Dacia Spring electric test: punitive ecology?

Dacia Spring electric test: punitive ecology?

The Dacia Spring is simply the cheapest electric car on the market. Which seems logical, given the positioning of the brand and also the services advertised for this model. A 5-door city car, with a design in tune with the times, and that looks designed to be a success like a Sandero. But is it really the deal of the year? That’s what we’ll see in this test from Dacia Spring.

Design: a renewed Indian Renault

Despite its origins dating back to 2015 under the Renault coat of arms (see our article on the Renault Kwid), the design of this Dacia Spring is in step with the times. At the front, Dacia designers gave it a two-stage lighting, recently brought back into fashion by BMW after being dropped by Citroën. Charging sockets are also hidden under the closed grille, with chrome decorations. In profile, Primavera can look a little slender. But the wheel arches and roof rails give it a small SUV look that enhances the overall style. The rear is very typical of Renault, with lights reminiscent of the first Captur.

Faux alloy wheels are very successful…for hubcaps affixed to 14″ sheet metal rims!

Spring style is typical of Renault
Spring style is typical of Renault

In detail, however, the low-cost fabrication is clearly visible. The front door locks make it particularly dated. Many used plastics already seem to lose their original black color, on a car that is only approaching 10,000 km. This is the case for the rear antenna base, the side window seals, but also the raw plastic mirror shells. All of this… won’t age very well.

We also see that the sheets are thin and very sensitive to the impact of gravel and knocking on doors. So, be careful for anyone planning to hire a Spring LLD: it will be difficult to return it in very good condition at the end of the contract…

It should be noted that the Dacia Spring has just received a new grille, with the brand’s new logo. If you place an order, you should receive the retouched version.

This grille hides the charging sockets: it has just been replaced by a new grille with the revised logo
This grille hides the charging sockets: it has just been replaced by a new grille with the revised logo

Life on board: low cost above all

The interior of Fonte Dacia does not appear to date from today. Its design is clearly outdated and comes with cheap, basic materials. And the seat upholstery, worthy of the faux leather of an old German taxi. Seats which, incidentally, are not height adjustable and whose comfort is quite limited.

No faux leather for the steering wheel, which makes do with plastic and ignores controls or a satellite to control the car radio. Facing the driver, the instrumentation is clear and complete. The beeps are not lacking in the slightest false manipulation…

Among the details that show us the economy of the project is the absence of controls for the electric windows in the storm doors. Therefore, it is necessary to look for them in the center console, as in a city car from the 90s. And, of course, it is necessary to hold the button because sequential control is not proposed. Small details, but that will quickly become painful on a daily basis.

The Dacia Spring driving position
The Dacia Spring driving position

Manual air conditioning is standard equipment. It does the job, but noisily and without even having an indicator light that shows it’s activated. Basic again and again.

On the multimedia system side, we are dealing with the Media Nav signed LG with navigation, radio and bluetooth telephony. All easily controlled by touch screen. This screen is also used to display the rear view camera. This equipment is standard on Spring’s second trim level.

The changes made recently have also led to the disappearance of the logo on the steering wheel from last Spring 2022, replaced by the Dacia logo.

The habitability is correct given the exterior dimension, with 4 seats on board. At the rear, the roof protection will be for tall people only.

Dacia Spring's rear seats
Dacia Spring’s rear seats

Good and bad surprises behind the wheel of Dacia Spring

Before the test, I was a little worried about having to deal with a car with very modest performance. The power level is really limited, but 0 to 50 km/h is quite satisfactory and already allows a lot of people to be dropped when the traffic light turns green. A nice surprise, which will raise the bar in the face of much less convincing points.

Power is effectively limited, with 33 kW or 45 hp! But Dacia’s little electric manages to erase that sub-power weighing less than a ton. Which is really pretty low for an electric car that has to charge batteries.

In town, the Spring’s small size and maneuverability are perfectly suited. She is clearly in her element in an urban setting. A small downside on cobblestone streets: damping fails to preserve comfort, and furniture vibrations are also unpleasant.

Dacia Spring is in its element only in town
Dacia Spring is in its element only in town

When you venture out on the road or the fast lane, it’s not the same. Steering is not a slave to speed, and at 100 km/h you quickly get the impression that the slightest movement of the wheel in an emergency maneuver can end very badly. With the suspensions being flexible and the tires narrow, the stability doesn’t feel at all reassuring. Add to that significant aerial noise, which suggests Spring must have forgotten to go through a wind tunnel during its design.

With very present rolling noises and squeaky tires, you completely forget the fact that the car is electric. The tires are quite low-end: they are Chinese Linglong Green Max HP tires. Their identical replacement will only cost around forty euros each on the internet.

With dimensions that we knew especially for city cars of the 90s: 165/70 R14! It’s worth admitting that this tire is overlooked by good manufacturers, so you’ll be hard pressed to find good tires in this size. A pity, because the tires are one of the fundamental elements for the handling and active safety of a car.

Let’s talk a little about autonomy. Advertised at 230km on combined cycle, it’s actually less than 200km when the battery is fully charged. But consumption remains very reasonable, and fifty kilometers, for example, won’t make you lose more than 20% of charge.

the little battery 27.4 kWh charges in 13h from a 10A domestic socket and in 4h38 from a home charging station (7.4kW AC -32A). On a 50 kW fast charging station, charging time is just 1 hour and 4 minutes.

Spring charging sockets
Spring charging sockets

Dacia Spring prices: cheap electric, but still

Two trim levels are offered in Spring: Essential for €19,800 and Expression for €21,300, before deducting the eco bonus. The bonus of 6,000 euros is reduced within the limit of 27% of the new price: ie 5,346 euros for the first arrival and 5,751 euros for the second.

The basic version can therefore cost you less than 15,000 euros, with standard manual air conditioning, R-Plug & Music car radio (radio, sockets and USB, Bluetooth, DAB), automatic lighting and windscreen wipers. – manual windows or automatic emergency braking.

Expression finish adds reversing radars, reversing camera, spare wheel, MEDIANAV multimedia system (screen 7″, smartphone replication, USB, bluetooth, DAB),

On the budget side, Spring is therefore very well placed against the competition, but with a much lower level of performance, let’s not forget. We never imagined buying a city car of this size, with this level of road services at more than 20,000 euros! Should we accept everything under the guise that it’s electric?

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