Essai Dacia Spring électrique : l’écologie punitive ?

Essai Dacia Spring électrique : l’écologie punitive ?

Dacia Spring electrical 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 announced for this model. A 5-door city car, with a design in keeping with the times, and that seems designed to succeed as a Sandero. But is it really the deal of the year? This is what we will see in this Dacia Spring test.

Design: a facelifted Indian Renault

Although its origins date 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 made fashionable by BMW after being abandoned by Citroën. The charging sockets are also hidden under the closed grille, with chrome trim. In profile, the Spring can look a bit svelte. But its wheel arches and roof rack give it a small SUV look that enhances the overall style. The rear is fairly typical for Renault, with lights reminiscent of those on the first Captur.

Fake alloy wheels are very successful… for hubcaps glued to 14″ sheet metal wheels!

The styling of the Spring is typical of Renault
The styling of the Spring is typical of Renault

In detail, however, the low-cost manufacturing is clearly visible. The front door locks make it particularly old-fashioned. Many used plastics already seem to lose their original black color, in a car that is barely approaching 10,000 km. This is the case for the rear antenna base, the side glass seals, but also the mirror shells in raw plastic. All of this… it’s not going to age very well.

We also see that the sheets are thin and very sensitive to the impact of gravel and knocks on the doors. So beware for those who plan to rent a Spring LLD: it will be difficult to return it in very good body condition at the end of the contract…

It should be noted that the Dacia Spring has just received a new grille, with the new brand logo. If you 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This grille hides the charging sockets: it has just been replaced by a new grille with the revised logo
This grille hides the charging sockets: it has just been replaced by a new grille with the revised logo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 the Dacia Spring does not seem to date from today. Its design is clearly old-fashioned, and it comes with basic and cheap materials. What to say about the upholstery of the seats, worthy of the imitation leather of an old German taxi. Seats that, by the way, are not adjustable in height, and whose comfort is quite limited.

No leatherette for the steering wheel, which is content with plastic and dispenses with controls or a satellite to control the car radio. Facing the driver, the instrumentation is clear and complete. The beeps are not lacking at the slightest false manipulation…

Among the details that show us the design savings is the absence of power window controls on the storm doors. Therefore, it is necessary to look for them in the center console, as in a city car of the 90s. And, of course, it is necessary to hold down the button because sequential control is not proposed. Small details, but they will quickly become painful on a day-to-day basis.

The driving position of the Dacia Spring
The driving position of the Dacia Spring

Manual air conditioning is standard equipment. It gets the job done, but noisily and without even having an indicator light to show it’s on. Basic over and over again.

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

The changes made recently have also caused 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 size, with 4 seats on board. At the rear, roof protection will be for tall people only.

The rear seats of the Dacia Spring
The rear seats of the Dacia Spring

Good and bad surprises behind the wheel of the Dacia Spring

Before the test, I was a bit worried about having to deal with a car with very modest performance. The power level is limited, but the 0 to 50 km/h is quite satisfactory and already allows you to let go of many people when the light turns green. A good surprise, which will raise the level against much less convincing points.

The power is effectively limited, at 33 kW or 45 hp! But Dacia’s little electric manages to erase this lack of power by weighing less than a ton. Which is really very low for an electric car that must have batteries.

Around town, the Spring’s small size and maneuverability are a perfect fit. She is clearly in her element in an urban setting. A small inconvenience on cobblestone streets: the damping fails to preserve comfort, and the vibrations from the furniture are also unpleasant.

The Dacia Spring is in its element alone in the city
The Dacia Spring is in its element alone in the city

When you venture down the highway or into the fast lane, it’s not the same. The hardness of the steering is not a slave to speed, and at 100 km/h one quickly gets the impression that the slightest hit of the steering wheel in an emergency maneuver can end very badly. Being flexible suspensions and narrow tires, stability does not seem reassuring at all. Add to that significant wind noises, which suggest that Spring must have forgotten to go through a wind tunnel during its design.

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

With dimensions that we knew especially for the city cars of the 90s: 165/70 R14! It is worth admitting that this tire is neglected by good manufacturers, so you will have a hard time finding good tires in this size. Too bad, because tires are one of the fundamental elements for the handling and active safety of a car.

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

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

spring load plugs
spring load plugs

Dacia Spring prices: cheap electrics, but still

Two levels of equipment are offered in the Spring: Essential at 19,800 euros and Expression at 21,300 euros, before the deduction of the ecological bonus. The bonus of 6,000 euros is reduced within the limit of 27% of the new price: that is, 5,346 euros for the first finish and 5,751 euros for the second.

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

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

On the budget side, Spring is very well positioned against the competition, but with a much lower level of performance, let’s not forget. We would never have imagined buying a city car of this size, with this level of roadside service for over €20,000! Should we accept everything on the pretext that it is electric?

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