With a general move from the automobile industry to embrace electric vehicles, it is only natural to expect prices to drop slowly. With Tesla releasing more affordable (yet functional) electric cars, other manufacturers follow in their footsteps. This year, from Renault’s Romanian-based budget brand, the Dacia Spring was revealed, and many are calling it Europe’s most affordable electric vehicle – at less than £20,000. We’ve taken the time to test the car, and this is our detailed review.
Design – Exterior
The car is styled in a city car shape, but some crossover elements look slightly like an SUV. But don’t be fooled by its appearance; in the end, it is more of a city car than an SUV – measuring 3.7m long and 1.6m wide. In any case, its exterior aesthetic was quite impressive and didn’t look “cheap” at all. The charging port is behind the car’s logo, behind the fake grill. The car looks very familiar, with no significant changes from the initial design when presented as a concept car a year ago.
Interior Cabin and Storage
Once you get into the car, it has a surprising amount of space within its cabin. Although taller people might prefer more legroom, we didn’t have any trouble getting four adults in the car. There’s plenty of room to store small things in the cabin in the back, door pockets, glovebox, center console, and bins. The trunk is spacious, too, with room for 300 liters of cargo. You can easily double that capacity by folding the rear seats flat for more luggage room. The design within the car is very modern, with blue trim in different places (doors, air vents, etc.) to give it a sleek and unique look.
Dashboard and Electronics
As we’ve come to expect from an electric vehicle, a touchscreen dominates the dashboard (7 inches in diameter). There’s a separate screen in place of the instrument cluster behind the wheel. The system provides a Medianav multimedia system with voice control and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. There’s also a camera installed to help with reversing your car. However, don’t expect any other advanced driver assistance features at this price point.
Driving, Engine, Performance
We were pleasantly surprised by our test ride with this car because we found that the power steering was enough to keep it steady despite its relatively low weight. This is true for even the tightest turns we tried. We believe this is due to the excellent torque provided by the 33kW engine. Of course, as with any electric car, you don’t need to wait for torque to build up; it starts instantaneously as soon you put your foot on the pedal.
We decided to test its speed as well. The manufacturer claims it runs up to 120 km/h, but it easily went higher than that (up to 130 km/h, to be exact) without feeling like we pushed the car too hard. Even at that high speed, there was pin-drop silence in the cabin. Still, this is not the fastest car ever, nor does it claim to be.
Battery and Range
The powertrain runs on a 24.7 kWh battery, and when we tested it for range, the car managed to drive for 232 km, which is not bad. We were also informed that there is an eco-mode in the vehicle that can prioritize range over performance, giving an extra 25 km or so. However, as we haven’t tested the eco-mode, we can’t confirm or deny the manufacturer’s claims.
Charging using your regular power source at home takes 14 hours, so it is manageable overnight if you don’t drain the battery all the way. Otherwise, you can use a charging station (30kW DC power) to charge the car entirely in an hour and a half.
Other Versions of the Dacia Spring
Due to its affordability, there are other versions of the Dacia Sping available – one as a car-sharing version and a separate commercial version.
This car version conveniently adds stain-resistant finishing, floor mats (both front and back), durable parts, and 14-inch wheels. In addition, that car’s body is available as either white or light grey to differentiate it from the regular car. Passengers can access car-sharing apps on the 7-inch screen by connecting their smartphones and will be provided by navigation and parking assistance as a standard.
Available only in white, this car is distinguished by removing the back seats for a boot instead. The floor is lined with plastic and a wire mesh to separate passengers from the back (loading area). The load length comes up to 1 meter, and they can fit up to 800 liters in cargo, with an upper limit for weight set at 325kg. This version is not yet available (it will be released in spring 2022), but rumors are that pre-ordering will be available soon.
Overall, this is a successful attempt to bring electric vehicles to the masses and normalize their use. We don’t think that the manufacturer skimped on too many features to bring the price down as there are still many available as a standard. There is talk of bringing it to the UK market, but there is no confirmed schedule for when this can be expected.
The focus of this car’s brand is to bring down the price as low as possible without sacrificing the essentials. In our opinion, they did just that. Of course, there may still be more room for improvement. However, even though the car does not excel in any particular feature, the low price tag means that’s fine. Additionally, the Romanian government gives grants for up to half the car’s retail price to anyone who buys it. That brings the final price down to under 10,000 euros, which is an exceptionally low price to pay for a car. We recommend getting this car if you’re on a budget – you won’t even be using any gas, so that’s more money saved!