Dacia Sandero Review & Prices

The no-frills Dacia Sandero has been updated, and builds on its core values of practicality and outstanding value for money – just don’t expect much in the way of equipment

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RRP £13,795 - £17,295 Avg. Carwow saving £627 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Value for money is tough to beat
  • Interior is spacious and impressively practical
  • Holds its value well

What's not so good

  • Poor two-star safety rating
  • No USB charge points in rear
  • Colourful paint job costs extra

Find out more about the Dacia Sandero

Is the Dacia Sandero a good car?

The Dacia Sandero is a budget small car alternative to the popular Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. It doesn’t meet those cars head-on in terms of tech or driver appeal, but rather looks to beat them on value for money. In fact, in its most basic guise, it’s one of the cheapest new cars on sale in Britain.

For that reason, buying a Sandero has always been a bit like travelling on a Ryanair flight. Sure, you’ll wind up in the same destination at roughly the same time as you would on a British Airways plane, but your ticket will cost you a fraction of the price. Just like that in-flight sandwich, however, you’ll have to fork out if you want any extra toys on your Dacia.

Chances are you’ll be willing to spend that money, too. As far as looks are concerned, you can no longer get the flat white paint and large black plastic bumpers that gave the car an is-it-finished-yet aesthetic.

Now, there's just the Essential and Expression models – offered with body-coloured bumpers and more imaginative (optional) paint options – which help the Sandero look much smarter, helped by an update in 2022 that gave the car a new face. Just don’t expect to turn as many heads as you roll down the high street as you might in a Renault Clio.

That said, the cabin has a surprising amount of wow-factor about it – at least it does on the range-topper. Sure, there are a lot of hard, scratchy plastics throughout and a few of the fixtures do feel cheap, but it’s by no means grim in here. Snazzy black and white fabric trim inserts really give the place a visual lift, and there are plenty of useful storage cubbies dotted throughout.

The driving position is spot on too, thanks to good visibility, clear analogue dials and plenty of adjustability in the seat base and steering column. Backseat passengers won’t have much to grumble about when it comes to leg- and head-room either, and boot space is par for the course (although the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Renault Clio both have more).

The 90hp engine has enough oomph to get around town and doesn't run out of puff on the motorway, either

It’ll also get you from A to B with no fuss or bother. Sure, the light steering can feel a bit vague at quicker speeds, but the Sandero is fine to drive and is easy to manoeuvre around town. It’s pretty comfortable, even on long drives, while wind and road noise is minimal on the motorway.

There's a choice of two engines in the form of a 90hp petrol and a 100hp petrol/LPG bi-fuel version, both of which utilise a 1.0-litre engine and five-speed manual gearbox, returning about 53mpg (when running on petrol). If you would prefer an automatic, the more rugged Sandero Stepway has this option on its top-spec Extreme trim.

This bells and whistles trim isn't available on the regular Sandero, but you do get creature comforts like a proper infotainment display with built-in sat nav, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, a reversing camera and parking sensors, in Expression models.

Of course, doing so will mean you have to pay (a bit) more money – just like you would if you wanted to bring more than a backpack with you on that Ryanair flight.

Even so, for the way it drives and the practicality on offer, the Dacia Sandero still represents exceptional value for money. Being ‘cheap’ certainly isn’t a bad thing in this instance. If this sounds like your kind of car, you can browse the latest Dacia Sandero deals, or browse a large stock of used Sanderos from a network of trusted dealers. You can also take a look at other used Dacia models, and if you need to sell your current car, carwow can help with that too.

How much is the Dacia Sandero?

The Dacia Sandero has a RRP range of £13,795 to £17,295. However, with Carwow you can save on average £627. Prices start at £13,505 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £194. The price of a used Dacia Sandero on Carwow starts at £8,810.

Our most popular versions of the Dacia Sandero are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.0 Tce Essential 5dr £13,505 Compare offers
1.0 Tce Bi-Fuel Essential 5dr £13,537 Compare offers

The Sandero has long had the accolade of being the cheapest car in Britain, and while the little MG3 and Kia Picanto might have stolen that title for the time being, it still represents fantastic value.

The MG3 is priced to slot in between the Sandero’s base Essential and more comprehensive Expression trim, but the Sandero still retains its edge thanks to more comprehensive standard equipment for the price and a more polished driving experience.

Alternatives like the Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio (on which it’s based) and the Ford Fiesta may offer more refinement, but they all cost considerably more in base trim. With such a massive saving, we would opt for a Sandero in top Expression trim which adds just £1000 to the base price and includes some desirable features like keyless entry, 8.0-inch media display and electric rear windows.

It's also worth noting that while the MG3 and the Picanto might push the Sandero for price, the Dacia is a more spacious car than both.

Performance and drive comfort

The Sandero offers decent performance around town and the soft suspension copes well with rough road surfaces, but it’s not one for the more enthusiastic driver

In town

The Dacia Sandero is a great choice for trips around town, it has light (if slightly lifeless) steering, a comfort-orientated suspension set-up and enough poke to zip into gaps in traffic. The driving position is good, with decent visibility, and the optional automatic transmission helps take the stress out of the daily commute. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on the top Expression trim, but the car is compact enough not to need them.

