Dacia’s original value champion, the Sandero, is preparing to move into its next generation, and the first testing shots of the new model have now emerged.
The small hatchback has been on sale with relatively minor changes since 2012, yet it enjoyed its best year of sales across Europe in 2018. The Renault-owned brand has been in no hurry to renew it, but it’s expected that the new model will be unveiled late next year ahead of sales commencing in 2021.
Although it’s wearing heavy disguise and in prototype form, we can see that the new car doesn’t revolutionise the Sandero formula. However, we can see that the shape has moved on a bit, with a clamshell bonnet, a curvier front end, a wider stance and detail upgrades, including modern door handles to replace the current top-hinged items. A pronounced rising beltline can also be seen in the side profile.
What will underpin the next Sandero has yet to be confirmed. The current model sits on an ageing Renault-Nissan Alliance platform that has been around since 2002 – as does the current Duster, which was launched last year. Renault plans to have 80% of its Group models on the new compact CMF-B platform – premiered by the new Clio – by 2022.
Whether Dacia can adapt a cheaper-to-build version of this platform for the Sandero remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely that the old underpinnings can be extended once more. Either way, given the increasingly tight margins of sub-£10,000 cars, it’s probable that the new Sandero won’t be as affordable as its predecessor.
Expect it to retain a utilitarian approach, however, with entry-level variants featuring few creature comforts but higher-end models adopting some of the new tech seen on the Duster. The question mark over the platform makes any speculation on engines difficult, however.