New Dacia Sandero is as good as many of its rivals — and the best deal in years

FURLOUGH. Zoom calls. WFH. These are all things we hadn’t heard of until Covid.

Now, as the prison gates slowly open again, here’s a new term for you: Revenge buys.

For those fortunate enough to keep their health and their jobs, all these nights indoors instead of down the pub mean they are coming out of the crisis with extra cash in their pockets.

And they’re ready to reward themselves by splurging on something more expensive than they normally would.

Like a holiday. Or a motorbike. Or a new car.

Actually, scrap that last one because there’s no need

You can have a brand-spanking new motor as good as many rivals, for half the price.

I’m talking about the Dacia Sandero at £7,995 and I can think of nothing, apart from maybe a 45p double-pack of custard creams at Morrisons, that represents such good value. Finance from £99 a month.

Let’s stop to think about that a moment. £99. For a 21-reg car. You probably pay more for Sky.

There’s more. Put a Sandero through an X-ray machine and you’ll see the bones of a Renault Clio.

But not the old Clio, the new one. The good stuff.

Same chassis, engines, electrics, and so on. It drives like a Clio, too. And the cabin is surprisingly smart and soft-touch.

I’ve said it before but I’m stunned Renault has allowed it to be this good.

Now we come to the rufty tufty version, the Dacia Sandero Stepway, which rides a little higher and has the obligatory skid plates and plastic cladding.

Rubbish name. And the abbreviation DSS doesn’t help. But I think I prefer it to the standard Sandero.

For lots of little reasons but mostly the modular roof bars. You can turn them 90 degrees, running across the roof, to carry bikes, a canoe, or pretty much anything weighing up to 80kg.

On paper, the Stepway looks much pricier at £10,995 — £139 a month — but that’s because it has a punchier 1-litre petrol turbo under the hood.

For reference, the standard Sandero with the same engine is £9,995.

Standard kit includes Y-shaped LED lights — yep, very Lambo — that see further down the road, cruise control, and e-call in the event of a big ooops.

The fully adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel allow you to get properly comfy.

Other observations. No touchscreen with the entry-level Essential trim but you do get a cradle to hook up your smartphone for Spotify and Google Maps or whatever.

To unlock the 8in touchscreen in my test car, you’ll want the mid-range Comfort at £12,595.

That’s an extra 20 quid at £159 a month and also comes with keyless entry and parking camera.

But whatever car or trim you choose, you are guaranteed one thing from the new Sandero family and that’s comically cheap, carefree motoring in what feels like a much more expensive car.

Revenge buy?

Treat yourself to a new car AND a holiday and knock yourself out.

Key facts

Dacia Sandero Stepway

Price: £12,595

Engine: 1-litre 3cyl turbo petrol

Economy: 50mpg

0-62mph: 12 secs

Top speed: 107mph

Emissions: 127g/km

Out: Now

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