Sunday, 10 February 2013

Why the Dacia Sandero could be my sort of car

THIS WEEK I’ve mostly been waiting to find out which of my favourite foods is laced with horsemeat. Given some of the shocking stuff sat in the icy depths of my freezer, it’s almost inevitable.

I can’t be the only person in Britain who isn’t especially bothered, though –surely a bottom-of-the-range spaghetti bolog-neighs wouldn’t taste any better even if it didn’t have horsemeat in it? As long as it’s cheap, tastes vaguely nice and doesn’t instigate a trip to the doctor, I really couldn’t care less. All of which brings me to Dacia.

The company is Renault’s recession-busting riposte to all those credit-crunched UK motorists who want a cheap new car and nothing else – and, given all the non-petrolheads I know who simply want to get to work for as little as possible, that’s quite a few of us cash-strapped Brits. It’s not the first time you’ve able to buy a Dacia in this country – off-road enthusiasts with particularly long memories might just about recall the original Duster 4x4 of the 1980s variety – but the brand’s reintroduction here, having proven a hit on the continent, couldn’t be more perfectly timed. Think of it as Renault’s “Everyday Value” range.

It’s the sort of car my mate Tom, who’s just bought a Kia solely because it’s cheap and generously equipped on the warranty front, would get in an instant. None of this Taste The Difference motoring malarkey I go for – in the same way I’m not going to spend over the odds on a Marco Pierre White burger, he’s not going to stump up a car with GTI on its rump. In fact, a Dacia Sandero GTI would be a bit of an automotive oxymoron.

I’ve yet to drive the Sandero but of all of 2013’s new arrivals it’s one I’m particularly keen to try, partly because a) with no sign of an economic revival any time soon, Britain’s cheapest new car couldn’t be more relevant, and more importantly b) it looks like the kind of car I’d enjoy. Not only is it utterly unpretentious in just about every way, but because it’s small, light and unspoilt by unnecessary gadgets it could be just as much fun as the Citroen C1, the Toyota IQ and the Suzuki Swift Sport. Small cars are fun, so I’m looking forward to the Sandero.

But what particularly brightened my day when checking out Dacia’s website was discovering just what you get for your £5,995. In particular, the section on the Sandero’s spec sheet entitled “Comfort and Convenience”, which reveals exactly what the entry-level model’s buyers will get for their – wait for it – comfort and convenience. They will get winding rear windows. They will get a heated rear windscreen. And that’s it.

Still doesn’t stop me from wanting to test drive it, though.

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