Dacia Duster Review

The Dacia Duster is a small, rugged SUV that’s as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes. Don’t be fooled by the diminutive price tag though, this car still packs a punch!

Read on to find out what makes the new Dacia Duster such a lovable and versatile option.

Exterior

The Dacia Duster proves that affordable doesn’t have to mean unattractive. Its rugged good looks and muscular design combines expertly with a generous dash of practical features.

We loved the Prestige model of this car, so don’t be surprised if we keep going on about it. The imposing chrome front grille and double optic headlamps give it a clear element of style. The Prestige comes with a gorgeous trim, standard 16” diamond-cut alloy wheels, satin chrome roof bars, side sills and front and rear scuff plates, all of which contribute the Dacia Duster’s effortless SUV style.

Meanwhile, the extended wheel arches and raised ride height enhance the credentials of the Dacia Duster as a robust off-road vehicle.

Interior

The Duster can fit up to five people comfortably. Boot capacity in the 4×2 model is a generous 475 litres, while the 4×4 will get you a little extra. With the back seats down, the Dacia Duster’s boot capacity jumps to a whopping 1,636 litres.

Chrome surrounds on the instrument panel are a classy touch, and there are plenty of opportunities for personalisation. Choose from an extensive range of accessories, including body protection mouldings, chrome styling kits and interior armrests.

MediaNav, Dacia’s enviable infotainment system, comes as standard with the Prestige model, and is available as an optional extra with the Laureate. The media centre’s slick design and intuitive features helps prevent you from getting distracted on the road. The fully integrated 7” touchscreen controls your radio, MP3, mobile and built-in Sat Nav. Combine this with the high-spec Arakamys sound system, and your journeys will never be dull again.

On the road

The Dacia Duster handles well on the road and is comfortable on long journeys. You can select from one of two engines; a 103 bhp 1.6-litre petrol (Access trim) or a 108 bhp 1.5 litre dCi turbodiesel. In urban environments, the reversing camera and reverse parking sensors (Prestige) help navigate the tightest of spaces.

The Dacia Duster was designed to function well on all terrains. That’s why the 4×4 model has a number of gadgets and design elements that help it survive out in the wild. These include:

• Clearance angles: The car was designed with high-ground clearance, and includes wide ‘approach’ and ‘departure’ angles at the front and rear of the car, enabling the Dacia Duster to negotiate difficult obstacles and uneven ground.
• Light-weight frame: The Duster weighs less than 1,300 kg. This, combined with the vehicle’s compact dimensions make it an agile motor that’s quick off the mark.
• Rugged exterior: The body of this car is built to withstand the toughest terrain, with its credentials proven by extensive testing.
• Short first gear ratio: The manual six-speed gearbox includes a short first gear ratio that gives traction over rough ground, maintains grip when accelerating on a slope, aids the negotiation steep descents and beefs up acceleration when the car’s fully loaded.
• Intelligent tri-mode all-wheel drive: Choosing the right driving setting for your environment is important. The Dacia Duster comes complete with three distinct settings; ‘2WD’ (engine torque distributed to front wheels), ‘Automatic’ (torque to all four wheels) and ‘Lock’ (torque directed to all four wheels with engine control and braking optimised for off-road usage).

Our verdict

The Dacia Duster starts at £9,495 – an absolute steal for a car of this calibre. Combine this with a low rate of depreciation, and you’ve got yourself a healthy investment.

The drive quality is dynamic and the cabin is roomy enough to fit the whole family. Equally home on narrow urban streets and undulating un-paved tracks, this car is ideal for those with a sense of adventure.

Some have described the Dacia as a ‘cut-price Nissan Qashqai’, but this doesn’t quite do the Duster justice. The Access model is a great entry-level option, while the Laureate and Prestige models stack up well against any of its SUV competitors – all for a fraction of the price.

If you’re interested in the Dacia Duster, or any of our other new cars, head on down to your local Perrys dealer today.