New Dacia Sandero: major upgrade for value supermini

29 September 2020 - autocar

New Dacia Sandero: major upgrade for value supermini

Latest Clio platform sees Dacia's best-selling small car grow in size for 2021

Dacia's Sandero and Sandero Stepway superminis have entered their next generation with a new platform, an updated design and revised engines.

The Romanian-produced Sandero, one of Europe's most affordable and best-selling cars, has been redesigned to offer "more modernity, roominess and versatility".

Along with revamped front- and rear-end styling featuring new Y-shaped LED signatures, the hatchback's roofline has been lowered by 1cm, its track widened and its wheels made to sit flush with their arches. The ruggedly styled Stepway variant sits 41mm higher than the standard car, courtesy of its larger tyres, and features offroad-inspired styling elements including flared wheel arches, roof bars, plastic body cladding and body-coloured skidplates at its front and rear ends.

Dacia has also overhauled its Logan saloon, but that won't be sold in the UK. Its estate-bodied Logan MCV sibling, which is likely to return to Britain, has yet to be shown in its new form.

The Sanderos and Logans all now sit atop Dacia parent firm Renault's CMF-B platform. Shared with the latest Clio, this is said to reduce weight while improving ride quality, handling characteristics and safety.

Each new model is available with a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine paired with either a six-speed manual or new CVT gearbox. In addition, Dacia will continue to offer this unit with its Bi-Fuel LPG option in the UK.

The new Sandero can also be specified with a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre petrol engine with a five-speed manual 'box. Official efficiency figures have yet to be detailed, but Dacia promises reduced CO2 emissions across the ranges.

The models hold true to Dacia's view that "modern cars shouldn't be filled with nonessential features", although their interiors receive more supportive front seats and a shorter gearstick, plus new standard features including a phone holder, cruise control and automatic headlights.

The Sandero's steering, now electrically rather than hydraulically assisted, needs up to 36% less effort than before to turn the car at low speeds. Three different multimedia packages are now offered on the Sandero. With the entry-level Control option, the driver's smartphone assumes the role of the infotainment system, using a new dedicated app to give access to music, calls, messaging and sat-nav.

The Display option brings a more conventional 8.0in touchscreen set-up, a pair of additional stereo speakers and smartphone mirroring, while the top-rung Nav grade comes with inbuilt sat-nav, wireless smartphone mirroring and a six-speaker audio system.

Optional extras include heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, a remote boot release, an electronic parking brake, a reversing camera and automatic windscreen wipers. The Sandero (and Sandero Stepway) will also offer an electrically opening sunroof for the first time from 2021.

The supermini is safer than its predecessor, thanks to extra chassis reinforcements, airbags and seat supports, alongside a raft of standard advanced driver assistance systems, including emergency brake assistance, blind-spot monitoring, parking assistance and hill-start assistance.

Dacia has yet to confirm UK pricing for the Sandero but says it "will still be unbeatable in terms of price", so we expect an entry point of about £8000. Order books will open in the coming months, with customer deliveries due to get under way from the end of this year.

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