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2020 Dacia Sandero

The Sandero is in its third generation and even though the purchase price has risen from around €7,000 to €8,500, you have to ask how Renault actually does it, after all that's only a €1,500 price increase in eight years. Look around in the landscape of cheap cars, you won't find anything comparable, even when discounts are taken into account.

First of all, we have to mention the favourable manufacturing location of Tangier in Morocco. Of course it is common to produce more in countries with lower wages, but Morocco seems to take close to Europe the cake at the moment with about 10 per cent of the wages in Germany. Nevertheless, you will hardly find any differences to other production sites on the video below, perhaps a little less use of robots.

Don't get me started on the possible inferior workmanship, because the Sandero runs on the same platform as the Renault Clio, currently available from just over €14,000. Platform, of course, includes everything that makes a car drivable. And you can't skimp on safety, that's excluded by the legislation. You can compare the rest yourself.

Really no drawback? Yes, it is. It is worth at least studying the website before going to the dealer. There are already a few tricks gathered here. This does not include the entry-level engine, which in other seemingly inexpensive car brands consumes significantly more than the next larger and thus more expensive one. However, there is one small difference.

Let's go through it. Consumption differs by 0.2 L/100km, even according to the manufacturer's specifications. That makes 200 litres per 100,000 km, or about 300 €. But the next most expensive engine is 1,500 euros more expensive. Even if we state a higher difference in consumption, the smaller one is worth it. The manufacturer knows that too, but he would like to sell one of the more expensive models.

And this is done in such a way that in the basic Sandero there is practically only a spare wheel for 150 euros as an optional extra. So you can't get air conditioning. If you drive the car for longer, you may not care. But if you sell it earlier, it could significantly reduce the resale value.

For the manual air conditioning you pay 400 € for the next higher equipment and another 700 €. Then you would even have access to the touchscreen shown everywhere for 250 € and to other, quite recommendable, additional extras for another 180 €. And it is exactly at this point that you are offered the most expensive equipment.

Now we are already at 10,000 € and still have the less performance engine. So what could be more obvious than to also take the more powerful one, especially as it is also slightly more economical. Makes 11,500 €. No, the wife of the house doesn't like the Arctic White, so another 500 € at least for another colour. Can you see now how Renault is doing it? Counter-strategy: Stay tough if it's a second car, for example.

It is even harder with a Sandero Stepway or a Sandero with natural gas if it is not a second car. It costs only 1500 € more and if you go by the current prices at the petrol station, you save at least 3,750 € on 100,000 km. But these 2,250 € will be nibbled away slowly. Look from which sides.

LPG is still tax-privileged at the petrol station, but that will either expire at some point or the concession will become less. 0.05 € litre price more have already been announced. Then you would have to find out whether the Sandero does not have to be started and warmed up with petrol. In addition, special tests of the gas system on board are obligatory and cause costs.

The additional consumption in gas mode is difficult to qualify. And that with a capacity of only 32 litres. How annoying is a long distance trip where gas operation would actually be most worthwhile? If you then continue to drive on petrol, part of the saving is gone. As you can see, anyone who wants to save money with a car like this should do their sums and practise consistent behaviour beforehand.

However, the whole process leaves a sour aftertaste. The cheap cars for the small purse are dying out. And if the Sandero is the last, its price will continue to rise. It will be even worse with e-mobility: high prices or mercilessly low range. Dacia has already started here, perhaps to the detriment of Morocco.

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