Used Ford Fiesta vs New Dacia Sandero

Small cars: Bargain Dacia Sandero supermini faces UK's best-selling Ford Fiesta

For years, the Dacia Sandero has held the crown as Britain’s cheapest new car. However, don’t be put off by the bargain-basement price, as there’s plenty to like here as well as great value.

Best small cars available to buy now

You might have to make some concessions when it comes to comfort, as the Sandero is based on parent company Renault’s Mk2 Clio that can trace its roots back to the nineties. However, there’s a good level of standard kit in the Laureate model we’ve picked. In fact, with cruise control and air-conditioning – plus the option to upgrade to a seven-inch satellite-navigation screen with Bluetooth for £300 – it’s an affordable package with plenty of practicality.

It’s here where the Sandero has a slight advantage over its used Fiesta rival. It might not boast the Ford’s sharp styling, but the boxy shape means there’s plenty of room inside. With seating for four adults – and five for short journeys – the Dacia feels surprisingly mature given its junior price tag.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

There’s also a large boot, with 320 litres of luggage space on offer. Not only is this bigger than the Fiesta’s 290-litre load bay, it eclipses the much larger Focus family hatch from the class above, which serves up 316 litres. However, the small Ford still has enough space for day-to-day life, and it’s only on longer journeys loaded up with passengers and luggage where the Sandero’s extra practicality comes into its own.

The Dacia’s turbocharged 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol engine delivers 89bhp and a healthy 140Nm of torque, which gives good mid-range punch. Also, claimed CO2 emissions of 109g/km mean £20 road tax, while group seven insurance helps keep running costs down further.

If you’re looking for shoestring motoring, then the Sandero is a new car best buy – but there is another way. For around the price of the Dacia, you can have your pick of five-door Fiestas with Ford’s award-winning 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo in high-spec Titanium guise. This means there’s enough kit to match the Sandero’s at similar money.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

• The cheapest cars on sale

While the Fiesta might lack some practicality next to the Dacia, it’s much more stylish and great fun to drive, with an agile chassis and sweet steering. For a standard supermini to deliver this kind of enjoyment from behind the wheel is impressive, and even with a few thousand miles on the clock the Fiesta is a solid car, so it should still offer good road manners. If the example you’re looking at doesn’t, the choice on the market is huge – so walk away and find another.

The engine is more eager than the Dacia’s, with an extra 34bhp to play with and even more mid-range torque, plus there’s better fuel economy and CO2 emissions despite the extra performance.

The Sandero might be Britain’s cheapest car, but for years the Fiesta has been the country’s best seller – and for good reason. So if you want a second-hand supermini with bags of character, the Ford fits the bill.

• Best new car deals


Model:Ford Fiesta 1.0T Titanium
Price:from £9,000 
Engine:1.0-litre 3cyl petrol, 123bhp 
0-62mph:9.4 seconds 
Road tax:£0 
Model:Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCE laureate
Engine:0.9-litre 3cyl petrol, 89bhp 
0-62mph:11.1 seconds
Road tax:£20 

Used vs new


Most Popular


Most Wanted Cars 2020: poll

Decide which classic car you would most want to see brought back from the dead by an all new model
27 Mar 2020

30 brilliant boredom beaters for car fans

Stay at home, stay safe and enjoy some pure automotive escapism in the form of the very best content from Dennis Publishing’s leading car brands.
27 Mar 2020

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020