Dacia Spring (2021) in the test: More than a cheap home?

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We have already driven the cheapest electric car on the market

Dacia Spring (2021) in the test: More than a cheap home?-cheap

Dacia started in Europe sixteen years ago. The plan was to offer cheap cars that would meet the key needs of buyers. The recipe worked. Now Dacia brings the spring.

Pre-orders in France will start in June, and the first deliveries to private customers are planned for early autumn. We have already tested the electric car.

The trend towards SUVs is clear. Manufacturers also want to use this in segments that are not necessarily suitable for it. Despite its only 3.73 meters long (with a 2.52 meter wheelbase) and a width that almost corresponds to the height (1.58 meters wide and 1.52 meters high), the Dacia Spring is a little adventurer.

In our test, we drove the business version, i.e. the model for corporate customers and car sharing services. As you can see in the pictures, these vehicles are quite simple. Private customers will have more configuration options and a greater choice of colors.

inner space

One of the principles of the Dacia brand is to do without anything superfluous in order to keep prices down. There are no frills in the interior, even if the cockpit is not completely bare. There is everything you need, only it is standard or not, depending on the level of equipment.

Our test version had air conditioning, six airbags, electric windows, a very simple but adequate infotainment system including a seven-inch touchscreen with the support of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The voice control button on the steering wheel calls Siri on the iPhone or the Google Assistant on Android. In terms of connectivity, the free "MyDacia" app allows remote access to the heating, the charging process and the location of the car.

The dashboard is reminiscent of old Dacias and not the new ones, which is a bit of a shame, but it's not a disaster either. The low-cost spirit ensures hard materials and window regulator buttons placed on the center console, as well as a single wiper blade. However, the driving experience is decent, the ergonomics first-class and there is enough storage space inside.

In the rear there are two really usable seats instead of the usual three, although the middle one often hardly deserves this name. There is enough space in the rear for a car that is less than four meters long. But occupants in the back (as well as those in front) will complain about the hard seats.

The trunk has a decent capacity of 270 liters (according to VDA) standards, with the rear seats folded down it is up to 620 liters. A "cargo" version is to follow later, in which the rear seat disappears in favor of more trunk space.

Range and charging

With its small 27.4 kWh battery, the Dacia Spring offers a range of 230 kilometers in the combined WLTP cycle. That is between a Renaut Twingo Electric (22 kWh and 190 kilometers) and a VW e-Up (36.8 kWh and 260 kilometers). That may be sufficient depending on the purpose, especially since, according to Dacia, the model will usually be bought as a second car. The brand also points out that the average travel distance for a city car in Europe is just 31 kilometers per day.

In pure city operation, the range climbs to over 300 kilometers. As for charging, the charging times are not too long because of the small battery. A complete charging process takes 13.5 hours at a normal household socket, but only 4.5 hours with a 7.4 kW wallbox and only 1.5 hours with the 30 kW DC fast charging station.

The cable for the household socket is included as standard, while the one for the wallbox in France costs 250 euros extra. An additional 600 euros are due for the quick charge capability; this extra is only available for the Confort Plus version.

Platform and drive

The Dacia Spring uses the synergies within the group. It is based on the CMF-A platform of the Renault K-ZE sold in China, which in turn from the Renault Kwid is derived from a combustion engine for India and Brazil. The Dacia Spring is also produced in the same Chinese plant as the K-ZE.

With its 33 kW (44 PS) and 125 Nm torque, the Dacia Spring has little to do with the small Citroen Ami models and the Renault Twizy common. The car drives as expected from the official figures: According to the data sheet, the sprint to 100 km / h takes 19.1 seconds, the top speed is 125 km / h and the acceleration from 80 to 120 km / h takes. .. 26.2 seconds.

Driving impressions

High seat, low steering wheel: there is no doubt that we are in an electric car from the Renault Group. Apparently for reasons of cost, an adjustment of the steering column and a seat height adjustment are not available. That's why tall people have a hard time jumping, but at least we don't have the steering wheel in our laps. As mentioned, the seats are very tight, but Dacia assures that the sales versions will get softer seats.

