Renault's budget sub-brand has caused quite a stir in the seven years it has been trading, attracting over 360,000 customers worldwide in 2012 alone and requiring established rival brands to completely re-think their model line-up.
> But, much like the problems Skoda faced ten years ago, Dacia still suffers from an often unfounded reputation for being cheap, unreliable and lacking in essential mod cons.
This couldn't be further from the truth and here are five reasons why buying a modern Dacia makes a lot of sense...
They are cheap...
... But only in the sense that a basic Sandero will cost under £6,000. Build quality and reliability are up there with its more expensive rivals, namely because it is based on tried and tested technology handed down from parent company Renault. The chunky, range-topping Duster, which is more than happy to tackle some rough terrain, costs just £9,495 yet still boasts a 3 years/60,000 mile warranty, a 2 year paintwork warranty and a 6 year anti-corrosion warranty.
German customers love the brand
Without wishing to accidentally stray into the realms of racial stereotyping, it is fair to say that German customers have exacting standards. Just look at the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW – three manufacturers that have built reputations on precision engineering and the manufacture of unbeatably reliable machines. That's all well and good but German customers voted Dacia the nation's second favourite manufacturer in the coveted J.D Power Customer Satisfaction 2010, beating Mercedes and just falling behind Audi. Not bad at all for an affordable car from Romania...
Dacias are not as basic as you think
Yes, a basic Sandero comes with little more than a steering wheel and a heated rear window (even the radio is optional) but that's why it can be offered at such a bargain price. Customers wanting a slightly more premium product can still specify larger alloy wheels, leather interiors, metallic paint and rear parking sensors at reasonable prices. Consider this, a complete touch-screen media/navigation system costs just £300 in a Dacia, it costs £700 to upgrade to a similar system in a Volkswagen Polo.
They make great tow cars
Caravanists, boat enthusiasts, amateur racers and those with a large trip to the tip looming on the horizon should consider that the Duster won the Towcar Awards Best Budget 4x4 in 2013. The model excelled in a number of tests, including 30-60mph acceleration, 30-0mph braking and emergency lane changing, beating a number of more expensive rivals. The Duster also won the 2014 Caravan Club Awards Judges Special Award, with the panel suitably by its "excellent value for money and capability".
The current Dacia line-up uses tried and tested technology borrowed from parent company Renault. So the small range of petrol and diesel engines were once found in previous generation Clio, while both suspension and chassis have been directly lifted and adapted from various models in the French marque's former range. This means that time has ironed out imperfections and faults in the technology, parts are readily available (and therefore competitively priced) and servicing is cheap.
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