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Long-term review

Dacia Sandero - long term review

£14,795 / £15,445 as tested / £213 PCM
Published: 21 Nov 2023

Is this Dacia Sandero x Pembleton T24 combo the perfect ‘simple motoring’ two-car garage?

A couple of months back on a late summer’s day I paid my first visit to the sleepy village of Bayton in Worcestershire. And before you start worrying this has become Escape to the Country magazine, there was actually a motoring purpose to the outing.

You see, Bayton may only have a population of 535 people, but it’s also home to a car manufacturer. Pembleton came to be in 1999 after its founder Phil Gregory built a three-wheeled cyclecar using a motorbike engine and aluminium body panels from an old caravan.

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Up until the 2020s it focused solely on producing different variations of that three-wheeler (known as the V-Sport), but with the company now being led by Phil’s son Guy Gregory, it has branched out into the world of four-wheelers.

Still not the most conventional looking thing, is it? The T24 you see here weighs just 361kg thanks to its bespoke tubular frame chassis and more aluminium body panels. It also gets just under 80bhp and 59lb ft of torque from an 853cc air-cooled v-twin Moto Guzzi engine that hangs out ahead of the front axle.

Why cover all of this in a report about our long-term Sandero, though? Well, driving the Pembleton strangely brought about a similar feeling to the little Dacia. We’ve been banging on about the simplicity of the Sandero’s teeny engine and manual gearbox combo for five months now, but it really is the biggest detox when hopping out of over-assisted, over-complicated modern SUVs. Although if you think that’s a detox, you really should try driving the front-wheel drive T24 for a day.

Someone really should get Gordon Murray into these two cars. It might just be the perfect lightweight two-car garage. You’ve got the Dacia for practical weekdays and the Pembleton for weekend fun. Combined power output? 169bhp.

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Oh, and if you went for proper bargain basement specs of each car, you could have the pair for just under £47,000. That’s two brilliantly engaging, lightweight manual cars for less than the Long Range version of the recently updated Tesla Model 3. I know which I’d pick given the choice…

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