MediaNav: a lot a surprise with the new Dacia Sandero (2021)

September 29th, 2020
GPS R-Link

The renewal of the Sandero is extremely important for the Dacia brand because in 2019 it will be in 7th place in European sales with 225,000 units and 5th place in France. This is the third generation Sandero presented to us in the normal and Stepway versions. Without going into detail, the new Sandero is based on the same CMFB technical platform as the Clio V.

In terms of engines, we note the end of the diesel and a lineup based mainly on the 90-horsepower 3-cylinder turbo engine with manual or automatic CVT transmission and its 100-horsepower LPG variant.

From an Adas point of view (driving assistance) we find the blind spot detector, emergency braking, parking radars and emergency call in case of accident.

The exterior is very Dacia styling, which is very recognizable but clearly gains in stature with the front headlamps featuring the new Y-shaped light signature that is also found at the rear. A major novelty for the Dacia brand, the low beam headlamps are LED on the upper versions, which is a gain in safety and comfort compared to conventional halogen headlamps for those who often drive at night.

Inside, there’s a nice evolution with a redesigned dashboard that I found very successful, with fabric on the upper part, a care that you don’t usually find at Dacia. The meters are the same as the Duster 2 with white backlighting instead of orange. The screen is placed higher up and is well within the driver’s field of vision. The main new features are the hands-free card, the rain and brightness sensor, automatic air conditioning and an electric parking brake.

Let’s take a look at the new multimedia features.

The Sandero presents a range of 3 different multimedia systems that I will present to you: Media Control, Media Display and Media Nav.

The Media Control is similar to the R and Go system found on the Twingo 3 with a simple DAB bluetooth digital radio and an application to be installed on your smartphone as an option. On the top of the dashboard is a flap system that allows the smartphone to be positioned in the driver’s field of vision. There is a sufficiently strong spring at the level of the flap allowing an efficient holding of the phone. The system has a single USB plug located at the top of the dashboard for easy charging of the phone. The car radio can be controlled with the steering wheel controls or via the Dacia Connect application. A Home button on the steering wheel displays the different categories: Radio, Media, Phone and vehicle settings.

It is possible to install the Dacia Connect application on your smartphone, which allows you to control all the functions of your car radio on the screen of your smartphone for greater comfort. The application seems very customizable with the possibility to choose widgets, put shortcuts and even choose among the navigation apps installed on the smartphone our favorite for easy access.

The second system is the Media Display: a DAB radio consisting of a capacitive 8-inch screen with shortcuts on the left. We have the button Power, Home, volume in direct access which is rather a good point and a shortcut to the parameters of the vehicle. The system does not include an in-car navigation application, but fortunately the Android Auto and Apple Carplay smartphone replicas are present in wired mode. A clip on the left side of the screen allows you to attach your phone to it, it is removable. As for the media, only the socket at the top of the dashboard can be used to transfer data as for a USB key or smartphone replication.

The 3rd system is called Media Nav. It is an evolution of the Media Nav known in the Renault and Dacia range since 2012. The user experience evolves with a redesign of the graphical interface to be more in line with the current trends, the menu architecture remains very similar but the graphical codes are now close to the Easy Link system. This time, contrary to the Media display, there is a navigation application directly integrated into the multimedia system allowing to have a GPS guidance without using a smartphone. On the other hand, it’s still a TMC traffic info, an old and inefficient technology compared to traffic info such as Waze Google Maps or Tom Tom traffic info. Mapping continues to be provided by HereMaps. Fortunately smartphone replication is well present with Android auto and Apple Carplay but with a big novelty.

This replication is wireless using Wi-Fi, which is a first in the Renault group since wireless replication on the Easy Link system on Clio and Captur was due to arrive in early 2020 but has been delayed. Good news for Dacia.

The version that will be the most widespread on the Sandero will be the Media Display system. The Media Control system will only concern the entry-level versions and the MediaNav version with wireless smartphone replication should be optional on most versions.

The Media Control is a simple system. I found the location and use of the hatch to install the smartphone well done however I have some reservations about the lack of buttons on the center console allowing passengers to easily change the volume or change the radio if the smartphone is not installed with the application.

For the 2 other systems, the good location of the screen will contribute to the comfort of use and the presence of the smartphone replication allows to be up to date in terms of navigation with Waze and google maps. The small bonus of the wireless replication on the MediaNAv version is a real surprise, we didn’t expect Dacia to be the forerunner in this field in front of Renault.

The multimedia offer is complete for the Dacia brand and should meet the vast majority of customer expectations.

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