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In Defence Of The Dacia Sandero And Cheap Motoring

The Dacia Sandero, costing £6,770, is officially the cheapest car you can buy in Britain. But far from just being an ‘economy’ option, it’s a reminder of a time when driving was good enough in of itself…

The Dacia Sandero 

Driving is expensive business. In fact, it’s probably the second most expensive ‘thing’ you’ll ever do. The average Briton spends around £60,000 on fuel in a lifetime alone. Throw in the cost of insurance, maintenance and the cost of cars themselves and you’ve got yourself a rather empty wallet. This is a curious development, given our cars spend approximately 90% of their lives sat idle. But we’re apparently fine with this, with the typical motorist spending an average of £388 a month on motoring-related expenses; a figure that continues to rise. What’s more interesting about this is just how avoidable much of this expense is. Whilst we’re not prepared to argue that dispensing with a car is altogether possible (or desirable) it’s clear that enormous savings can be made. Enter the Dacia Sandero.

Yours for £6,995

Dacia is a Romanian-based car manufacturer owned by Renault. A subcompact first unveiled in 2007, it’s the cheapest car available on the British market; with prices starting at £6,995 for the ‘Access’ version. For perspective, that means a monthly payment via finance of £99 over 49 months; with a deposit of £300. Admittedly, this comes with a few down sides. Electric windows and air conditioning, for instance, aren’t included. You’ll also miss out on some paint work and a radio. Chances are, this option isn’t for you. But Dacia, like other automakers, know you won’t go for the lowest trim level. So, if you whack another £1,000 on the price tag and go for the ‘Essential’ option, you’ll get all of these ‘luxuries’.

According to most reviews, drivers will quickly notice that the Sandero is a tad earthy. Pedal weights are ‘spongy’ and the gearbox likes to whine a tad. But the cabin itself is comfortable, spacious and wholly, beautifully free of any gimmicks. There’s nothing to confuse you or to distract you from what you’re actually meant to be doing – driving. Because the Dacia is made up of ex-Renault parts, servicing and repair costs are well-known for their fairness and affordability. Because there’s no complex electronics, owners rarely face serious problems and customer satisfaction is consistently high. As Matt Saunders, of AutoCar, said “the Dacia Sandero is a practical, sensible purchase”.

The Car As A Car 

Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen, recently declared that cars will soon be “the most important mobile device” after mobile phones themselves. But why is this the case? Is it because we want or need our cars to replace our mobile phones or is it because automakers, essentially, want to become tech companies and sell us increasingly elaborate, distracting and gimmicky infotainment systems? We know what our money’s on. Cars were, at first, tools. They got a number of people never before imagined from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ and consistently. Then we began to focus on the driving experience. Seats become more comfortable, the cabin became safer and we started to enjoy driving. So, we gave up on trains, buses and taxis and just got our own wheels instead. How things have changed.

Today, we spend obscene amounts of money (more than we can often afford) on cars. But we’re not spending money on cars as cars. We’re spending money on cars as status-symbols, tech-ridden smart devices and private, mobile castles shielding us from the outside world (rather than allowing us to explore it). If a car, for less than £10,000, can get us from ‘A’ to ‘B’ safely, comfortably and cheaply, why aren’t we buying them and spending money on other things?

This is the question the Dacia Sandero is asking us. What’s your answer?

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The Autoserve Club can save you time, money and stress. Club Members can receive huge fuel discounts, discounts on servicing and new tyres and access to our professional 24/7 helpline. To learn more, contact our friendly Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 today.

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