Test Drive: Dacia Sandero 2 0.9 TCe Laureate image

The new generation of the Dacia Sandero has been officially presented to the public back in 2012, during the Paris Motor Show, in a world premiere, and now, we’ve recently went for a spin in it.

Engine and Transmission

The 2013 Dacia Sandero has several engines in its lineup, the 0.9-liter TCe, three-cylinder, turbocharged, with 90 HP, the 1.2-liter 16-valve three-cylinder, with 75 HP and the 1.5 liter dCi, in two outputs, 75 HP and 90 HP, with 200 and 220 Nm of torque, respectively. The model we’ve driven came with the brand new 0.9-liter TCe, 12V, turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine, the same one used on the new Twingo and new Clio generations and on the Dacia Logan 2.

The 898cc unit is producing a total output of 90 HP (67 kW), allowing the model to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.1 seconds. This is the fastest version in terms of 0-100 km/h sprint because the official figures of its 1.5L dCi 90 diesel brother in this chapter stand at 12.1 seconds. The top speed of the 0.9 TCe Sandero is 169 km, while the one of the 1.5 dCi 90 is 167 km/h. The only disadvantage in choosing this version over the diesel one is the obvious torque figure, which is quite noticeable.

The TCe 90 Dacia Sandero is providing as much torque as the old 1.6-liter naturally aspirated engine but because the unit has been turbocharged, the torque is available in high revs, and this will affect your fuel consumption drastically, if you’re driving mode is a little sportier or if you’re tackling a mountain road.

Fuel Consumption

The official figures for the fuel consumption provided by Dacia, for the TCe 90 engine in the Sandero are 5.3L / 100 km in an average cycle, 6.6L / 100 km in the city and 4.6L / 100 km on the highway. Lacking a stop/start system is a clear disadvantage over its rivals but this is understandable, because its price wouldn’t have been so attractive with this option. In the city, the trip computer indicated approximately 7.2L / 100 km, but in some cases, with the AC on and a wonderful traffic jam, the fuel consumption went up to almost 8.5L / 100km. On the highway, the figure went down to just over 5.2L, but at 120 km/h, with the cruise control on, at 3,000 rpm, the fuel consumption will be 8.1L / 100 km.

The Ride

There is absolutely no difference between the Sandero 2 and the Logan 2 in terms of comfort and both of them are offering an improved suspension, ride height and driving position. The Sandero seems to have better brakes than the Logan but this may be just a simple coincidence, because the two models are sharing a lot of components. The steering is as precise as before but if you’re driving the Sandero the way it was built to be driven, you won’t encounter any problem. The driving position is high so you’re getting a good visibility, the suspension system is stiff but won’t shake your kidneys every time you go over a speed bump and the overall feel is that the car has been made to last.

Interior Design

The interior design on the new Sandero generation is identical to the one of the Dacia Logan 2, starting from the seats, dashboard, buttons, steering wheel, gearshift lever and so on. The top of the line version, the Laureate, is also coming, like its sedan brother, with the MediaNav system, which is incorporating Bluetooth functions for the phone, Radio, USB, AUX input and a GPS system which will take you almost anywhere. The MediaNav system has a 4.3-inch screen.

When compared to the previous generation of the Sandero, the interior design has been drastically changed, but you will also have a “déjà vu” sense sometimes. The materials used throughout the cabin have been improved, the design has been modified too and we can see more items from Renault, like the steering wheel, the controller for the Bluetooth / audio system located behind the steering wheel, the central lock button and so on. Nothing bad here, but that “déjà vu” sense may appear if you will go for a spin in a Clio, in a Megane or even in a Grand Scenic.

The new generation of the Dacia Sandero has a “child proof” interior just like its sedan brother. The rear end of the front seats is wrapped in the same material which can be cleaned easily from just about everything, and this will be appreciated by moms especially. Or by those of you who are working in car washes.

The cabin of the Sandero 2 is also getting the same cruise control function, the “Eco” button or the power window buttons fitted in exactly the same place as in the Logan 2, so these are doing their job just like they should. The cruise control allows you to set your speed by using the buttons on the steering wheel and, if you push the brake pedal, you will be able to return to the previous speed at the touch of a button. The “Eco” function will show you when to change gears in order to optimize your fuel consumption. As for the storage spaces, there are plenty. The glove box has a generous size, there are bottle holders on the doors, there is a storage space on top of the dashboard and there is also a place to put your 4.3-inch display smartphone, under the handbrake lever, just like in the Dacia Logan 2.

Likes / Dislikes

The 0.9-liter TCe engine is Renault’s answer to Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost unit but I would rather have the 1.5-liter dCi with 90 HP in the Sandero because it has more torque and a better fuel consumption. But if you hate diesel engines, than this is the engine for you. A front center armrest would have been good too. As for the “likes” part, there are enough to mention, starting with the MediaNav system, the cruise control, the AUX / USB inputs, the storage spaces, the upgraded feel, the exterior design, the cabin space and so on. The price list of the 2013 Dacia Sandero is in this category too, because the cheapest one costs just under 7,000 EUR, and the one we’ve driven is priced at almost 11,500 EUR.