Dacia has confirmed details of its overhauled Sandero supermini – which has, for the last seven years, been the nation’s most affordable new car.
The all-new model shares the latest Renault platform with the popular Clio supermini, meaning it should be better to drive, more comfortable and safer than before, but also gets a stylish new look and a posher interior.
However, by bringing it up-to-date prices will unquestionably increase, with the cheapest example expected to be priced from around £8,000 – a £1,000 premium on the most basic Sandero on sale now.
Sandero gets more stylish: This is the new Dacia supermini, which sets to retain its crown as the cheapest new model on sale in the UK, despite a price hike for this third-generation car
Dacia says the new third-generation Sandero and jacked-up Sandero Stepway crossover will be ‘simple, spacious, reliable and robust vehicles with no unnecessary frills, at the most competitive price’.
From the outside, it’s a far more stylish car than what we’ve come to know from the Sandero since 2013.
The standard hatchback gets a svelte new look, with a 1cm lower roofline and sweeping design.
Up front, a raked windscreen, new headlights featuring Y-shaped daytime running LEDs and a narrower grille gives off a more hunkered and wider look.
This is bolstered by the Sandero being underpinned by the latest Renault CMF-B platform, which is the same one used in the latest – and hugely popular – Clio hatchback.
Dacia says the new Sandero will be ‘ simple, spacious, reliable and robust vehicles with no unnecessary frills, at the most competitive price’
It shares the latest Renault platform with the Clio supermini, which means it is wider than before
The latest images show a visibly longer and more svelte Sandero than the one that’s currently on sale (right)
This means the Dacia gets a wider track (the distance between the two front wheels and two rear wheels) than it has had before.
Round the back, a high rear window line, wrap-around rear light clusters and chunkier bumper also gives it a more squat appearance.
Squint, and you could easily mistake the new Sandero for a Volkswagen Polo, which costs from £17,125 in the UK, so more than twice the price the Dacia will start from.
The slightly more rugged and raised Stepway crossover, which will come at a price premium, is 41mm higher than the conventional hatchback, has chunkier tyres and off-road styling elements such as roof bars and plastic panel protectors.
A higher rear window line, swooping side windows, wrap-around rear light cluster and bulkier bumper shape combine for a far better looking model than the Sandero superminis we’ve seen before
Basic entry models will simply get a radio and Bluetooth with a built-in smartphone cradle. Owners will be able to download a Dacia app for their device to use the phone to control music and sat-nav
Higher-spec versions get this eight-inch touchscreen system and an all-round improved dashboard layout
A switch to the latest platform means extra room for occupants, with improvements to shoulder and elbow room for front passengers and an additional 4cm of legroom for those sat in the back
With both Dacia models now switching to the Clio platform, the driving dynamics should be much improved over the dated previous-generation cars.
Reduction in weight, more up-to-date safety levels and better ride quality should mean an all-round better quality from the budget-friendly superminis.
There will also be a choice of engines, with a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder powerplant with 64bhp, badged as the entry SCe 65.
A more potent version of the 1,0-litre motor, called the TCe 90 with an output of 89bhp, will also be available across the range, with both linked to a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a new CVT automatic transmission.
Dacia will also continue to offer a Bi-Fuel LPG option in the UK, as it has done since the start of 2020.
Despite the mechanical and stylistic changes, the most dramatic improvement is the cabin.
A jacked-up Sandero Stepway (pictured) will also be available, though at a premium over the conventional hatchback
Engines will be 1.0-litre three-cylinder units with the option of a 6-speed manual gearbox or the CVT automatic transmission (as seen here)
The Sandero Stepway gets plastic protectors on the sills and arches, chunkier tyres and roof bars
Out goes the very basic dashboard of the current car and in its place a more modern interior, with a polished-metal dials for the temperature controls – each with a small digital screen – and a new eight-inch infotainment touchscreen for high-spec versions.
Entry-level models will keep costs down by simply offering a Media Control setup including a radio, Bluetooth and a dock for a smartphone.
Owners will be able to download a Dacia app to their device and control it in the vehicle.
As well as technological advances, the switch to the latest chassis platform means extra room for occupants, with improvements to shoulder and elbow room for front passengers and an additional 4cm of legroom for those sat in the back.
Boot capacity is also increased by 18 litres to 328 litres in total.
Up front, a raked windscreen, new headlights featuring Y-shaped daytime running LEDs and a narrower grille gives off a more hunkered and wider look
The Sandero Stepway crossover has an additional 41mm of ride height, though there won’t be a four- or all-wheel-drive option
Boot capacity is also increased by 18 litres to 328 litres in total. The rear seats also fold down for extra space if you don’t have rear passengers
Customers will also be able to choose a host of extra comfort and practicality options, including heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, a remote boot release, power sunroof, electronic parking brake instead of a manual handbrake (see our separate report on the death of the mechanical handbrake in new cars), reversing camera and automatic windscreen wipers.
Safety also gets a boost with emergency brake assistance, blind-spot monitoring, parking assistance and hill-start assistance all available in the new cars.
While pricing has yet to be confirmed for the UK market, Dacia says it will be ‘unbeatable’ for affordability.
With the likely omission of the stripped-out ‘Access’ specification, which did without mod-cons to keep the entry price down to £6,995, and the switch to the latest platform, costs are likely to start from around £8,000 when it arrives in showrooms at the end of this year.