I have had a test drive of a Sandero laureate diesel, and have an ambiance diesel on order. Based on that drive, I dont think you need be concerned about noise levels, as I found no problems on that score at all, although I do appreciate that a stepway may be different.
Like bodge I have also test driven a Sandero laureate diesel and also the Ambience petrol. I did not find it noisy and would not have been unduly aware that I was driving a diesel. I got it up to 70 on a local A road and was more than satisfied. I would agree with some reviews that state the petrol engine is more fun to drive but we will be doing a longish motorway run each month and plumped for the economy and lower engine revs that the diesel should give. Hope this helps.
The problem with motor reporters is that they are so used of getting to drive luxury cars that they are all spoiled rotten ;-)
On the other hand if your a regular viewer of Top Gear the sound of the engine is a selling point
Okay so it's not a top end Ferrari but you can always pretend ... :-D
In the real world yes it probably is a bit more noisy than other higher classed brands in its category. However if you up grading from an older car I'd say you'll not notice and probably it will be quiter.
I'm getting a Duster and it is quiter than my 1.6 petrol 07 Vectra so you need to read between the lines a lot of the times even with well respected reviewers as it is really all down to your own perspective at the end of the day. As said earlier I reckon you should not overly worry, it will not feel like your driving a tractor ;-)
Best of luck with you new purchase if you decide to go for it ... But certainly take a test drive before you totally commit.
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