The first few kilometers are surprising: the car looks quite lively when it sprints from 0 to 50 km / h. At just 970 kilos when empty, the Spring is also a featherweight among electric cars. In the city, the turning circle of just 9.60 meters is an advantage, as is the easy-to-use steering, the suspension that is not too tight and the very good visibility.

The Dacia Spring has an eco mode that increases the range by nine to ten percent. For this, the engine output is limited to 23 kW (31 PS) and the top speed to 100 km / h. That is a little too little for our taste, especially since the test drive also took us on expressways. In any case, our Spring is not a hero when it comes to speeds over 50 km / h.

On back roads, the Dacia Spring brings back memories of cars from twenty years ago: It gives a very "direct" driving experience. At high speeds on bumpy roads you have to hold the steering wheel with both hands because of the chassis and sometimes take your foot off the accelerator.

The Chinese Linglong tires offer a rather average grip, which fortunately sometimes leads to a slightly playful rear. The Dacia Spring can be a lot of fun if you give it a whip. This is also a result of the positioning of the engine and battery under the rear seat, which means that the Spring has a lower center of gravity than is usual in this class.

More about Spring and electric SUVs in general:

Dacia Spring (2021) in the test: More than a cheap home?-dacia Dacia Spring Electric: German prices start at 20,490 euros

Dacia Spring (2021) in the test: More than a cheap home?-cheap Electric SUVs (2021/2022): All models on the market

But that will probably not be the main benefit for customers who are more likely to be looking for a safe car. The Dacia Spring is not dangerous, however, because the power of the engine curbs any excess adrenaline. On small streets, however, we would call the Spring fun. It is less fun on the motorway, especially in the left lane, where like the Renault Twingo it has a little too much wind resistance.

Like all electric cars, the Spring uses a lot of energy there. We measured around 23 kWh / 100 kilometers at 125 km / h, which reduces the range to around 120 kilometers. At slower speeds, in the city and on back roads, the on-board computer showed around 13 kWh / 100 km, which corresponds to a range of more than 200 km – a fair value.

Now to the most important chapter: pricing. According to Dacia, the Spring is the cheapest electric car in Europe. In France, prices start at 16,990 euros before promotion, the Confort Plus version costs 18,490 euros.

The business version shown in the pictures will be available for car sharing services in France from March. The French prices for this start at 16,890 euros before funding. A cheaper version for private buyers is also in preparation, as Dacia announced.

Conclusion

The Dacia Spring is not as manoeuvrable as a Renault Zoe or even a Twingo Electric, but it is much more fun to drive and, above all, it is significantly cheaper. If the prices in Germany are similar to France, the car costs less than 8,000 euros after funding. The Twizy is only available from 11,450 euros because there is no environmental bonus for it. For the cheapest Zoe you pay around 20,000 euros after funding.

The Spring is an excellent second car, for short daily trips and even a little more. How he'll fare in sales remains to be seen. You can get a Dacia Sandero from around 9,000 euros. This makes it a little more expensive than the spring after funding, but it has no range problem and is better processed.

benefits disadvantage
Driving fun Pretty average soundproofing
Very decent standard equipment No split back seat
Unbeatable price Not very agile over 50 km / h

Translator's note: The original French article has been shortened and adjusted (especially in terms of prices) to the conditions in Germany.

Dacia Spring

engine Electric motor (PSM)

power 33 kW (44 PS)

Max. Torque 125 Nm

battery 27 kWh (lithium-ion battery)

Electric range 230 km (WLTP)

Charging port AC single-phase with up to 6.6 kW, DC up to 30 kW (optional)

Charging time AC 6.6 kW in 4.5 h, DC 30 kW in 1h30

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 19.1 sec.

Top speed 125 km / h

length 3.73 meters

broad 1.58 meters

height 1.52 meters

Empty weight 970 kg

Trunk volume 270-620 liters

Number of seats 4th

consumption 13.9 kWh / 100 km

Market launch 2021

Base price 16,990 euros (in France)

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