The Dacia Duster was first introduced to the market in 2010 with a second generation Duster coming along in 2017.
The current model has won several awards, including What Car? Best Family SUV, Best For Value, and the Auto Express Road Test Winner. These awards prove its popularity and successes in the market as a key model in Renault's budget brand. It stands in the market against similar sized competitors such as the Nissan Juke, Nissan Qashqai, SEAT Ateca, and Volkswagen T-Cross and proves that you can have a car for the whole family without breaking the bank.
Our Dacia Duster review will guide you through the current model with the aims to help you choose whichever model is best for you and your needs.
The current Dacia Duster is built on the Dacia B0+ platform, currently they only Renault-Nissan car to be built on the platform. As Renault's budget friendly brand it does share many parts with the French brand's line up.
The key changes that the Dacia Duster has seen since its previous version is the addition of electric power steering, the multiview camera system which is an upgrade from the reversing camera, the blind spot warning system, automatic climate control, and keyless entry and go.
The addition of these features has increased the Dacia Duster's desirability but haven't cause it to break the bank, keeping its loyal customers happy and attracting new ones in the process.
The interior of the Dacia Duster SUV is designed with simplicity in mind. At entry level this means no touch screen, just the DAB radio with Bluetooth and a USB connection. This is ideal for those not bothered about hooking their phone up every time they get into the car.
The 2021 update of the Dacia Duster added the option for the 8 inch touchscreen that's available from the Expression trim onwards as well as new upholstery and a centre armrest with a litre of storage on other trim levels.
The headrests have also been slimmed down a little which improves visibility, although the windscreen and narrow front pillars make front visibility great too. For blind spot monitoring you will need to upgrade to the higher Journey trim.
Passengers in the rear seats are afforded almost as much head room as those in the front, in fact there's only 8mm less at 892mm compared to 900mm in the front seats. Tall passengers will be fairly comfortable in any of the seats and isofix fittings in the outer rear seats make it easy to travel with the whole family too.
For more adjustment settings for the driver's seat you'll need to upgrade from the entry level Essential to the mid range Expression. This will allow you to adjust both the height and lumbar support manually to give you the best comfort possible on longer trips. Stepping up again to the Journey trim will add in heated seats for a bit more Dacia Duster comfort.
As well as this, there's also ample space in the Dacia Duster's boot. 445 litres are available with all five seats in use, which is 23 litres more than the Nissan Juke, and this is increased to 1623 litres when the rear bench is folded down.
Surprisingly, the Dacia Duster SUV offers a really strong selection of engines; three petrol, two diesel, and one Bi-Fuel model.
The TCe 90 is the standard engine across the Dacia Duster range. It's a 1.0 litre petrol engine with a six speed manual gearbox capable of 90HP, making it the least powerful option available across the range, with a combined mpg of 45.6.
The next petrol engine choice is the TCe 130, a 1.3 litre engine, again with a six speed manual gearbox and 130PS. It's combined mpg is the same as the previous offering at 45.6 and it's CO2 emissions are only 1g more at 141 g/km. However it's 0-100km/h time is 2.1 seconds faster at 10.6 seconds.
The most powerful petrol engine is the TCe 150 EDC. This is a 1.3 litre engine with a six speed automatic gearbox capable of 150HP and combined mpg of 44.8. The higher power output sacrifices the fuel economy a little and also increases the CO2 emissions slightly again to 142 g/km.
Although there are technically two options for diesel engines, it's the same diesel engine in either front wheel drive or four wheel drive. These are both 1.4 litre diesel engines capable of 115PS with six speed manual gearboxes. The front wheel drive option will have a combined mpg of 58.9 compared to 53.3 in the four wheel drive option and CO2 emissions of 127 g/km against 139 g/km.
The Dacia Duster also offers the TCe 100 Bi-fuel, an interesting hybrid engine option. This runs on both a petrol engine and liquified petroleum gas which is delivered via an integrated injection. You can either manually make the switch between them or the car will do this automatically when the LPG tank is empty.