On the motorway

The new Dacia Sandero is a step up from its forebear, with much-improved refinement at motorway speeds. You do have to work the engine to get up to speed, and it can be quite noisy as the revs rise, but it settles down nicely once you're cruising along. There's a bit of wind noise, but nothing unbearable.

You’ll get a quieter ride in some pricier alternatives, but the Sandero copes well on long journeys and is spacious enough to accommodate four adults and a few small bags at the same time.

On a twisty road

The soft suspension settings that give the Sandero its forgiving ride quality around town mean that enthusiastic cornering is not its forte. It grips the road well but the body will lean in the bends when taken at speed, something that you’re not exactly likely to do in this car anyway.

Regardless, enter a roundabout with too much enthusiasm and you might notice the front end washing wide. Meanwhile, the 90hp petrol engine is willing but not really suited to this sort of more enthusiastic driving; a Ford Fiesta would be far more fun on a twisty road.

Space and practicality

The Sandero is spacious enough for four adults although it’s not quite as practical as pricier alternatives

The driver won’t have any trouble getting comfortable behind the adjustable steering wheel, and although there aren’t any electric controls here, the seats offer plenty of movement to find a good spot. The front passenger seat doesn’t offer height adjustment, but there is a small armrest and plenty of head and legroom.

A set of cupholders are built into the centre console and there’s space for a mobile phone ahead of the gear lever, but the door bins are pretty small, as is the glovebox.

Space in the back seats

The rear seats are comfy, too, with enough space for two adults or a set of baby seats which can be affixed to the two outer ISOFIX mountings. Headroom and kneeroom are surprisingly good, and although the middle rear seat is a bit tight for larger passengers, three teenagers should fit across the rear bench. A solitary cupholder is provided for passengers in the back and there are no USB sockets.

Boot space

You get 328 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, which is more generous than the 292 litres you get in the Ford Fiesta, but slightly less than the VW Polo’s 351 litres. Fold the 60:40 split rear seats down and you get 1,108 litres in total – again falling in the middle of its class.

The boot opening is wide but there is a hefty lip to lift heavy things over, plus the boot floor isn’t completely flat either. You do get a few handy hooks for bags, though, and there is a space under the boot floor for the optional spare wheel.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

A modern interior and some stylish touches belie the Sandero’s budget market positioning, but there's no hiding the sea of black plastics

Because of its price, you might think the interior will feel cheap and incredibly dated. However, even the entry-level Essential trim looks a tad more upmarket than you might expect, with clear analogue dials, sharp horizontal lines across the dashboard and a decent level of fit-and-finish. There are still vast swathes of hard plastic throughout the cabin, but it manages to avoid looking like it has been built down to a price.

The Expression trim adds a leather-covered steering wheel, plusher seat fabric and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen – the base model requires you to use your smartphone instead. The screen incorporates a rear camera to go along with the parking sensors that are also part of the Expression trim. The system is simple enough to use and offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity if you prefer to use your own apps. 

Smart rotary knobs control the heating and ventilation system and the steering wheel is equipped with buttons for the cruise control, while the audio system gets its own stubby adjustment stalk below the headlight controls. A 12-volt socket and USB port are located below the temperature controls and the top trim even gets keyless entry.

MPG, emissions and tax

You have a choice of two engines; a petrol and a petrol/LPG bi-fuel option. Both are 1.0-litre units that are priced the same, with similar performance and economy, so choosing between them essentially comes down to whether you think you're likely to ever fill up with liquefied petroleum gas.

There's a second tank for the LPG and you can switch between the two fuels. LPG costs less than petrol, but it's not always easy to find.

Want more specifics? Of course you do. Well the bi-fuel model has a bit more power, running at 100hp on LPG, while both make 91hp on petrol power. Top speeds are about 110mph following a leisurely 0-60mph time of around 12 seconds, which isn't terrible for a car in this segment.

You're also looking at around 53mpg, so running costs will be low regardless of which engine you go for, while the circa-110g/km CO2 emissions mean first-year tax rates aren't too bad either.

Safety and security

The latest Dacia Sandero is a big step up from the previous model, not least because it’s now based on the current Renault Clio underpinnings. You might expect this to mean that it would achieve the same five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as the Clio, but unfortunately the Dacia Sandero Stepway (the high-riding version of the Sandero) scored a lowly two-star rating. The regular Sandero hasn't been tested, but it's identical in most ways.

While the 70% and 71% adult and child occupant safety ratings are passable, the poor 42% score for advanced driver assistance systems let it down. For what it’s worth, were it not for the limited efficiency of the automatic emergency braking system, the Sandero Stepway would have received a four-star rating.

All Sandero models come with hill start assist, advanced emergency braking (although only effective in avoiding other cars and not pedestrians or cyclists), six airbags and cruise control. The Expression trim adds keyless entry, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

Reliability and problems

The tried-and-tested components used in Dacia models have meant that they tend to be reliable cars. Reliability surveys have seen the Sandero score very highly, often in the top three positions, putting it ahead of far posher brands.

All Dacia Sandero models are covered by a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, but this can be extended to up to six years/100,000 miles for an impressively low cost.

Buy or lease the Dacia Sandero at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £13,795 - £17,295 Avg. Carwow saving £627 off RRP
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