The Look 

The Drive

On Board Computer

Camera & Parking

Seats & Rear Bench 

Cup Holders & Cubby Holes

Boot

Safety (Euro NCAP) 

An affordable small family car

Starting price: £7,170

Pros

Affordable

3 booster seats in the rear

Boot size

Cons

Limited storage

Intro

The Dacia Sandero has won “What car? Car of the Year 2021!” and there are more and more of these cars on the road. Being affordable in comparison to so many other cars, we were keen to see what the Sandero had to offer. There are only 3 trim levels; Access, Essential and Comfort.  We drove the top spec – Comfort in manual. Sadly, hybrid is not an option with the Sandero.

Our first impression on being handed the very light, plasticky feeling key was that it was a nice looking little car, but sadly there was nothing special about it.  That said, you’ll notice as you approach the car that it automatically unlocks, so you won’t need to fiddle around in your bag to find your keys.  The drive was comfortable and easy once we’d manoeuvred and released the hand brake around our water bottle!  There is also cruise control for those longer journeys and an SOS button in case of emergencies.

Interior

The interior didn’t blow us away, but it does have everything you need for a small car.  The 8 inch touchscreen sits nice and high on the dashboard, meaning you merely have to glance to the side as opposed to looking down. It’s fairly easy to navigate around, although we found we really had to press the touchscreen buttons to select an option from the menu.  It does have the all-important smartphone integration, so you can access your phone’s apps quickly through the infotainment system.  Dacia have included an adjustable phone holder to the right of the screen, which is really handy.  This is a rare treat in a car and gets a huge tick from us!  They’ve even added a USB port next to it, so you won’t have wires trailing around the car.

The air conditioning is manual, but we had no difficulties with its functionality.

The mirrors are a good size and provide adequate visibility around the car.  Rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera come as standard on the Sandero Comfort. If you’re after front parking sensors too, you’ll need to budget an extra £150 – which we thought was a great price considering some car companies charge substantially more than this.  The camera was clear on the touchscreen and provides a great view of whatever is behind

Seats & Passenger Space

There is plenty of height and leg room in the front for the driver and passenger.  Seats are comfortable, but sadly leather is not an option.  Let’s hope the fabric is wipeable!  Dacia have also added the same fabric to the dashboard, a nice touch, to make the interior feel a little more plush.

For 3 passengers, the height in the back is great but adults may struggle with the leg room on longer journeys.  However, short journeys should not be too painful.  There are 2 ISOFIX points on the rear bench and we managed to fit 3 booster seats (2 large and one smaller booster in the centre) on the back seat.  We could also fit a rear facing baby seat, large child seat and again, a central smaller booster.  This is great for larger families or those important playdates and car shares.

Cups & Cubby

If you were to read What Car’s review of the Sandero, they’ll tell you there’s adequate storage in the car. However in our opinion, we feel it is somewhat limited and this really lets the car down. There are 2 cup holders with a storage tray in between the driver and passenger seat, however we could only fit our water bottle in the front holder!  The second is on the small side, so good luck trying to get anything in it! The same can be said for the door bins, we had to force our bottle of water in at an awkward angle, leaving little room for anything else. There is a small storage tray with another USB port behind the gear stick for phones and keys and the glove box is a reasonable size for a small car.

Sadly, Dacia have not thought through the rear storage.  Not a cup holder in sight and you’ll be lucky to fit anything into the door bins!

Boot Space

A welcome surprise was the boot – 328 litres, fabulous for a small car! There is a drop to the boot floor meaning you will have to lift items up and over and some of the painted bodywork is exposed, meaning you’ll have to be extra careful lifting in and out if you want to avoid any scratches and scrapes.  We managed to fit our stroller in, all be it at an angle, and there was still plenty of space for shopping and school bags.  A pram would also fit in once collapsed and still leave a fair amount of room for items on top and around.  Sadly, there is no boot button, but we loved the size of it.

Summary

Overall, we can see why the Dacia Sandero has won “What Car?  Car of the Year 2021.”  We would only go for the Comfort trim (top spec) which gives you essential equipment to make the family driving experience a more pleasant one!  Get past the plastic and lack of storage and you’ll find a reliable, modern car with space for a growing family.  It is a great small car at a fabulous price.

Car seats used in this review – 1 x Maxi-Cosi Pebble (width 43cm) 1 x Graco Booster Basic (width 40cm) 1 x Babystart Topo Booster (width 38cm) 1 x Halfords Essentials Booster (width 39.5cm)

Car Dimensions - Kate and Claire

Dimensions

4088mm (L) x 2007mm (W) x 1499mm (H)

Boot Capacity - Kate and Claire

Boot Capacity

328 Litres

Backseat Size Kate and Claire Reviews

Backseat Dimensions

112 cm

Miles per Gallon - Kate and Claire

Miles per gallon

39.7 – 53.3

Range - Kate and Claire

Range

N/A

Speedometer - Kate and Claire

Speed

0-60 mph in 12 – 17 secs