Dacia Sandero (2013-2021) Review

Want rock-bottom PCP finance or cash prices? The Dacia Sandero is the UK's cheapest new car

Strengths & weaknesses

  • No-frills charm
  • Very good value
  • Efficient diesel engine
  • Cheap and dated interior
  • Safety lags behind that of newer cars
  • High-spec versions face tough competition
Dacia Sandero prices from £5,695.
Finance from £116.00 / month.

Dacia Sandero prices from £5,695   Finance from £116.00 per month

The Dacia Sandero made headlines when it arrived back in 2013 as the UK’s cheapest new car, with prices starting from just £5,995. While prices went up throughout the car's life, with the start price jumping to £6,995, it remained Britain's cheapest new car. The Dacia brand is owned by Renault, and is positioned as a manufacturer of budget cars. The main way it manages to keep prices low is by making use of parts recycled from the previous-generation Renault Clio.

While the price is of course a massive selling point of the Sandero, the fact it's incredibly cheap is not its only key feature - it's also incredibly spacious. It has a large boot and plenty of room inside for adult passengers front and rear – not something that can be said for small city cars like the Peugeot 108, Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1 and which cost around the same as a mid-range Sandero. Size-wise, the Dacia is closer to the more expensive Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia.

The very cheapest Sandero lacks any of the comfort and technology you'd expect to find in a modern car and has an underpowered petrol engine - it's not really fit for any other purpose than getting four wheels and a seat for the lowest possible price. The real value is to be found in mid-range models, where you can get an efficient turbocharged petrol engine and most of the standard equipment you could want for the same price as poorly equipped entry-level versions of rival cars.

Whichever version you go for, the Sandero's out-dated underpinnings are obvious when you hit the road: its gearshift is a bit clunky, the steering feels vague and the body leans a lot when you take corners. The ride is at least comfortable, however, which is good news for those tackling our speed-bump and pothole-infested roads. The interior is also pretty basic and feels cheap, while the seats aren’t very supportive – especially on a long journey.

Another drawback is safety: a dated design meant the Sandero missed out on Euro NCAP’s maximum five-star score, having to settle instead for four stars. Remember, too, that the car was tested under the 2013 system, which is much less challenging than the current test. As a result, cars awarded four or five stars more recently are likely to be substantially safer.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 320 litres
Width 1733mm
Length 4050mm
Height 1518mm
Tax £0 to £145

Best Dacia Sandero for...

Best for Economy – Dacia Sandero 1.5 dCi Ambiance

The diesel-engined Sandero is the only version that’s fully exempt from road tax and also by far the most economical of the three engines on offer, returning over 80mpg if driven gently.

Best for Families – Dacia Sandero 1.5 dCi Laureate

Unlike many cars, the Sandero is actually at its best in its most expensive form: the 1.5-litre diesel engine has the lowest running costs in the range and Laureate trim gives you lots of goodies for the same price as the bare-bones entry-level versions of most superminis.

Best for Performance – Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Ambiance

The little turbocharged 900cc engine is the best performer in the Sandero range, getting the car from 0-62mph in just over 11.1 seconds. This is a far from sporty car, though, as it rolls about quite a lot in corners and doesn’t have very responsive steering.

One to Avoid – Dacia Sandero 1.2 16V 75 Access

Although this is the version responsible for the Sandero’s headline £5,995 starting price, it’s not very appealing, with no air-conditioning, bare steel wheels and black plastic bumpers. You also can’t get the more efficient diesel engine with this trim level.


  • February 2013 Goes on sale as cheapest new car in UK.
  • September 2014 Limited-edition Sandero Midnight offered.
  • March 2015 Another special edition, Laureate Prime, joins range.
  • August 2015 Engines improved to meet latest EU6 emissions rules.
  • September 2016 Redesigned Sandero with more standard equipment and new SCe 75 engine launched.
  • January 2019 More efficient dCi 95 engine replaces outgoing diesel variants.
  • September 2020 New generation of Sandero launched from £7,995.

Understanding Dacia Sandero names

Engine 0.9 TCe

The engine size is given in litres - here it's 0.9. As with Renault, petrol cars are badged SCe, and turbocharged petrol models are known as TCe. Diesel engines carry the letters dCi.

Trim Laureate

The trim level dictates how much equipment comes as standard. The Sandero starts with the spartan Access, moving up to Ambiance and then Laureate.

