DACIA continues to prove that value still has a place in the hi-tech motoring world.
In just five years in the UK, the Renault-owned budget brand has flogged 150,000 cars.
And as other firms such as Skoda, Kia and Hyundai move ever closer to Ford and Vauxhall and push up prices, Dacia has been left with the new car bargain sector almost entirely to itself.
City cars cost £10,000 these days, superminis from £14,000 and a mid-spec family hatchback will set you back around £25,000.
So when the supermini-sized Dacia Sandero starts at £6,995, the Logan estate opens at £8,495 and the Duster SUV is yours from £9,995, it’s a refreshing reminder of what real value for money is all about. Things look just as tempting if you lease or rent, with prices from £70 a month for a Sandero and from £109 for a Duster.
Admittedly, the entry models are fairly basic but more than capable of doing the daily commute.
Pay a couple of thousand more and you get a Dacia that is loaded with all that a modern family needs.
The Duster Comfort I tested had air-con, multi-media system with satnav, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, rear parking camera and heated electric door mirrors.
It looks great too, with a nice combination of rugged and distinctive, complete with smart 16in alloys, front and rear skid plates and satin chrome door mirrors and roof bars.
Has the driving experience improved over the old Duster? Absolutely.
Engine noise has halved, making the cabin a far more relaxing place to be.
The new 1.3-litre turbo petrol goes well, the steering/handling are dramatically improved, and I averaged a reasonable 39mpg.
It’s one thing offering bargain prices when the price you really pay is for an awful driving and ownership experience.
But Dacia has made the Duster affordable and enjoyable.
A new car for the price of your daily coffee. You do the maths.
Price: From £9,995
Engine: 1.3-litre turbo petrol
0-62mph: 11.1 secs
Top speed: 118mph
Reader’s car of the week
HERE is another super Swede courtesy of Pete Hulme, who writes: “This Volvo S60 T5 SE 2.4 is my total pride and joy.
“I’ve chipped it to 300hp and 542Nm, and it’s also on Wolfrace alloy wheels with low-profile tyres.
“It has been pampered all its life and has very low miles, so I thought you might like to see it.”
I very much do like to see it, Pete.
I bet it’s a right handful (in a good way) when you light it up with 300hp going to the front wheels!
l Send me pictures of your own beloved motor, with details, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q) I’M looking for a small used car, about £6-7.5k, with low mileage. I have a 12-year-old Vauxhall Corsa Design which has only 10,600 miles. What will I get for it? I need to get a cat carrier in the back and I’d like parking sensors and satnav, if possible.
A)First of all, your Corsa is gonna be worth about £3-5K, max. Great low mileage, there, but it is a 12-year-old Vauxhall supermini. Try to track down an old-shape Ford Fiesta (the Mk6, built from 2009 to 2017) such as a five-door Titanium, which had luxuries like reversing sensors and satnav. If you don’t fancy that, and you’ve got a decent smartphone, buy a VW up! instead. It has a dock on the dashboard to hold a nav-enabled phone.
Q)I HAVE a Land Rover Defender 90 which I’m thinking of selling. Should I cash in now or wait until the new one comes out? What is a fair price for an 11-plate Defender with full Land Rover service history until 2016, no rust and 29,000 on the clock?
A)Name yer price, fella. I don’t think Defender values are going anywhere but up from here. For 2011 Defender 90s with sub-30k mileage on them like yours, values start at around £23,000 and you might be able to ask more like £25,000 if it’s in a particularly nice spec.
Q)CAN you recommend an additive for oil for an old diesel engine, to improve performance and stop it smoking so much?
Richard Bertin, Barry
A)There are loads of them. Look up “diesel additives” online and you’ll get plenty of options. Familiar ones are things like Redex, STP Diesel Injector Cleaner, Triple QX and so on. Anything that de-cokes your engine will simultaneously improve the way it performs and also stop it smoking like a rotten old chimney.
Three for £10,000… warm hatches
Kia’s first attempt at a performance hatch was a warm one, but don’t underestimate it. This ProCeed GT has a nice cabin, a sparkling chassis and it’s still under the seven-year warranty. Bonus.
- 2013 (13) Kia ProCeed GT, 47k, £9,000, King’s Lynn (sandles.co.uk)
It’s only missing an ‘i’, but this 308 GT still looks the bomb, has a 205hp 1.6 turbo motor and it’s three years old, so it should be immaculate, despite doing 22,000 miles a year.
Note the “D” in this car’s badge. This is a GTI that won’t break the bank at the pumps, as it runs on diesel. This is a pearler, with loadsa torque, a smooth ride yet plenty of pace.
Merc’s nutty performance division has created the world’s most powerful four-cylinder production engine producing 421hp.
That means it’s got more output per litre than a McLaren Senna.
It will drop straight into the upcoming A45, making it the hottest hot hatch by some distance.
The old A45 was 380hp
- NO more punctures? Michelin is developing airless tyres – made with a form of fibreglass and aluminium – which could be available within five years.
Michelin and General Motors will debut the Uptis tyre on an electric, self-driving vehicle but bosses say there is no reason why the tyre couldn’t be used on any type of car.
- SHOCK tie-up from two major rivals: BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are to work together to make electric vehicles.
The firms will co-develop motors to lower the costs of making electric and plug-in hybrid models.
- LEGENDARY car designer Gordon Murray – the man behind the McLaren F1 – has unveiled a £2.5million three-seat ultra-lightweight hypercar, called the T.50.
He reckons it will beat rivals such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Mercedes-AMG One for “purity, sense of purpose and groundbreaking technology” when it appears in 2022.
And there is not an electric motor in sight.
- UNEXPECTED hit on autocar.co.uk this week was the first image of the upcoming Kia XCeed crossover.
It goes on sale in September.