The TCe 100 Bi-fuel has a 1.0 litre petrol engine capable of 90HP which rises to 100HP when the LPG is being used. The fuel consumption isn't particularly impressive, it's on par with the fully petrol engines with 44.1 mpg combined or 40.0 mpg when using the LPG. The biggest difference comes from the CO2 emissions, 145 g/km when using the petrol engine alone but drops to 127 g/km when using the LPG.
There are four trim levels available on the new Dacia Duster SUV: Essential, Expression, Journey, and Extreme SE. All brand new Dacia Duster models will now have the new brand identity and logo.
The Essential model will offer 16 inch steel wheels, 25% tinted windows, new grille with white inserts, Dacia Y shaped signature LED lights, foam steering wheel, a steel grey console surround, backlighted steering wheel, steel grey air vent surrounds, cruise control, speed limiter, eco mode, stop and start function, gear change indicator, automatic headlights, manual air conditioning, electric front windows, manual rear windows, height and depth adjustable steering wheel.
You'll also have a digital DAB radio with Bluetooth connection, Radio MP3, USB connection, 4 speakers, and steering wheel controls. You are able to choose metallic paint and an emergency spare wheel as an option.
Stepping up to the Expression adds 16 inch alloy wheels, silver door mirrors, soft feel steering wheel with steel grey trim, map pockets on the front seatbacks, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, front fog lights, one touch driver side window, electric rear windows, centre console with sliding armrest and storage, height adjustable driver's seat, lumbar adjustment for driver's seat, rear view camera, and rear parking sensors.
This trim level also introduces the 8 inch media display in the centre console which has Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility and upgrades the speaker system to include 6 speakers.
The Journey trim level upgrades to 17 inch alloy wheels, dark glass on the lateral rear windows, front and rear skid plates, fog grey interior decoration, automatic windscreen wipers, automatic air conditioning, heated seats, keyless entry, acoustic windshield, glovebox light, multiview camera, blindspot warning, and adds integrated sat nav.
The top spec cars, the Extreme SE, will add 17 inch black alloy wheels, an Orange Duster inscription on the roof bars, glass black door mirrors with orange decal, and orange interior decorative parts including the air conditioning controls. It also has all of the additional tech upgrades that the Journey model has.
The Dacia Duster has a 3 star safety rating from Euro NCAP which places it on par with the MG ZS but unfortunately places it lower than competitor models such as the Nissan Qashqai or the Nissan Juke, both of which have 5 star ratings.
This rating is valid on all model years since and is determined by the entry level safety equipment included. You can expect to have ABS, automatic emergency braking, traction control with electronic stability control, chest side and head curtain airbags, and isofix fixtures on rear outer seats. Higher spec models will also include blind spot warning systems.
The new Dacia Duster is well known for being an affordable SUV and with the entry level Essential models beginning at £15,295 it continues to be one of the cheapest SUV options available.
From there, the Expression trim level starts at £16,795, followed by the Journey at £17,995, and then the Extreme SE at £18,795. When compared to rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai at £26,045 it's a much more affordable option. The MG ZS is perhaps the only SUV that is able to rival the Duster for affordability but it's entry level Excite model is still a little more expensive at £17,295.
The great value Dacia Duster is able to provide good amounts of equipment, a number of great engine options, and means that you can have all of these things at a reasonable budget too.
The new Dacia Duster SUV is a car that sees practicality and price as a priority for their customer above all else. It's a strategy that has one down well with lovers of the brand for years and even with the recent rebrand doesn't seem to be something that Dacia will be moving away from.
Perhaps the only thing that lets the Dacia Duster down is it's lack of safety kit compared to other cars which then has an impact on its performance in safety ratings.
For more information, or to book your test drive of the Dacia Duster SUV, please don't hesitate to contact our knowledgeable and friendly team at John Clark Dacia in Aberdeen.