The Dacia Sandero has been named What Car? Car of the Year, fending off strong competition from a variety of contenders.
The top award was handed to the Sandero 1.0 TCe 90 Comfort, which comes in at £11,595.
However, the Sandero starts from £7,995, making it the UK’s cheapest car and several thousands pounds less expensive than the Ford Fiesta – one of the Sandero’s strongest rivals – which starts at £16,385.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: ‘The Sandero’s price is scarcely believable when you consider that our expert testing has shown it to be the equal of or better than most of its higher-priced rivals.
‘In the eyes of our test team it stood out for being delightfully comfortable, incredibly spacious and for its suite of modern safety aids and technology.
‘In the wake of an incredibly tough year, and with the prospect of hard times economically ahead, the Sandero is the perfect new car for the moment.
‘It will put a smile on the face of any buyer, but even more brilliantly, it is priced at a level where it can appeal to everyone, including buyers who would normally be considering used cars.
‘It redefines what’s possible at this price point, and underlines that even brilliant new cars do not have to break the bank.’
Dacia’s larger Duster SUV also scooped the title for Best Family SUV for Value.
When it came to electric vehicles it was Volkswagen’s ID.3 that went away with the Small Electric Car of the Year award.
Meanwhile, the Tesla Model 3 took Large Electric Car of the Year and Skoda’s Octavia iV Estate was named Plug-in Hybrid Car of the Year.
Lexus was found to be the most reliable brand, based on the feedback of 10,000 readers and their real-life experiences.
The most awards were won by BMW, which took home trophies for Executive Car of the Year, Luxury Car of the Year, Luxury SUV of the Year and Coupe SUV of the Year.