The Dacia Spring is set to be the most affordable way to make the switch to a new electric car, though that shows in its overall quality
- Set to be the cheapest new electric car
- Respectable boot space
- Excellent to drive around town…
- …but poor to drive elsewhere
- Cost-cutting is easy to spot inside the car
- Awkward driving position with little adjustment
This is the Dacia Spring, and it’s rather like Lidl or Aldi’s own-brand soy milk. It’s set to be the most affordable way to be a little kinder to your local environment with the switch to a new electric car.
It’s considerably bigger than a Citroen Ami (itself technically a quadricycle), and will line up alongside the likes of the Honda e and Smart EQ ForTwo in the city-focused EV market. Emphasis on ‘will’, as the car you see isn’t coming to the UK – rather an updated version will follow in 2024.
That update will bring some styling changes. Let’s hope there’s not too much different though, because the Spring has an endearing quirkiness. Stubby, sure, but there’s a charm about it. It’s all a bit ‘Honey, I shrunk the Duster’.
Naturally, the Spring’s miniature dimensions result in a pretty small interior. Cost-cutting is evident in the materials used throughout too, with most panels being exposed hard plastic. This is to be expected and forgivable for a car set to be the cheapest EV on the market.
Less forgivable are some of the other penny-pinching measures. For a start, blank buttons are plastered all over the steering wheel, and there are a few across the dashboard too.
Then there’s the driving position. The raised seat and low-set steering wheel are akin to being in a Little Tikes Cosy Coupe – and there’s not much you can do to change it. Seat adjustment is limited to back or forth only and there’s zero movement in the steering wheel.
Entry-level European-spec Dacia Springs come equipped with a basic radio system, though better-equipped models utilise a 7.0-inch infotainment system. To some surprise, satellite navigation is built in (albeit a seemingly ancient one), though the system is otherwise light on features.
You can mirror your phone through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which is a much better use of the screen.
Space in the back is a mixed bag. You can only seat two in the back and legroom is pretty tight, though there’s an impressive amount of headroom – largely thanks to its stubby pseudo-SUV proportions.
As for boot capacity, 290 litres in a car this size is rather impressive and puts it top of the class. For context, the Smart EQ ForTwo gives you 260 litres with the Toyota Aygo X, another city car posing as an SUV, offering 231 litres.
Granted, some of the space is taken up by charging cables, but if you’re going for short journeys without the need to plug in, there’s plenty to work with.
That said, you’ll need to bring those cables for any longer treks. A dinky 26.8kWh battery is used in the Spring (that’s about 5kWh smaller than one in a Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid). The officially-tested range figure comes in at 137 miles, with a mixed driving route for this test indicating around 110 miles as a more realistic expectation.
Power is drawn by a single electric motor, with a choice of 45hp and 65hp power outputs. Zero-60mph takes 19.1 seconds in the former, dropping to 13.7 seconds in the latter.
None of those figures are impressive on paper, but they don’t really matter if your driving is largely town-based. There’s enough poke from the motor for getting in and out of junctions, and you have good charging access at home.
Impressive all-around visibility, soft suspension (not normally a trait of electric cars, which tend to be stiff to counteract lots of weight) and nimble manoeuvring make the Spring a breeze to use for that purpose. Higher-spec models are equipped with parking sensors and a reversing camera, too.
The charm does unravel a bit when you’re out on the motorway or a twisty road. Wind and road noise is obvious at higher speeds, and the Spring will wobble around a lot through tighter bends at speed (if you’ve gathered the momentum for it).
If Dacia lives up to its promise of making the Spring the UK’s most affordable electric car, there’s every reason to consider it. Good value for money would build nicely on its excellent usability around town and excuse some of its interior downfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for its UK arrival next year.
In the meantime, check out the latest deals on new Dacia models through carwow, or browse used models in stock. You can even sell your car in a few easy steps.
Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one. All through our network of trusted dealers and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.