Star of the French electric vehicle market since March 2021, the Dacia Spring receives a slight brushstroke for 2023. Is this enough to justify its new tariff claims?
Dacia no longer wants to hear about “Low Cost” to focus on the right price. The Romanian manufacturer is therefore renewing its range with models with a more polished design and modernized equipment. The Dacia Spring, the only 100% electric model in the catalog, follows this new trend sparingly.
Too timid developments
In this new vintage at the end of 2022 or 2023, the Dacia Spring is adorned with a redesigned grille incorporating the new DC logo which can also be found on the hubcaps. Same thing at the back where the tailgate proudly displays the DACIA name in white letters. The name Spring is found in the form of stickers on the rear part and the sides of the car. A new khaki green color is also appearing.
Inside, the changes are even thinner since only the Dacia inscription on the steering wheel differs from the first version. The manufacturer has also changed the name of the two trim levels, now called Essential and Expression instead of Comfort and Comfort Plus, but the equipment allocation remains the same.
A born city dweller
With 3.73 m long and 1.58 m wide, the Dacia Spring offers an ideal size for driving around town and parking in narrow car parks, especially since its turning circle of 9.5 m is quite short. . The presence of five doors and a tailgate also facilitates accessibility. The rear seats accommodate two adults of average size and the trunk volume of 270 liters is not ridiculous in view of the reduced size. We regret all the same that the bench is not splittable.
The Spring tries to make up for it with its numerous storage spaces. The large, spacious door bins, spacious central storage and very deep glove box are enough to make family references jealous. The digital instrumentation and the small multimedia touch screen compatible with Apple Car Play provide essential information and exemplary ease of handling. Long live simplicity! The furniture made exclusively of hard plastics is certainly not very rewarding but seems robust, as does the covering of the synthetic leather seats, which are very easily washable.
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A shower of small flaws
The driving position doesn’t deserve as much praise. For lack of adjustment of the steering wheel and the seat in height, the templates over 1.80 m risk having their right knee stumble on the too prominent ignition key whose barrel seems totally anachronistic on an electric car. The major defect, however, remains the single wiper blade whose insufficient sweeping surface drastically reduces the visibility of the driver’s front three-quarters.
Another criticism is the noisy and insufficient blower to demist the cabin with four people on board. The rain also harms the reversing camera, which is not protected and suffers from too limited a definition, especially at night. Too bad because the little Romanian provides an excellent level of comfort at low speed thanks to its flexible suspensions which swallow the speed bumps with relish. And if its accelerations are not transcendent, they are enough to evolve in urban areas.
Safety in the background
On small roads, the small synchronous motor with permanent magnets of 45 hp is not frustrating either because it provides honorable reminders up to 80 km/h. On the other hand, the lack of precision and consistency of the direction is felt from the first corner. The short-travel brake pedal associated with an overly sensitive amplifier turns out to be too brutal and sometimes generates unpleasant jolts. If we add to this a marked body roll (lack of stabilizer bars) and narrow tires with limited grip, as much to say that this Dacia Spring is not the most reassuring.
Thanks to its light weight (970 kg), braking distances remain reasonable and the presence of an ESP anti-skid system avoids any risk of premature slipping or even overturning in the event of avoidance. The presence of an automatic emergency braking system as standard is also worth mentioning. The fact remains that this Spring is content with a star in the EuroNcap crash tests and does not at all give confidence on the fast lane where it appears very sensitive to side winds and requires numerous trajectory corrections by having to deal with the vagueness of the direction. Air and rolling noises also encourage you not to exceed 110 km/h. The absence of cruise control confirms that this car is not aimed at major roads.
Driving in town or wisely on secondary roads, the Dacia Spring can settle for 13.2 kWh/100 km and curl around 220 km, as Hugo Lara proved during his autonomy test until breakdown. During our winter test, we recorded an average consumption closer to 15 kWh/100 km, which allows 170 km of range. On the expressway, count 18 kWh/100 km or even 20 kWh if you are moving at the maximum speed limited to 125 km/h (which corresponds to 130 km/h on the clock). The 6.6 kW on-board charger allows full charging in around 5 hours on a Wallbox. The CCS combo socket can receive up to 30 kW to fill up to 80% in less than an hour. But this socket is charged €600 as an option and reserved for the Expression finish, the price of which is no longer really competitive.
Invoiced from €20,800 (excluding bonuses) in the basic Essential finish and €22,100 in the Expression version (*price for December 2022), the Dacia Spring has undergone an increase of €3,810, i.e. more than 22% since its launch in March 2021. The reduction in the ecological bonus in 2023 (€5,000 instead of €6,000) also reduces the attractiveness of this small urban SUV imported from China. It is therefore tempting to turn to the second-hand market where you can find second-hand Renault Zoes, or even the trio of electric VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo sold until 2020.
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