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Long-term review

Dacia Sandero - long term review

£14,795 / £15,445 as tested / £213 PCM
Published: 08 Jan 2024

It’s time to say goodbye to our Dacia Sandero – a worthy companion of a car

The Dacia Sandero is leaving the TG Garage. It’s hard to believe it’s been with us for six months already, and that probably says a little about how competently it can cope with pretty much any situation, plus a little about how forgettable it is.

The latter shouldn’t really be an insult, though. The Sandero may be a little bland but there’s a very good reason for its simplicity. Firstly, it keeps the cost down. This may no longer be Britain’s cheapest car at the time of writing (the Kia Picanto pips it by just over £100), but it is absolutely still one of the best in terms of value for money. This Expression trim is top spec and starts at under £15,000.

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And as we’ve found over the last half year, the simple drivetrain is a bit of a joy too. I’ve mentioned this a fair few times already in these reports, but I’ll keep banging the drum of light weight, low power and manual gearboxes until two tonnes is considered light, 400bhp is a minimum and manual gearboxes are consigned to history. Sad times.

The Sandero is genuinely practical too. The 328-litre boot is plenty big enough and the rear seat space is cavernous compared to something like a Picanto. The Dacia is a class above those teeny city cars but still manages to play in their price range.

Although speaking of rear seats, we did have a rather strange issue with our particular Sandero towards the end of its time with us. I’m very well acquainted with damp interiors having lived in multiple rented properties in London, and not all that long ago there was a similar feeling inside the little Dacia. There was also a strange sloshing noise coming from under the passenger seat, and initially I assumed a water bottle had found its way under the seat with a small leak.

A proper rummage around under the seat revealed no such thing, and only then did I notice the dampness of the carpet in one of the rear footwells. Dacia was keen to investigate the issue, which meant swapping our car for what turned out to be an identical twin. Nope, you’re not seeing double after all.

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Apparently, the issue was an air con drain tube coming loose, which Dacia described as an “unlikely event” and a “one-off” rather than a thematic issue. Good to know.

Plus, if that didn’t happen then we really wouldn’t have much to complain about after spending six months with the Sandero. We did find that the USB connection dropped out intermittently and made using Apple CarPlay (which is your only form of navigation) a bit tricky though, and the placement of the USB socket up on the dashboard means that your cable dangles down by your legs. Not ideal.

Still, we’ve had way more issues in the past with cars that cost two, three, four or five times more than the Sandero, and we’re sad to see it go. Wonder how long it’ll be until we get another car with steel wheels on the fleet?

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