Dacia Sandero Engines

Petrol: 1.2, 0.9 TCe Diesel: 1.5 dCi

The very cheapest Dacia Sandero Access and the mid-range Ambiance spec are offered with a rather dated 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces a modest 75hp. It’s both slow and inefficient, so unless the lowest possible purchase price is your priority, we’d definitely recommend avoiding it and going for either the turbocharged petrol or very efficient diesel.

Both produce around 90hp, but the petrol is a second faster from 0-62mph. You don’t have to rev the diesel as hard to make use of its full power, though, so the petrol ends up feeling a bit frantic at motorway speeds or going up a steep hill. If you regularly cover long distances, the diesel is a better bet. Its chief attractions are a very impressive 80.7mpg fuel-economy figure and zero road tax thanks to sub-99g/km emissions.

As the Sandero focuses primarily on simplicity and affordability, you can’t get one with an automatic gearbox or any kind of hybrid or electric drivetrain.





0 - 62mph

top speed







0.9 TCe






1.5 dCi






Dacia Sandero Trims

Access, Ambiance, Laureate, Essential, Comfort

The Dacia Sandero Access is the cheapest new car on sale in the UK today, but it both looks and feels it. There’s no air-conditioning, no radio, no central locking and no wheel covers, while the bumpers are unpainted black plastic and there are manual wind-down windows all round. You can have the Sandero Access in any colour - as long as it’s white - but it does at least include essential safety kit such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, traction control, stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring, plus a 60:40 split-folding rear seat and power steering.

The mid-range Ambiance gives you plastic wheel trims, body-coloured bumpers, chrome interior trim pieces, rear headrests, central locking, a boot light, electric front windows and a two-speaker stereo with Bluetooth connectivity and connection ports for MP3 players – plus the availability of the more powerful and efficient 1.5-litre diesel and 0.9-litre petrol engines.

At the top of the range is the Laureate, which is priced to compete with the very cheapest versions of superminis like the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta. It gets 15-inch alloy wheels, a chrome front grille, graphite interior trim, a leather gearknob, an onboard trip computer, cruise control, front foglights, power-adjustable heated door mirrors, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, air-conditioning and a four-speaker stereo.

Following a facelift in 2017, two new trims levels: Essential and Comfort were introduced to replace Ambiance and Laureate respectively. 

Essential trim covered most of what was available in Ambiance models, although digital radio was added along with air-conditioning. Comfort trim meanwhile took Laureate and added Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability.

Dacia Sandero Reliability and warranty

As the Sandero is such a basic car, using tried-and-tested parts, there’s very little to go wrong with it. This was reflected in a 29th-place rating for reliability (out of 200 cars) in the 2015 edition of Auto Express magazine’s Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The Sandero is also undeniably built to a price, however, so there are concerns about the long-term durability of its interior materials, reflected in a less impressive 123rd-place score for this attribute. In terms of warranty, you get a pretty standard three years and 60,000 miles of cover, although extended warranties are available at extra cost.

Used Dacia Sandero

The Sandero is available new for the kind of money many people would typically spend on a second-hand car. That means it doesn’t have a great deal of value in the first place to lose on the used market, making a secondhand Sandero perhaps less of a bargain buy than you may have thought.

The obvious route is to seek out a top-spec Laureate model, possibly with a few optional extras, to make sure you’re getting the absolute most possible for your money. Make sure you get one that’s been well looked after, too – with the Sandero being so cheap, some people may have bought one as an almost disposable runabout and not taken care to keep the interior and exterior in good condition. And a full service history is as important on an ultra-cheap car like this as it is on flashy BMW or Mercedes.

In percentage terms, the Sandero actually holds its value a lot better than many more expensive cars – it’s still worth about 60% of its list price after three years of ownership, even with the manufacturer warranty about to run out. 


List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance







Dacia SANDERO 0.9 TCe Ambiance 5dr [Start Stop] hatchback







Best for families







Dacia SANDERO 1.5 dCi Laureate 5dr diesel hatchback







Best for economy







Dacia SANDERO 1.5 dCi Ambiance 5dr diesel hatchback







Other Editions

Sandero Stepway (2013 – 2021)

After rock bottom cash or finance prices, but want a high driving position and SUV feel? This is your car

Sandero (2021)

The Dacia Sandero is one of the cheapest cars in Britain, and is great value as a result - whether as a new or used purchase

Sandero Stepway (2021)

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a small, cheap car with SUV-like styling and a raised driving position. Here’s all you need to know about it