New Dacia Sandero: a big step forward


During the introduction of a new Dacia model you always imagine yourself back in time. After all, the budget manufacturer often comes up with novelties that have already been reviewed years before at parent brand Renault. This also partly applies to the Sandero in its third guise. Partly, because the Dacia Sandero takes a huge step forward.

It sounds hilarious that Dacia announces a sunroof for the Sandero for the first time, but it was really not available before. Also big news is the announcement that the roof antenna will now be on the back of the roof instead of in the front. That costs Dacia a few decimeters more cabling, but that financial investment has been recouped elsewhere by changing the indicator for the seat belts. This also applies to the door handles, where the shells have been replaced by more expensive refrigerator handles with electronics inside

Electronic aids

For the Sandero, Dacia has not sought any synergy with the Duster or any other model from its own stable. That was also not possible, because the Sandero is the first Dacia to be based on the CMF-B platform. That is the very latest architecture of the Renault-Nissan alliance, from which Dacia can also benefit. The layout offers Dacia the opportunity – albeit under pressure from European regulations – to introduce new (expensive and heavy) electronic systems. For the first time, the five-door hatchback gets things like a blind spot warning system, Wi-Fi technology for the multimedia and navigation system, electronic handbrake, reversing camera, automatic stop system and keyless entry.

Electrified powertrains not planned for the time being

In order not to let the investments in the Sandero get out of hand, so that the pricing of the hatchback would turn out to be high, hybrid technology has been abandoned. Electric support for the petrol engines is possible. The platform is suitable for it, but the Romanian Renault subsidiary only makes that investment with the first facelift of the model. Otherwise, the car will simply be too expensive at this point. The official reading from Dacia is that the customer does not ask for it yet, but internally it is a money issue. After the facelift, however, Dacia also needs the hybrid technology to meet the increasingly strict emission standards.

That means that the new Sandero will first appear with conventional three-cylinder petrol engines. At the base is an atmospheric engine block with 70 hp. Above that, Dacia positions a blown variant with 90 hp. A 100 hp edition with LPG installation is the top of the program. All power sources have a manual transmission, which on the 90 version can optionally be replaced by a CVT automatic transmission.

Specific nose for Stepway

For the Sandero, Dacia has added two design elements: quality and robustness. It must be reflected in both the interior and exterior. Compared to the previous edition, the newcomer is longer and wider, but also less high. The point above the B-pillar is a full centimeter lower. At the height of the rear spoiler, the roof has even dropped two full centimeters. The platform provides an increased track width by 1.5 centimeters and an additional wheelbase of 1.5 centimeters. All sheet metal has come off the drawing board new. The design department has drawn a different nose for the Stepway variant, which of course returns after the resounding success of its predecessors. The sharpened design makes the Stepway a bit tougher.

That starts with the two extra profile lines on the hood, making it look like two cylinder banks from a V8 engine have been pushed through the hood. The light units with Y-signature in LED technology as daytime running lights and the checkered grille correspond to those of the regular Sandero, but the entire bumper has been redesigned and gives the Stepway its own look. On the side, the wheel arch frame immediately stands out, while the ground clearance also differs: the Stepway is higher on the wheels. At the rear, Dacia also fits a different bumper with a grille frame. For both types, the release button for the tailgate is now incorporated at the bottom of the fifth door. The roof rails are specific to the Stepway. Just like the Kangoo once had, it has sleepers in it, so you can always use the roof rack. Dacia claims to have patented the system with a load capacity of 80 kilograms.

More luggage space

The interior, which for the Stepway is decorated with a special upholstery fabric, is wider than before. The biggest gains were made in the rear row of seats, as 4.1 centimeters in width were added. The maximum five occupants look out over a simple styled dashboard with an 8-inch large screen in the center. The display is angled 8 degrees towards the operator for easier operation. Overall, the living compartment offers more storage liters than before. The luggage space also grew. 88 liters more can now be carried, 328 liters in total (regardless of the Sandero or Sandero Stepway).

Dacia Sandero sales success

Dacia has built 6.5 million cars under the supervision of Renault to date. When completed, 2.1 million copies bear the Sandero nameplate, which is 32% of total sales. No less than 65% of the Sandero sales was a Stepway. The third generation will be on the market in early 2021. Production takes place in three factories.

Sandero versus Sandero Stepway

Lengte: 4,088 m – 4,099 m
Width: 1.848 m – 1.848 m
Elevation: 1,499 m – 1,535 m
Ground clearance: 133 mm – 174 mm
Luggage volume: 328 l – 328 l

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