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Dacia Sandero Ambiance SCe 75 review

Date: 19 January 2017   |   Author: Tom Webster

Standard equipment: DAB digital radio with aux and USB sockets, air-conditioning, Bluetooth, electric front windows, hill-start assist
Engines: Petrol 75hp 1.0, 90hp 0.9 Diesel 75hp, 1.5 90hp 1.5
Trims: Access, Ambiance, Laureate
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic

Dacia has given its budget hatchback a mid-life update, which brings a couple of notable upgrades to the specification that makes it  much more appealing to live with all-year around. It also gets a subtle refresh to the looks, with revised styling at the front and rear, as well as inside, and a new entry-level petrol engine, as driven here.

The big additions to the standard kit list for the mid-range Ambiance trim are DAB digital radio and, crucially, manual air-conditioning. The latter was something that Dacia has said was in high demand among customers, and it will open the car up to a much wider audience. Entry-level Access trim remains relatively Spartan, but the extra £1,000 needed to get to Ambiance makes it a worthy upgrade.

There's a new 75hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which emits 117g/km of CO2 and claims 54.3mpg. It replaces the 1.2-litre version in the line-up and is slightly more refined than the outgoing engine.

Sandero Interior

Noisy interior

The pared-back nature of the Sandero means that you don't get as much sound-insulation as you would on more expensive rivals, though, so it's not a quiet engine. Add in the wind and road noise that makes its way into the cabin, and the Sandero can get wearingly loud on longer journeys.

Noise levels go up as the revs rise, too, which is something you will have to do to make much in the way of brisk progress in the 1.0-litre Sandero; with 0-62mph coming in 14.1 seconds it's not quick, and you will find yourself reaching for the gear lever regularly.

Handling is remarkably assured, though, with the suspension tackling bumps large and small with ease, albeit noisily. The steering is light without being overly so, which makes town driving simple.

Sandero Rear

Roomy interior

Space is one of the Sandero's fortés, with plenty of leg and headroom front and rear, while the boot offers a very generous 320 litres. This is markedly bigger than the Dacia's main rival, the new Ford Ka+, which only offers 270 litres. The Sandero does lack flexibility, though, with a large boot lip and a simplistic seat-folding system both impacting overall practicality.

Many of the Sandero's flaws can be excused, though, thanks to its low price, which remains unchanged despite the additional equipment meaning this latest version offers even better value for money. The £6,940 P11D is remarkably low, and comfortably cheaper than its rivals, which will help keep BIK and capital allowance taxes to a minimum and whole-life costs competitive with rivals.

Dacia Sandero Ambiance SCe 75

P11D £6,940
On sale December 2016
Residual value 35.7%
Depreciation £4,465
Fuel £6,393
Service, maintenance & repair £1,479
Cost per mile 26.0p
Fuel consumption 54.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 117g/km (20%)
BIK 20/40% per month £23/£46
Boot space 320 litres
Engine size/power 998cc/75hp


  • More fleet-friendly kit additions from Ambiance trim up and a smoother engine
  • Still budget motoring - loud and unrefined