Dacia Sandero Laureate dCi 90

| February 23, 2013 | 0 Comments




Dacia pronounced ‘Datcha’ has been on my kids minds for sometime, thanks to their Top Gear favourite James May, who has been harping on about the Sandero & it’s cost price motoring ever since Top Gear visited Rumania a few years ago.
Acquired by Renault in 1999 & the makers of the Logan, is abut as much as I know about them. But with the cost of owning & running a car going up in ever increasing circles, Renault have brought it’s budget brand to the UK where it’s certainly got ‘nosy of Tunbridge Wells’ chattering, with an entry level price of £5995.
Renault invited a few scribes to drive the Sandero, as well as the Duster & new Clio in late February 2013. Like the gossiping masses, I to wanted to see Dacia in the flesh & of course get a go in one. At the presentation of the Sandero, it was clear that pretty much all UK buyers aren’t going to opt for the £5995 entry level Access model because it’s incredibly basic & appears to have been used as a price point. However, the mid range Ambiance & more so the top level Laureate
offer more of the goodies that UK car buyers have become accustomed to & will undoubtedly make up 99% of all UK Sandero sales, with the Laureate tipped to achieve 80% of all UK sales.
I spent an hour or so in the Laureate dCi 90 which retails at £9795 . My test car had a number of extras on it & included metallic paint adding £470, MediaNav 7″ touchscreen multimedia system, which included a radio with 2X front & rear speakers, Sat Nav, USB & Aux connections , Bluetooth & steering wheel finger tip controls for an additional £250 & 15″ Sahara alloy wheels for £425. These are the kind of extras most UK customers will specify & brings the asking price of a Sandero more into the real world at £10,940, even though at £250 the infotainment system is well priced.
It’s definitely not a looker & reminded me of Rovers last small car the City. Inside it’s like the Rover too with bland grey & black upholstery & dash colouring. The doors feel light when you close them, & the outside door handle has something sharp in it, again reminiscent of the past & the switch gear is also cheap to look at & to the touch, with electric window controls in the middle of the dashboard not where you’d expect them. The glove box is a good size but I grazed my hand putting my hand in it because there’s a very large part of the closing mechanism just waiting to catch your hand on. There is plenty of room in the back though & it has a decent sized boot. Overall it looks & feels inside, as if time has stood still circa 1996.
On the road the Sanderos not half bad. It handles well takes, bumps with aplomb & with Renaults tried & tested dCi unit, performs adequately on B roads. I took it onto the new Wrexham dual carriage way & it reached 70 mph in around 14 seconds. Top speed is 107 mph.
Where it scores highest though, is on fuel consumption & emissions. 74.3 mpg on the combined & 99g/km equals a very attractive proposition particularly for small fleets or public sector fleet managers who just need a car to do a job rather than cosset their drivers.
Renault have culled their UK car range back to virtually nil in the past two years & the Renault network has been desperate for new models to sell. In that respect the Sandero will help, particularly with it’s running costs. However, it will be the Dacia Duster & the new Clio which will help them more, at least until May when the Sandero Stepway arrives.
There’s definitely a place for the Sandero in the UK, but don’t be fooled by the £5995 tag line. You’ll need to spend closer to £11,000 to get a decently specced model & this will only get you a car that brands like Kia & Hyundai left behind almost 10 years ago, but with more up to date goodies.
Worth a punt if you value practicality over comfort. 2/5.

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Category: Dacia

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