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Dacia Spring 27kWh Extreme 65 48kW 5dr Auto

  • Automatic
  • Electric
  • 5 door suv
  • 13.7 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 65 bhp Engine power
  • 140 mi Combined range
  • 26.8 kWh Battery capacity
  • 8 yrs Battery warranty

Ten Second Review

Dacia shakes up the affordable end of the EV market with this car, the Spring. The driving range is modest, but then so also is the price. This Romanian contender is fun to look at - and to drive. Here at last is an EV small hatch more comparably priced to a combustion model.

Background

Electric cars are too expensive. That's the bottom line. Despite continued industry promises, we're still waiting for the required wave of small, affordable EVs priced more comparably with fossil-fuelled runabouts. If any car maker was going to provide such a thing, you'd hope it might be Dacia, Renault's Romanian budget brand, who shook up the market a decade ago by offering UK folk a new family hatchback (the Sandero) for under £6,000. In fact, they already have, launching Europe's cheapest electric car, the Spring, back in 2021. Early versions of that model never appeared here, but Dacia is taking the opportunity provided by this model line's facelift to introduce it for the British market. The Spring is assembled in China as part of a joint venture between the Nissen Renault Alliance and the DongFeng Motor Group. And over 120,000 have been sold across Europe so far. So what might be its prospects here? Let's take a look.

Driving Experience

Our market focuses on the gutsier version of the Spring with a 65hp electric motor; an entry-level 45hp version's also available, but you'd have to be really urban-bound to choose that because it takes over 19 seconds to get to 62mph, around 5 seconds more than the 65 version. Both variants come with the same small battery pack with just 26.8kWh of usable capacity available, a modest figure that means just 137 miles of range can be had. But you won't be choosing a Spring for long journeys - or for performance; the 64bhp variant makes 62mph in just under 14s, though because the first 30mph is dispatched so quickly, it feels faster than that, helped by a light kerb weight of just 984kg. The tight turning circle, super-light steering and the small exterior size make the Spring a great city car. Predictably, it's less comfortable on the motorway, where it can get blown about by HGVs and going above 70mph takes quite a bit of driver determination. Best to keep this Dacia in its comfort zone, zipping about the suburbs, where it's really quite a fun companion.

Design and Build

Visually, this is the kind of small runabout that European customers tend to want these days, an A-segment small hatch with various Crossover cues (chunky wheel arches and a slightly higher ride height). If you want some perspective on size, we'll tell you that the 3,734mm length is fractionally longer than a city car-class model (the Hyundai i10 is about 6cm shorter). This facelifted model gets a smarter front-end look, with LED daytime running lights and indicators on the grille. The rear gets Y-shaped thinner lights and a matt black plastic panel. The cladding around the wheel arches and the bottom section of the bumpers has been left unpainted. Dacia reckons that will help this area to better cope with urban scrapes or dents. The brand has redesigned the interior of the revised model UK sales are launched with, incorporating cabin architecture borrowed from the new Duster SUV. Take a seat and it doesn't feel especially EV-like; you start the car by turning an old-fashioned key. Drive is engaged by twisting the chunky auto shifter, which has just three settings, D, N and R. For Park, you shift to N and pull on the manual handbrake. All the buttons and switches are huge, the infotainment screen (10.1-inches with top spec) works well and the dials are clear, but the squashy seat positions you quite high and you can't adjust the steering wheel. There's just a single wiper and top 'Extreme' trim livens up the cabin with some copper-coloured accents and neoprene upholstery. The rear seat is rather cramped, particularly if there's anything other than a short passenger up front. But that's so as a larger-than-expected boot can be provided for, 308-litres in size.

Market and Model

Prices kick off at around £15,000, which is makes the Spring the most affordable EV in the UK, but that's for the feebler '45' badged version you probably won't want. The '65' variant with the perkier electric motor that you'd be more sensible limiting yourself to costs from around £16,000, which is still very cheap for an EV. At that price, you get the same entry-level 'Expression' trim level as is offered in the '45' version. For plusher 'Extreme' trim with a '65' model, you'll need around £17,000. At these prices, the Spring's only real rivals on price are second hand electric cars. 'Extreme' trim gets you black wheels, copper-coloured detailing, nature-inspired paint colours and smart topographical badge motifs. In this spec, your Spring will also be able to charge external devices. There's also the same infotainment screen you get with the Jogger, a display which incorporates a rear parking camera and 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. Along with rubberised floor mats and neoprene seat upholstery. Some copper -coloured cabin detail features as well, but it doesn't alleviate the rather budget feel engendered by the dark grey plastics, the rugged robust interior architecture or the blanked-off buttons on the steering wheel. Dacia's new 'Youclip' accessory mounts appear on the dashboard, the centre console and the glovebox. to these can be attached things like a cup holder and a phone cradle. As part of this Spring's most recent update, Dacia has added various camera safety features - lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking and driver attention monitoring. As you'd expect, there are also front airbags, plus full-length curtain airbags, and ISOFIX points are provided for the outer rear seats.

