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Expert Rating

Dacia Sandero

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Expert Rating

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Summary


The Dacia Sandero is a supermini-class small five-door hatchback. This version is the all-new model that arrived in the UK in early 2021, replacing the original model that was launched back in 2013.

The new model follows Dacia’s traditional practice of offering an enormous amount of car for the price – the entry-level Sandero starts at just £7,995, meaning it is still easily the cheapest new car on sale in the UK. However, unlike the previous model, the new Dacia Sandero is a genuinely competitive car even without taking price into account.

As it was launched during 2020’s year of coronavirus lockdowns, we haven’t had as many reviews for the new Sandero range as we’d normally expect within the first couple of months of the car arriving in the UK. Now that the press fleet has arrived in the UK and is on rotation with the major motoring titles, more reviews will start to be published and we will keep adding them to our database.

As of August 2021, the Sandero’s Expert Rating score stands at 73% based on 16 reviews. It was higher, but has fallen in recent months because Euro NCAP recently awarded the Sandero a poor two-star safety rating, which will inevitably drag its scores down from some media outlets as they factor this into their reviews.

Somewhat embarrassingly, the Sandero was awarded What Car?’s Car of the Year award before the Euro NCAP safety ratings were published. The magazine has quietly withdrawn the award and downgraded the Sandero’s review score.

The Dacia Sandeo has been praised for its comfort and practicality, and for continuing to offer a unique petrol/LPG dual-fuel engine option that helps to keep running costs down. The main criticisms when it was launched concerned a lack of refinement compared to more expensive rivals, although a more serious issue is Euro NCAP recently giving the Sandero a poor two-star rating (more safety information below).

Key specifications


Body style: Five-door hatchback
Engines: petrol, petrol/LPG dual-fuel
Price: From £7,995 on-road

Launched: Winter 2020/21
Last updated: N/A
Replacement due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Auto Express

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Auto Trader

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Autocar

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Car

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Car Keys

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Carbuyer

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Carwow

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Company Car Today

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Daily Mirror

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Eurekar

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Honest John

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The Sun

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The Telegraph

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Top Gear

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What Car?

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Which?

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Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall rating: 2 stars
Date tested: April 2021

70%

ADULT OCCUPANT

72%

CHILD OCCUPANT

41%

VULNERABLE ROAD USERS

42%

SAFETY ASSIST

Notes on safety rating

The Dacia Sandero scored a very poor two-star rating from Euro NCAP, which generated headlines in the motoring media and was a very disappointing result. However, a better understanding of why the Sandero was only rated two stars is important.

The Sandero scored reasonably well in terms of occupant protection for both adults and children in crash tests. It’s still short of the best small cars, but certainly adequate. If the overall rating was just based on crash performance, it would probably have been awarded four stars rather than two.

Where the Sandero really fell down was in its crash avoidance technology, which has become increasingly important in determining overall ratings – after all, it’s far better to avoid an accident altogether than to survive one. Compared to other small cars, the Dacia’s autonomous emergency braking system is more basic and unable to properly detect pedestrians or cyclists. It does better at avoiding other vehicles, but is still not as good as other small cars.

Given that many of the Sandero’s rivals are actually used cars from other brands based on older technology and older Euro NCAP standards, the overall two-star rating is not as bad as it sounds – although it’s still not good enough for a brand new car in 2021. In summary, the Sandero does an adequate job of protecting you in a crash but doesn’t do enough to to actually avoid one in the first place.

Eco rating


No eco rating

The Dacia Sandero has not yet been lab tested by Green NCAP. This is a new initiative, launched in 2018 as a sister organisation to Euro NCAP. As yet, very few new cars have been tested for environmental impact by Green NCAP, and inevitably the testing programme was halted in early 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.

If and when the new Sandero is assessed by Green NCAP, we’ll have the results here.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Dacia Sandero has won (and then lost again)

2021

  • What Car? Awards – Car of the Year* + Best Small Car*
    * Awards withdrawn after Euro NCAP safety rating was published.
  • DieselCar and EcoCar Top 50 – Best Small Car

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Dacia Sandero, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Citroën C3 | Ford Fiesta | Honda Jazz | Hyundai i20 | Kia Rio | Mazda 2 | MG 3Mini hatch | Mitsubishi MirageNissan Micra | Peugeot 208 | Renault Clio | SEAT Ibiza | Skoda FabiaSuzuki Swift | Toyota Yaris | Vauxhall Corsa | Volkswagen Polo

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Best car rankings

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The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites

Best car rankings

Want to see how this car ranks against its rivals?

The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites