Dacia Sandero - best first cars for new drivers

The Dacia Sandero is a budget supermini that gets the basics right with no frills attached

The Dacia Sandero has shaken up the UK new car market with its headline-grabbing price tag: it’s the cheapest new car on sale in the UK today. And while the interior is cheap and dated compared to the class leaders, under the skin this supermini uses proven mechanicals from Dacia owner Renault, so owners shouldn’t encounter any problems.

Low insurance group ratings add to the financial appeal, as do the 12,000-mile service intervals. However, the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol model has heavy fuel consumption. If you can stretch to the diesel, you get 62.7mpg economy. All models get ESP, but Euro NCAP awarded the Sandero only four stars in crash tests. The 0.9-litre TCe 90 petrol engine is the pick of the range, offering a decent mix of performance and fuel efficiency. 

For the price, you get quite a lot of interior space, and boot size impresses at 320 litres. But the entry-level Access doesn’t even have a stereo as standard, and you need to go for a Laureate model if you want air-conditioning and electric rear windows. The Sandero trails the likes of the Ford Fiesta on driving fun, but many buyers will be able to put up with that to get a roomy new car at such a low price.

For the off-road look, there’s also a Sandero Stepway with chunky dimensions, but it doesn’t offer much rugged ability or any greater towing capacity.

Top 10 best first cars for new drivers 2021

  1. Volkswagen up!/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii
  2. Kia Picanto
  3. Ford Fiesta
  4. SEAT Ibiza
  5. Hyundai i10
  6. Volkswagen Polo
  7. Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 108/Citroen C1
  8. Skoda Fabia
  9. Dacia Sandero
  10. Vauxhall Corsa

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