In-depth reviews

Dacia Sandero review - Engines, performance and drive

Dacia has improved the Sandero driving experience, but the base model feels underpowered

The third-generation Sandero is wider than the previous model and includes a host of chassis upgrades that mean it’s better to drive than before. It’s by no means a car designed for the driving enthusiast, but the new underpinnings bring improved ride comfort and a relaxed set-up that makes the Sandero decent to drive around town and a competent motorway cruiser in either TCe 90 or 100 Bi-Fuel guises.

Buyers will arguably be best served by the TCe 90 version which offers more power and torque than the SCe 65 unit, while the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel uses niche LPG tech. The TCe 90 engine isn’t overly noisy unless you decide to explore the upper end of the rev range, at which point it sounds particularly strained. Ultimately, there’s no real point in driving the car too hard, as you’ll quickly overstretch its limited dynamic ability.

The steering is predictably light, but suits the Sandero well, although we found the six-speed manual ‘box a little imprecise and awkward at times. If you take the Sandero for what it is, and your needs are aligned more to everyday functionality than driving enjoyment, then Dacia’s third iteration of its budget supermini still hits the spot.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed 

The SCe 65 petrol engine is no longer available to order, although if you do venture into the used market you'll find a spartan supermini that wheezes through the 0-62mph ‘sprint’ in a yawn-inducing 16.7s, while moving from 50mph to 75mph in 4th gear takes 14.9s. If you do venture onto a motorway in a Sandero SCe 65, you might want to think carefully before attempting any overtaking manoeuvres. 

Upgrading to the turbocharged TCe 90 unit brings 89bhp and 160Nm of torque, with the six-speed manual version delivering a more respectable 11.7s sprint time and a motorway-friendly 9.5s in-gear time from 50-75mph. The CVT auto variant is a little slower off the mark, taking 13.4s from 0-62mph.

The quickest Sandero is the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel model, but only by a few tenths compared to the TCe 90 manual.

Have you considered?

New Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo 2022 review
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo - front tracking
Road tests

New Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo 2022 review

The Fabia Monte Carlo is best enjoyed for what it is, a comfortable, refined and capable family car, that rides and steers as well as the VW Group sta…
30 Jun 2022
Dacia Sandero review
Dacia Sandero driving
Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero review

With a sharp new look, improved driving dynamics and extra standard kit, there is a lot more to like about the Dacia Sandero than just the price
26 May 2022
Skoda Fabia vs Renault Clio vs Vauxhall Corsa-e: 2022 group test review
Skoda Fabia vs Renault Clio vs Vauxhall Corsa-e
Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia vs Renault Clio vs Vauxhall Corsa-e: 2022 group test review

We put the new Skoda Fabia straight into the deep end by pitching it against the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa-e
22 Jan 2022

Most Popular

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work
speed limiters
News

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work

Car industry body calls for UK government to adopt the new measures, but we’ll probably get them anyway…
29 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 6 enters as sleek all-electric saloon
Hyundai Ioniq 6 - front
News

New 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 6 enters as sleek all-electric saloon

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is the follow-up to the game-changing Ioniq 5 and packages the same EV technology into a streamlined shape
28 Jun 2022