Britain’s cheapest car is now a little more expensive. Dacia has ditched the Access trim from the Sandero range, increasing the starting price of its supermini by £1,850 to £9,845. A far cry from the days when the £5,995 Sandero Access grabbed the headlines, although very few punters decided they could live without air conditioning and a radio. The white and black ‘Tesco Value’ Sandero represents a tiny proportion of the used car stock in Britain.
I’ve always said I’d like to buy a used Sandero Access. Maybe it’s the black bumpers and exposed steel wheels, or maybe it’s because I enjoy long journeys with only the sound of the blowers for entertainment. There’s one for sale on Auto Trader; it has travelled 146,000 hard miles and boasts a body with more craters than the moon. It has been used and abused, but like an unwanted dog that needs rehoming, I want to take it home. The price? Just £995. A bargain!
So I’m kind of sad that the days of the Sandero Access are over. How long before the price of the Essential trim breaks the £10,000 barrier, calling time on the four-figure new car?
‘My’ Sandero Comfort TCe 100 Bi-Fuel would now cost £12,045 before metallic paint – a small £50 increase from when I took delivery. That’s still exceptional value for money when you consider that the cheapest Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10 cost £11,450 and £13,195 respectively. The Sandero is bigger, comes loaded with a good level of equipment, and is proving to be very cheap to run. But not as cheap as I expected. Despite the promise of 52.3mpg, I’m averaging 42.5mpg over 6,000 miles, which is a little disappointing in the age of supposedly accurate WLTP figures. It probably doesn’t help that the car sees a mix of short trips and high-speed motorway journeys, but I’d expect something closer to the claimed figure, especially as I’ve spent almost the entire time driving in Eco mode. At least the LPG tank provides the potential to go further without filling up. It came in handy when a late-night trip home saw the fuel gauge drop to a worryingly low level. It was late, I’d been on the road for two hours, and I didn’t want to refuel, so I switched to LPG mode on the A30 and completed the journey without fear of running out. The Southwest seemed to escape the worst of the recent fuel crisis, so I was never without petrol, but I wonder if LPG owners enjoyed some smugness when they found that gas was in good supply?
Something I do know, though, is that the £995 Sandero Access is looking worryingly attractive…