2021 Dacia Sandero revealed, is the first electrified Dacia

The third-gen Dacia Sandero has been officially revealed. Like in the first and second generations, there is a Dacia Sandero Stepway rugged crossover-styled hatchback and a Dacia Logan sedan derived from the hatchback. What’s different this time is the availability of electrified powertrain.

The Dacia Sandero goes up the ladder aesthetically, and while we have a look at only the exterior right now, spy shots show that an upmarket interior is waiting. The new generation model looks wider and longer than its predecessor. It carries a more mature design and better proportions lend it a more confident stance.

At the front, the headlamps and radiator grille are slimmer and wider, and the same seems to apply to even the lower grille. The bold arrow-shaped LED signature in the headlamps and the chrome inserts in the signature Dacia/Renault fashion in the radiator grille level up the sophistication, as do the new fog lamp housing with a dash of chrome and the sportier bumper.

2021 Dacia Sandero Stepway 2021 Dacia Sandero
The Dacia Sandero loses its utilitarian character in the third generation.

The profile has a huge difference from what we’ve seen in the past two generations. The greenhouse is sleeker and the beltline ends with a sharp kick. The wheel arches and shoulders have been buffed up for the third generation, leading to a wider body and a more planted stance.

At the rear, the wider tail lamps further emphasise the increased width and the more upmarket exterior. They are LED units.

Switch to the CMF platform

In France, the 2021 Sandero price in the most basic configuration is expected at around EUR 9,000. Being the first Dacia car based on the new-age CMF-B platform instead of the B0 platform that dates back to 1998, the third generation Sandero will be a revolutionary product for Dacia. Production will take place in Tangier, Morocco.

CMF-B is a version of the CMF platform used for B-segment or sub-compact vehicles. There are two sub-versions of it – LS (Low Specifications) and HS (High Specifications). Groupe Renault hasn’t disclosed which underpins the Mk5 Renault Clio or which one will be used for the Mk3 Dacia Sandero. Nearly 60% of the platform parts (in value) are expected to be the same, as per the French publication’s source.

2021 Dacia Sandero 2021 Dacia Sandero Stepway front
The Mk3 Dacia Sandero and its derivatives sit on Groupe Renault’s CMF-B platform.

Dacia moves on from the B0 as a drastic reduction in emissions and new crash test standards await automobiles this decade, asking too much from the 15-year old base that supports all Dacia vehicles. Dacia’s engineering team has sold millions of low-cost cars with ‘shockingly affordable’ prices through the reuse of old Renault parts, but that strategy would not allow them to meet new regulations.

Internally codenamed BJI, the basic version of the CMF-B platform (CMF-B Low Specifications) would give the 2020 Dacia Sandero a higher quality level and access to an improved frame. Expect ‘German’ aesthetics with parts like the seats, air-conditioning and the wheels borrowed from the new Renault Duster. A medium-sized tablet will sit in the centre of the dashboard to keep up with the times.

Dacia Sandero hybrid (Mild-hybrid)

Much like other manufacturers, Renault & Dacia will use a 48 V mild hybrid system to meet European emission targets. While a pure-electric variant has been ruled out for the third-generation Dacia Sandero, a hybrid variant could be in the works.

Renault unveiled its first full-hybrid system last year – the 1.6 E-Tech with about 140 hp output. This engine which services the Renault Clio has a large electric motor connected to the wheel that offers an EV-like acceleration and drive, a 1.2 kWh lithium-ion battery charged by regenerative braking, and a second small motor-generator permanently connected to the engine. Though 140 hp appears a bit much for an entry-level vehicle, Renault has said output can be scaled down with the use of smaller engine size or motor.

The conventional engine line-up may include 65 PS, 75 PS and 100 PS petrol units and an 85 PS diesel unit.

Q4 2020 launch

According to a recent report from the reliable French publication challenges.fr, Dacia will begin 2021 Sandero deliveries likely in November or December. In the regions of Africa and Latin America, the same car, albeit with an altered exterior, should arrive with the Renault lozenge next year.

All new Dacia Logan MCV

The report says that the 2021 Dacia Logan will continue with an estate version – the 2021 Dacia Logan MCV – though the pictures just released don’t show this variant in the family.

The Mk3 Dacia Logan will be manufactured in Romania and launched at the same time as the hatchback. It will be reserved for markets still having a demand for B-segment sedans, such as Romania, Turkey and Spain. France won’t get the 4-door version, but would list the MCV station wagon. It is safe to assume that the estate version will be built alongside the sedan.

2021 Sandero for India? – Not so fast!

The Sandero (sounds uncomfortably similar to the ‘Santro’) was an option for Renault India, before it hastily put together a hatchback changing the plastic components of the Nissan Micra (the Renault Pulse) that bombed spectacularly.

Renault is financially backing the CMF-A (Kwid) and its high-spec version (Triber and the upcoming HBC/Renault Kiger compact SUV) while extending the life of the current Duster with the new turbo petrol engine.

From the cost perspective, it would work out better if the Triber’s base is repurposed for a B+ category hatchback and sedan (no apparent plans for either exist at this time). This is quicker and cheaper than retooling the Alliance plant for the CMF-B that would entail a massive investment. From the demand perspective and what Renault has learned, vehicles designed and developed for India tend to work better than copy-pasting a European design like the Lodgy or the Captur. In short, there are no plans for the new Sandero in India, not at least in this form.