The Dacia Sandero is an affordable B-segment model in Dacia’s small roster. It’s available as a hatchback or a small crossover with its Stepway model, the current model year releasing in 2020. Dacia fitted the Sandero with three engine variants, in either gasoline or flex-fuel. The engines power the front wheels via a manual transmission or a CVT.
Sandero Trim Walk
Dacia developed multiple trim levels for the Sandero: Essential, Comfort, Stepway Essential, Stepway Comfort, and Stepway Prestige. Options vary massively from trim to trim, with the Sandero Essential being as basic as a car could ever get. Ascending the trim levels awards you with features like rear electronic windows, or even blind-spot monitoring. Many traits have changed, ranging from powertrain all the way to comfort features, with design cues being completely different on the current model.
On the outside, the Sandero features interesting design cues such as futuristic LED running lights aided by a mildly aggressive front bumper. The wheel options are vastly different from one trim to another.
The base trim gets 15-inch steel wheels while the Stepway Prestige has 16-inch alloy wheels. Base models will have their door handles, mirrors and grille as matte plastic black, with painted ones reserved for the upper trim levels. Metallic paint is optional, ranging from basic whites, greys, and blacks to red, blue, and saturated orange. Sizewise, the Dacia Sandero is as big as a B-segment car is going to get. It is worth noting that the stylistic difference between the regular Sandero and the Stepway variant is plastic cladding and a taller ride height.
The interior also varies massively from trim to trim. As for space, it is best for carrying three adults on longer trips, but four adults will manage for short trips around the city. The rear loading height is relatively tall, but the boot (cargo compartment) is spacious, especially with the seats folded down, reaching upwards of over 1,100 liters (38.85 cubic feet).
As standard, the Sandero doesn’t come with rear electric windows or electronically adjustable side mirrors. Cloth and recycled plastics are the only materials available for the cabin, with more expensive trim levels getting orange accents and extra stitching to improve the design. Overall, the interior is based on simplicity with analog controls all around the cabin to keep the car as affordable as possible.
Consequently, the interior is incredibly practical, with many storage spaces, highly durable, and not prone to obsolescence.
Infotainment System and Safety Features
The Dacia Sandero doesn’t come with an infotainment system as standard. Instead, it comes with a smartphone holder and a proprietary phone app. The infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is available on higher trims. Fortuitously, even the standard model comes with manual air conditioning, with higher trims getting automated air-conditioning. As standard, you can get a USB port in the front both for charging and data transfer, along with one 12-volt socket in the front, upgradable to one for each row.
As far as safety features are concerned, apart from the standard ones mandated by the European Union, you can get blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, and hill-start assistance. Moreover, you can only get these as options, with the base trim only receiving mandatory ones, like TPMS sensors, airbags, and the automatic emergency braking system. The Sandero received a Euro NCAP score of 2 stars, thanks to its poor rating for pedestrian safety along with the limited safety assistance options.
Three Engine Choices
When looking at the engines, we have three variants of the same base block. All of them are three-cylinder 999 CC (1.0L) engines, with the key difference being whether or not it’s turbocharged and if it can run on liquified petroleum gas.
The base engine does not sport a turbocharger and outputs 49 horsepower and 95 Nm (70 lb-ft) of torque, linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The middle option features the same engine with a turbocharger, increasing its output to 67 horsepower and 160 Nm (118 lb-ft) of torque linked to a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Lastly, we have the Flex-Fuel variant that can reach 74 hp and 170 Nm (125 lb-ft) of torque with the help of a 6-speed manual. Nevertheless, all of these are linked only to the front wheels with no all-wheel-drive variant available. Finally, the median fuel economy ranges from 44.4 IMPG on the naturally aspirated and the turbocharged one, to as low as 33.2 MPG while running on LPG.
The Dacia Sandero is a B-Segment car, along with its sibling, the Renault Clio, and other contenders such as the Volkswagen Polo, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, or the Ford Fiesta. Other alternatives are the all-electric Renault Zoe, the full-hybrid Honda Jazz, the Toyota Yaris, or the upscale Audi A1.
See Also — What is the Dacia Bigster?
Photos copyright Dacia 2017 – 2022.