Saturday, 2 November 2013

2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback offers comfortable, spacious and cheap to run family transport

2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback engine

Impressive engines let down by lifeless steering and lots of body roll

If you’re expecting the 2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback to be awful to drive simply because it’s cheap, then you’re in for a bit of a shock. While it’s never going to win any prizes, the engines in particular do perform quite well – especially the 900cc TCe, which accelerates pretty fast for such a low-powered engine. The 1.5-litre dCi is smooth, quiet and is more than capable of holding its own on long motorway journeys. However, the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine can be a bit wheezy and feel underpowered when you have to pull out of junctions. The Sandero is quiet and relaxing on the move, thanks to its soft suspension and good sound insulation, but the price you pay for all of that is lots of body roll through the corners, especially when driving at higher speeds, so its probably best to just take things slow and steady. The steering is heavy and indirect, too, but traction control, ABS and four airbags are all included as standard, so you’re not left entirely out in the wind.

2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback comfortable

Avoid the basic models if you value comfort and convenience

For such a cheap price, the 2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback was never going to be the most comfortable car on the market. So, you might find yourself being rolled from side to side when driving through the corners, but as long as you keep the Sandero in a straight line, then the soft suspension makes good work of absorbing the bumps in the road. The seats are soft and have just enough support to keep front passengers relatively firmly in place, while three adults can squeeze across the rear bench – something that can’t be said for similarly priced city cars. Unless you don’t mind a complete lack of comfort and convenience features, we’d avoid the base model (which doesn’t even include a radio) and look further up the range.
interior dashboard 2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback seating Dacia Sandero hatchback 2013
interior dashboard 2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback seating

2013 Dacia Sandero hatchback reliability

For second-hand buyers, the Sandero will be a revelation

Dacia and all its cars were still too new to feature in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but it should prove interesting when they do finally qualify for entry. Dacia is owned by Renault, so the French manufacturer is the best gauge of how reliable your Dacia will be. Luckily for anyone considering buying a Sandero, Renault made some gains in the 2013 poll, climbing up six places from its 2012 ranking, to come 21st in the manufacturers list. That’s still not great, but it does get Renault off the bottom of the chart. Dacia gets past its own chequered reliability record by pointing out that many new Dacia Sandero hatchback owners will be more used to buying second-hand cars for that money so will always see an improvement in reliability to what they’re used to, which is logical if hardly reassuring. Luckily its three-year warranty is a good one. But beyond that, Dacia has access to all of Renault’s proven technology – lift up the bonnet and the engine will say Renault – including the recent three-cylinder 900cc TCe unit and the efficient 1.5-litre dCi diesel, so the engineering is bang up to date. Also in its favour is that fact that there’s so little equipment available in the base Access model, that there’s actually very little to go wrong. Early models were awarded only three stars for safety in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, but Dacia has taken note, with current models getting a more satisfactory four stars – this is because of the lack of some safety technology in the entry-level versions. You do still get anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, ISOFIX child seat anchor points and four airbags fitted as standard.
 se full review and pricing2013 Dacia Sandero Hatchback here

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