The Dacia Sandero is the UK's value king, offering up more space and practicality than anything else in its price range

If you're after no frills driving and aren't worried by the badge or desirability, then the Dacia Sandero offers excellent value for money. A recent facelift also brings plenty of small improvements, meaning you really do get a lot of car for not much of an outlay.

However the entry-level Access version does have its limitations, as it doesn't feature a radio and comes with just one choice of engine – a slightly underpowered 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit with 74bhp. Spend a little more on a higher-spec Sandero though and you'll get plenty of extra kit and a punchy petrol turbo, or a very efficient diesel.

• The cheapest cars on sale right now

No matter which trim you go for, the Sandero isn’t exactly sophisticated from behind the wheel. The interior does have plenty of space, but it's not the most luxurious place to be and the quality is questionable in places. That’s how Dacia manages to keep its prices so incredibly low, though, and plenty of canny buyers seem prepared to accept the car's flaws in the pursuit of a bargain.

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Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Essential

The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest new car for sale in the UK. With a starting price well under £10,000, the Sandero (as well as the Sandero Stepway) rivals used cars for value for money, but unlike any used car, it comes with a full manufacturer warranty.

A price of £7,000 makes the Sandero the cheapest new car for sale in the UK today, but this car doesn't scrimp on space. While the price is less than you'll pay for a city car, the Sandero is supermini-sized, which makes it a top choice for buyers needing a practical car on a budget. In terms of size, the Sandero rivals the likes of the Renault Clio (with which it shares its running gear), Skoda Fabia and Hyundai i20, but prices match the likes of the Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo.

Somewhere in between these two sectors are cars that balance price and space in a similar way to the Sandero, with cars like the Ford Ka+, Vauxhall Viva and Fiat Panda falling between the two classes.

Under the skin, the Sandero uses running gear from parent firm Renault, which is why it can be sold at such a low price. £7,000 gets you the basic Access model with just the single engine option, a 1.0 SCe 75 petrol. It really is as basic as you can get, as the Access doesn't even feature a radio or air conditioning and has manual window winders and mirror adjustment.

Thankfully, you don't need to spend much more to get a better equipped Sandero. The Essential model is around £800 extra, but adds body coloured bumpers, a DAB radio, rear headrests, central locking, electric front windows and air conditioning, among others.

At the top of the range, the Comfort model is another £1,000 more than Essential trim, and adds a modern touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included, a trip computer, heated electric door mirrors, and higher quality trim.

Dacia keeps things simple, so the Sandero comes with a choice of three engines and a manual gearbox. That’s it
No need to go for the diesel – the TCe turbo petrol is economical enough
Old Renault design dominates the interior. Everything works, but you won’t find any modern materials or tech on show
The Sandero provides a decent amount of room, but the rear is a bit cramped compared to more modern rivals
The Sandero is simple and robust, and the four-star Euro NCAP score is decent considering the age of the platform

All these models come with the SCe petrol engine, but you can add the Renault-sourced TCe 90 three-cylinder turbo petrol and 1.5 Blue dCi 95 diesel to Essential and Comfort models. The TCe adds around £1,000 to list prices, while the Blue dCi is around £1,600 on top of that. This means the most expensive Sandero comes in at £11,400, still far less than any similarly sized supermini.

On top of that, Dacia also offers the Sandero Stepway. This is a Sandero with SUV-style body cladding, roof rails and a raised ride height. This is a bit more expensive, but prices ranging from £9,000-£12,600 won't break the bank. To differentiate the Stepway, there's no Access model, just Essential and Comfort, while the Techroad special edition adds more kit for a good-value price.

Last updated: 
18 Apr, 2019