The All New 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.
The All-New Nissan Qashqai is well known as being the car that started the trend for mainstream family SUVs, despite the fact that Nissan took a bit of a risk when they launched the first generation Qashqai back in 2006 and subsequently invented the crossover family SUV. The current third generation, the All-New Nissan Qashqai SUV, was revealed in 2021 and brought with it a new style into an increasingly competitive market.
Our comparison of the Dacia Duster vs Nissan Qashqai will highlight their similarities in the SUV segment and their differences to help you decide which is the best option for your next car.
The All-New Nissan Qashqai SUV has a much needed facelift from the second generation Qashqai that came before it. Like others in the Nissan family it has ditched the rounded and bubble like body for something more muscular with strong lines and sharp details.
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 two cars are both fairly simplistic inside at entry level; no touch screen, black plastics along the dashboard and surrounding areas, and a few controls mounted on the steering wheel for ease of use.
The Dacia Duster is a little taller, 68mm to be exact, which means that taller passengers will be a little more comfortable here than in the Nissan Qashqai. However, driver's may prefer the Qashqai thanks to tilt and telescopic adjustment on the steering wheel compared to height and depth on the Dacia Duster.
With all five seats in use the Nissan Qashqai wins with 504 litres compared to 445 in the Dacia Duster, although this is reduced to 436 litres if you opt for the top trim Nissan Qashqai Tekna+. Folding the rear seats down sees the Dacia offer more room with 1623 litres against the Nissan Qashqai's 1447 litres.
Neither model offers an infotainment system on their entry level models, meaning that you need to upgrade (and therefore pay more) in order to have access to Apple Carplay and Android Auto and sat nav services. You also don't get alloy wheels as standard, with both the Dacia Duster and the Nissan Qashqai offering steel wheels on entry levels.
The two vehicles do differ greatly in the amount of driving assistance and safety equipment available, with the Nissan Qashqai offering more support. This includes a 7 inch high definition, full colour, digital and analogue TFT combimeter for the driver.
It also offers intelligent driver awareness, rear automatic braking, blind spot intervention, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition with legal speed adjustment, pedestrian and cyclist forward recognition, forward collision warning, lane intervention, and an electric parking brake as standard.
This is then reflected in their corresponding Euro NCAP safety ratings where the Qashqai received 5 stars compared to the Duster's 3 stars. Dacia, however, have been open about choosing not to include additional electronic systems in their vehicles as this then increases the price of the car for the customer.
Both Dacia and Nissan offer unique alternatives to petrol and diesel engines: Dacia with its Bi-Fuel engine and Nissan with e-Power.
Dacia's Bi-Fuel 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.
Nissan e-Power is unique to the brand with the petrol engine being used to charge a battery which then solely drives an electric motor which powers the wheels. It places the electric components as a priority whilst the petrol engine supports it, the opposite from standard hybrid technology.
Whilst the Dacia Duster offers it's Bi-Fuel engine as an alternative to a pure petrol engine, it doesn't have as high of a fuel economy performance as the Qashqai's e-Power option. Bi-Fuel will give you a combined mpg of 44.1 with 100HP whilst e-Power is much higher at 53.3 whilst also having 190HP. Additionally, the Bi-Fuel engine still uses a manual gearbox whilst e-Power runs as an automatic.
However, the Dacia Duster has the only all wheel drive option with its 1.4 litre diesel engine, giving a much more SUV feeling driving experience compared to the front wheel drive alternative options. The downside of this, is obviously the higher amount of fine particles that this engine releases such as NO2 or NOx.
Both the New Dacia Duster and the All New Nissan Qashqai are good options for those looking for a family sized new car in the SUV segment.
Nissan provides additional equipment on the Qashqai and has a higher safety rating from Euro NCAP whilst the Dacia Duster is simpler and sticks to the brands principles of offering competitive cars with a smaller price tag.