Dacia’s spearhead in the low-cost electric car segment, the Spring is starting its marketing in France at a hot price of € 12,264 with bonus deducted. What is it worth in reality? The answer in our essay!
8 years after the launch of the first generation of the ZOE, the Renault group is launching a new stage in its electric offensive with the Spring. Marketed by Dacia, the electric city car made in China intends to democratize electricity for all. Characterized by its compact dimensions with 3.73 m in length and 1.58 m in width, the youngest of Dacia sports a look of small crossover with raised ground clearance. Inspired by the Renault City K-ZE, it takes the DNA of the Dacia models with an assertive grille and optics directly integrated into the shields.
The model we are testing is a pre-series in the Business version. Reserved for professionals, it receives in particular LED daytime running lights, 14-inch wheels with hubcaps and decorative roof bars.
On the technical side, this Dacia Spring receives a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor. In traction, it develops up to 33 kW of power, or 45 horsepower, for a torque of up to 125 Nm. Made up of 12 modules and 72 cells, the Spring’s battery weighs approximately 186 kilos and accumulates 27.4 kWh of net capacity. In terms of autonomy, the manufacturer promises 230 km in combined WLTP cycle and even more than 300 in urban use.
For recharging, the Spring comes standard with a 6.6 kW AC charger for a charging time of less than five hours. On a simple domestic socket, you will have to be more patient and count 13:30 for a 100% charge. Like the Renault ZOE, fast charging is only available as an option. Charged € 600, the Combo connector is limited to only accepting 30 kW for an 80% full tank achieved in 56 minutes.
At the level of the trunk, we obtain a volume of 290 liters. Quite not bad for such a short vehicle! There is even a double bottom that can accommodate a real spare wheel. The bench can be folded down in one piece to obtain up to 620 liters.
A simple but effective interior
Even if the middle place seems exploitable, the Dacia Spring is only approved in 4 places. At the rear, the legroom remains correct as long as you are not too tall. Visibility, on the other hand, is largely obscured by the front seat. Comfort level, the bench is a little hard but benefits from a leatherette covering specific to the business finish.
In terms of finishes, this little Spring is obviously not at the top even if the whole seems rather robust. The plastics and door armrests are rigid and the body spacing often apparent. Instead of the driver, the seat cannot be adjusted in height. The same goes for the steering wheel, which may interfere with large riders. If the storage is numerous, we regret the absence of coating to prevent objects from wandering around when driving.
Basic and surrounded, digital instrumentation has the merit of displaying all the necessary information. We will thus find the consumption values, an estimate of the remaining autonomy and the battery charge level, expressed as a percentage. Sitting in the center of the dashboard, the 7-inch touchscreen is also functional. The interface design is not crazy but the ergonomics are efficient and the essential features are present with GPS access and compatibility with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
The Dacia Spring gear selector
At the wheel of the Dacia Spring
With a 100% charge, the on-board computer tells us 209 km of range when we leave. The first laps of the wheels are rather positive. A little too geared down, the steering remains light and the turning radius is excellent. With 9.6 m, the Spring does not however manage to match the Twingo which remains a benchmark in the field.
With only 45 horsepower under the hood, and even 30 when Eco mode is on, the Dacia Spring is obviously no lightning strike. But with only 970 kilos on the scale, it remains responsive. The 0 to 50 km / h is thus ensured in 5.8 seconds which is more than enough to slip through urban areas.
If this is not his favorite terrain, the behavior of the Spring on the highway is also correct. It will take nearly 20 seconds to bring down the 0 to 100 km / h but the acceleration is sufficiently clear to fit easily into the traffic lanes. During our test, we climbed to 131 km / h on the odometer. It’s better than the 125 km / h claimed by the manufacturer.
Spring consumption and real autonomy
In terms of consumption, the on-board computer indicates an average of 18.7 kWh / 100 km on a mixed journey relatively combining city, small roads and motorway with a temperature of around 12 ° C. If this remains sober compared to other electric cars, we are well above the 13.9 kWh / 100 km announced by the brand in the WLTP combined cycle.
After 60 km driven, the battery shows 58% remaining capacity. Enough to estimate the real autonomy of the Dacia Spring at around 140-145 km under the conditions of our test. Thanks to its small engine and light design, Dacia’s electric city car should ultimately offer a range equivalent to that of a Mini Cooper SE or a Honda e, two models that are both more efficient and more chic but also much more expensive. !
What about security?
If the Dacia have not always been at the top in terms of safety, this Spring still has six airbags as standard as well as automatic emergency braking. However, we regret the lack of progressiveness of the brake pedal. If you press a little hard, you are immediately on the amplifier and very quickly trigger the ABS. If the weight contained in the car should not allow it to go very far, there is something to worry about on wet footwear. Especially since the grip of the tires clearly leaves something to be desired!
Despite everything, the Dacia Spring remains a safe car. It behaved rather well during our avoidance and braking tests carried out on the Mortefontaine circuit.
The cheapest electric car on the market
If its Chinese manufacture is likely to cringe some teeth, the Dacia Spring is today the cheapest electric car on the market. Charged € 16,800, the Business version of our trial model remains reserved for professionals. Delivered in March, it drops to € 12,264 once the ecological bonus has been deducted and battery included.
Individuals will have to be more patient since the first deliveries will only take place in the fall. In its basic version, called comfort, the Spring starts from € 16,990 excluding bonus. Adding metallic paint and a wider choice of colors, the techno pack with 7-inch screen, the Comfort Plus version climbs to € 18,490, or € 13,498 once the ecological bonus has been deducted.
Beyond the cash purchase, it is the Long Term Rental (LLD) offers that should be successful. On the Spring, they are particularly tempting. With a commitment over 49 months and 40,000 km, rents vary between 89 and 94 € / month depending on the finish chosen. In the amount of € 2,500, the initial contribution will be canceled if the conversion premium is applied.