Cost of Ownership

We gave you the driving range figure earlier - 137 miles - which is more likely to translate into 90-120 miles in real world motoring, and then only if you use the provided Eco button, which dulls acceleration and climate functions. Which might leave you tempted to ask your dealer whether Dacia is planning a version with a battery larger than a 26.8kWh usable capacity. Actually, the reverse is true, the brand currently looking into the possibility of a variant with an even smaller battery, which would reduce range a little but increase efficiency and further reduce the asking price. This car knows its market you see - amongst people who won't care that this urban runabout can't be comfortably used for inter-city journeys. The brand says the average likely Spring customer will do no more than 20 miles a day and will average 16mph. Of more importance is the fact that its lithium-ion cells can be DC-rapid charged at 30kW, which means a 20-80% charge can be completed in 45 minutes. A 7kW garage wallbox connection will charge the car in around 5 hours - or around 13 hours if you connect to a domestic socket. Once on the move, WLTP energy efficiency is rated at 4.3 miles-per-kWh, helped by the feather-light (for an EV) 984kg kerb weight. On to the warranty. Dacia offers its latest Zen warranty which can cover you for you to 7 years provided you get your car regularly serviced at a Dacia franchise. This is backed by three years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Dacia offers a choice of pre-paid servicing schemes covering you for either two years and 24,000 miles or three years and 36,000 miles.

Summary

Some cars simply have to be viewed in proper perspective and this is one of them. Those who might carp about the relatively feeble 137 mile driving range are missing the point. Which is that this Dacia is intended primarily for urban and suburban use; and that it will almost always be bought as a second or third car. In any case, a driving range figure of this sort didn't seem to do the original MINI Electric any harm. It's the same story with most of the other things that Spring prospects might be tempted to complain about. Sneering at the utilitarian cabin plastics? Just look at the uber-modest prices being asked here. Disappointed by the lack of rear seat space? Well it's only intended for kids and anyway, the packaging of this seat frees up more boot space, which for most customers will be more important. In short, you can see why so many European folk have been minded to spring for this Dacia.

  • 10" MediaNav live, DAB radio, smartphone replication, bluetooth, 2 speakers, apple carplay, android auto, USB-C
  • USB socket
  • Body colour door handles
  • Front and rear Bumper, body coloured with black elements and decorative insert
  • Rear side wing doors
  • 12v socket in front
  • Door sill protection with topographic pattern
  • Fabric/TEP upholstery
  • Grey interior door handles
  • Height adjustable steering wheel
  • Soft feel steering wheel
  • 6 airbags - Driver, front passenger, curtain and side airbags
  • Alcohol imoboliser predisposal
  • Child locks on rear doors
  • Door open visual and audible warning
  • Driver and passenger seatbelt not fastened warning
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners
  • Side impact protection
  • Two 3 point rear seatbelts
  • Tyre pressure monitor
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Remote central locking
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 26.8
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 650
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 20-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): 240
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: 20-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: 7.4
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Charge Time (Mins): 45
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Percentage Change: 20-80
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Power Supply - kW: 30
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Front
  • Coupler/Connector Type: CCS Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 30
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - City: 11.5
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb: 14.1
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEH: 14.1
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEL: 13.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - City: 5.4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb: 4.4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEH: 4.4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEL: 4.6
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 225
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 140
  • CC: 1
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.0
  • Badge Power: 65
  • Coin Description: 27kWh
  • Coin Series: Extreme 65 48kW
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 13.7
  • Engine Power - BHP: 65
  • Engine Power - KW: 48
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 6000
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 83
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 11.5
  • Engine Torque - NM: 113
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 4057
  • Top Speed: 78
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: False
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 165/80 R15
  • Tyre Size Rear: 165/80 R15
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Wheel Type: 15" STEEL
  • Height: 1519
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 3701
  • Wheelbase: 2423
  • Width: 1583
  • Width (including mirrors): 1767
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1315
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1004
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 308
  • Max. Loading Weight: 341
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 974
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 9.6