In-depth reviews

Dacia Duster review

The Dacia Duster is better than ever, and is possibly the best value SUV you can buy

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£10,880 to £19,975
  • Spacious interior
  • Value for money
  • 4x4 versions good off-road
  • Poor safety rating
  • Average fuel economy
  • Cheap-feeling cabin

The Dacia Duster offers such excellent value for money, you have to wonder why you’d ever spend the extra on a more expensive model. It’s not the most inspiring car to drive, and the interior is lacking in sparkle, but in just about every other respect the Duster is able to hold its own in an increasingly competitive market.

The second-generation Duster received a facelift in 2021, with updates to its exterior design, interior trim and infotainment system all helping to keep it competitive, while Dacia continues to offer the option of all-wheel-drive which means the Duster could be the best value proper off-road vehicle on the market.

About the Dacia Duster

The Dacia Duster is the SUV you can buy for the price of a supermini. In fact, with prices starting from just under £14,000 it even manages to undercut the Nissan Micra – not bad for a car that’s roughly the same size as a Qashqai.

Little wonder, then, that the first-generation Duster, introduced to the UK in 2012, forged a reputation for excellent value for money, earning itself a legion of loyal fans. The good news is that the new Duster picks up where the old model left off, and even manages to improve in certain key areas.

Visually, the second-gen car looks very similar to the old model – Dacia wasn’t going to mess with a winning formula – although every body panel is brand new. It’s more attractive and more upmarket than before, and has been further enhanced by the recent refresh which includes revised headlights, a new grille design, a rear spoiler and updated alloy wheel designs. Inside, the addition of upgraded upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and electric rear windows are all welcome features, while mid- and top-spec cars add a practical 1.1-litre storage bin and armrest.

It’s still incredibly spacious, too, with ample room for five adults and up to 445 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place.

The model range has been reduced to just three trim levels to choose from: Essential, Comfort and Prestige. The bargain basement Access spec is no longer available, so Essential is now the entry point to Duster ownership and includes 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, air-con and Bluetooth.

There are three petrol versions on offer: a 89bhp 1.0-litre TCe 90, and a 1.3-litre TCe unit with either 128bhp or 148bhp. A TCe 100 Bi-Fuel variant is also available, along with a Blue dCi 115 diesel engine with 113bhp and the choice of two-or four-wheel drive. A six-speed manual gearbox is available with all versions, except the 148bhp petrol car which comes with a dual-clutch automatic transmission.

You can only buy a diesel 4x4 version in Comfort or Prestige trim, which means you’ll have to spend just over £19,500 for a Duster with four-wheel-drive.  

If you're looking to buy a Dacia Sandero, why not visit our sister site buyacar.co.uk for the latest deals...

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