The Dacia Sandero 1.2 Ambiance has snapped up the What Car? Car of the Year Award for the best small car under £12,000.
This is the second year running that the Sandero has scooped the What Car? title, and the model was also named best budget motor at the Scottish Car of the Year Awards as well as the Honest John Small Hatchback of the Year Award and Dacia were named among the top five brands in a Driver Power survey.
According to the What Car? blurb, the entrants were required to meet several criteria: “It needs to be cheap to buy and to run, and offer good comfort and refinement. An enjoyable driving experience is also important; the car can’t feel out of its depth on faster roads. What’s more, small car buyers shouldn’t have to compromise on safety. Basically, our winner needs to mix most of the qualities of bigger cars with the affordability and ease of parking of small ones.”
The Award Ceremony
At the awards ceremony, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, the Sandero was commended by the panel of judges for its low cost, coming in at £6,795, almost half the maximum price allowed for its category.
“Where the Sandero really excels is practicality,” said the judges. “There’s loads of room for four, with excellent leg and headroom, and one of the largest boots in the class. The Sandero offers an extraordinary amount of space for not a lot of money.”
In addition, the Sandero, whose fans include Top Gear’s James May, is also cheap to run thanks to an efficient 1.2-litre engine. It also comes complete with a three-year 60,000 mile warranty and its insurance costs compare more than favourably with its immediate rivals. Soft suspension and a simple but spacious cabin with large windows ensure a comfortable ride.
The judging panel, who drove thousands of miles testing a wide range of vehicles in deciding the prizes, added: “On the road the Sandero is competent, offering reasonable grip and excellent visibility. Safety equipment is competitive, and includes four airbags, emergency brake assist and stability control.”
Dacia’s parent company Renault also fared well at the awards after picking up three prizes for the Megane Renaultsport 265 Cup which picked up its fifth Car of the Year Award, the 100% electric ZOE Expression which won the award for ‘Best Green Car for less than £15,000’ and the Renault Captur, which Top Gear described as ‘a Clio on steroids’, which was hailed as the ‘Best Small SUV for under £16,000’.