Value for money is the order of the day as cost-conscious families are gently returning to the new car market after the showrooms reopen.
Just as some savvy shoppers might trade Waitrose and M&S for the delights of Aldi and Lidl, those on a budget are finding that you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent set of new wheels.
So how about something built in North Africa by a Romanian automaker owned by French Renault?
Value for money: Just as some smart buyers might trade Waitrose and M&S for the delights of Aldi and Lidl, those on a budget are finding they don’t have to break the bank
The new Dacia Sandero – which I just drove with its sportier sibling, the Sandero Stepway – is officially the cheapest new car in the UK market, with prices starting at just £ 7,995.
That’s half the price of a Ford Fiesta and even makes it competitive with the price of many used cars. But there’s a big difference between cheap and inexpensive, which is why the Sandero was recently crowned What Car. of the year 2021 by the consumer magazine as well as winning the title for the best small car, which adds to a long list of awards. Its sibling Dacia Duster was named the best SUV with family value.
In a surprise blow for Dacia and What Car? The official crash test safety figures published on Wednesday rated both the Dacia Sandero SUV and the Sandero Stepway with only two out of five possible stars.
The head of Euro NCAP said the car’s limited autonomous emergency braking system was “disappointing” as it uses cameras that only look for other vehicles rather than pedestrians and cyclists.
However, the organization also said, “Crash protection is respectable, with a performance that would make the car a four-star performer if it weren’t for its flaws elsewhere.”
Dacia’s rise was founded in 1966 and began in 1999 when French auto giant Renault took over the Romanian automaker and launched the first car in Western Europe – the Logan – in 2004, followed by the first Sandero in 2008.
The Dacia Duster SUV – built in Mioveni, Romania – has also gained a cult following among people who like to customize their vehicles. Even Pope Francis is impressed when he received a custom-made Dacia as one of his official “Popemobile”.
Going back to basics doesn’t mean ignoring the fun, however. The new Sandero model is as straightforward as it used to be – simple. And the basics – from the chassis to the engine to the electrics – come from the new award-winning Renault Clio. There’s a steering wheel, gear stick, and an easy-to-navigate dashboard. The interior is not luxurious, but beautifully finished with soft-touch decorations and fabrics. It also has a bigger trunk, more legroom, and lots of storage holes.
For £ 7,995, the entry-level Sandero in Access has the basics. There is no touchscreen satnav or radio, but there is a bracket in your smartphone that enables this.
The equipment variants of the additional kit are constantly being further developed. Essential from £ 8,995 and Comfort from £ 11,595 with GPS.
The SUV-like Sandero Stepway, which accounts for around 60 percent of sales in Great Britain, has a ground clearance of 174 mm higher and has versatile modular roof racks that can be converted into a roof rack that can hold up to a considerable 80 kg kit .
Starting at £ 11,495, the basic Access fairing is missing but a Prestige is added with a range of £ 13,895.
There are three motors to choose from. The SCe 65 is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine with a naturally aspirated engine and five-speed manual transmission that is only available from the Sandero. The more powerful TCe 90 is a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder that is available with a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
To save emissions and improve fuel efficiency, there is also a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo-charged and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engine from TCe 100 with a six-speed manual gearbox that automatically switches between the gas tank and gasoline tank as needed .
I drove a Dacia Sandero Stepway Prestige in a haunting Desert Orange hue that was powered by a sleek, turbo-charged 1.0-liter three-cylinder 90-horsepower TCe 90 gasoline engine connected to a six-speed manual gearbox.
It may be a relaxed ride, accelerating from rest to 100 km / h in a stately 12 seconds to a top speed of 100 km / h, but it still feels sufficiently energetic and averages an economical 50.4 MPG at achieve CO2 emissions of 127 g / km. The driven price was £ 14,604 including the metallic paint (£ 560).
Car price trading experts at CAP-HPI said the Sandero and Sandero Stepway have the best residual values in their class and predict that after three years and 30,000 miles they will hold 53 percent of their value.
Which car? Commenting on the winning car of the year, Dacia Sandero, editor Steven Huntingford said: ‘After an incredibly difficult year and with the prospect of difficult economic times, the Sandero is the perfect new car for the moment. It will put a smile on every shopper’s face and have a price that anyone can please. ‘
However, the publication was disappointed with the Sandero’s crash test safety rating of two stars when it was expected to receive three stars.
All new Dacias come with a three-year warranty of 60,000 miles, which can be increased with an extended Peace of Mind warranty of up to six years and 100,000 miles of coverage.
Customers can also sign up for three- and four-year service plans starting at £ 9.99 per month.
BECKHAM’S FAST WAY TO BECOME AN AMBASSADOR
David Beckham has just signed up as “global ambassador” for Italian luxury sport and the major touring car company Maserati.
At the start, the former English soccer captain starred in a short promotional video in which he was having fun and – sure – seemed to be making rubber-burning “donut” circles in an SUV with a Maserati Levante Trofeo costing £ 125,000.
Best Foot Forward: David Beckham Says It Is An Exciting Time For Him To Begin A Partnership With Maserati
The beast is powered by a powerful 3.8-liter V8 engine with 580 hp and can accelerate from standstill to 100 km / h up to a top speed of 300 km / h in 4.1 seconds.
Says Maserati: ‘In the film, the Maserati ambassador drives the brand’s ultimate SUV – the Levante Trofeo. It shows Beckham performing a bold act of driving in a Maserati, just for the sheer joy of doing the unexpected. ‘
Beckham says, ‘It’s an exciting time for me to start this partnership with Maserati. An Italian cult brand that shares my appreciation for the best innovation and design. ‘
Maserati also seems to be delighted: “David Beckham is the perfect partner to accompany Maserati on the next leg of its journey.”
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