Away from the bright lights of Pebble Beach, Monte Carlo and Knightsbridge, a revolution is quietly bubbling away, fuelled by a preoccupation with affordability, practicality and utility.

Because over here in the real world, 0-62mph times and split-second torque-vectoring are rather less significant than, say, load capacity and ease of maintenance.

These are far less sexy attributes for car brands to shout about but far more commonly considered by the average car buyer – and there’s nothing like a global economic meltdown to really bring to the fore exactly what a consumer wants and needs of a product.

And doesn’t Dacia know it? The Romanian brand has long favoured a frill-free approach to car development and marketing, recognising a general market disillusionment with expensive and weighty optional extras, complex electrified powertrains and invasive safety technology.

With this latest concept, Dacia provides a welcome (dare I say, rare?) sign that car companies’ bosses do listen to their customers – and shows that today’s economic climate could foster a renaissance of the simple, cheap car.

‘Essential but cool’, Dacia calls it, reckoning that cheap can still be very cheerful indeed.

Thankfully, it’s not the only brand with this mindset: Skoda’s new Vision 7S SUV concept is an exercise in romanticising attainable family motoring and Toyota is working on an electric follow-up to the charmingly simple Aygo X baby crossover.

Even in this time of economic uncertainty, we can still celebrate the technical and dynamic brilliance of £100,000-plus sports cars, limousines and tank-like SUVs – but there’s also plenty to still be excited about several large steps down the pricing ladder.



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