The Romanian brand, which sells the UK’s cheapest new car, secured the top spot in a survey of more than 5,000 car owners for the Honest John Index, which also identified the best and worst models to own.
Hyundai, however, secured the top spot for individual models, with its Ioniq taking the title for the second year running. The family hatchback, which is sold as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric car, was praised for its ease of use, handling and build quality. With a satisfaction rating of 95.7%, it saw off competition from the Volkswagen T-Roc (93.7%) and Mazda CX-5 (93%).
It also took top spot in the reliability rating for individual model, with a score of 97.5%.
Lexus also secured a gold medal position, named the most reliable brand overall by owners, with an enviable score of 98.1%.
However, not all owners were so pleased with their cars. Previous generations of the Ford Fiesta (2013-17), Honda HR-V (2015-21) and Mercedes-Benz C Class Estate (2014-21) came bottom in the overall model ratings, with satisfaction scores of 79.4%, 83.9% and 84.8% respectively.
Fiat was declared the least satisfactory brand, with a score of 82.3%, while Land Rover came bottom for reliability with 88.2%.
Dan Powell, senior editor of HonestJohn.co.uk commented: “What a tremendous recognition for Dacia that manufacturing a low cost car doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice any of the things that make your customers happy.
“Cheap does mean cheerful, with readers praising Dacia models for their value, comfort and reliability. The Romanian manufacturer is part of the Renault family and that quality comes through in its high scores for satisfaction and reliability.
“This is a massive piece of research, a real barometer of what the nation thinks of its cars. It is also a clear indicator of the rise and rise of electric and hybrid vehicles that the Hyundai Ioniq was crowned the most satisfying car for the second year in a row.”