘eco’ drive mode too. It basically takes away a little bit of engine performance so you accelerate slower (if that’s possible) and it’s remembered even when you switch the car off and back on again. So, a couple of weeks of eco mode and my score is up to… drumroll please… 70. Ah.

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It's unlikely I’ll be putting myself through that again then, especially as the Sandero is efficient enough already. Plus, because I’ve been doing more city driving rather than motorway miles, my average mpg has actually dropped this month. Doh!

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