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Dacia Duster (2009-2017) review - Reliability and Safety

Simple, straightforward and well proven, although safety is middling and early cars suffered a few issues with rust

The Dacia Duster had been sold in Europe since 2010, before arriving in the UK in 2012. This, combined with its simple nature and use of very well proven Renault and Nissan-sourced components means reliability and dependability are proving competitive.

There has been a surprising issue with rust appearing on early models, though. These were built in India and don’t seem to have had quite the same level of corrosion protection we’ve come to take for granted in the UK. The 2015 model is built in a different plant in Romania and Dacia assures us the issue has now been sorted.

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Dacia performed terribly in our 2017 Driver Power survey, finishing 27th out of 27 brands on the list of manufacturers. Meanwhile, its dealer network was ranked the lowest in the UK, a fall from grace from a year earlier, when the brand finished second.

While the Duster might be easy to live with, as a family car it comes under tougher scrutiny when it comes to safety. What really lets the Duster down is its weak safety score. Euro NCAP gave it just three stars for overall crash safety in 2011. In a marketplace where five stars is the accepted norm and anything less than four stars is unacceptable, this is a real weakness.

The Duster suffers not because of any major failings in crash protection, but in its lack of safety assist features. ESP has only recently been standardised, for example, and electronic emergency braking isn’t available even as an option. Only front and side airbags are fitted as standard; curtain airbags are not available.

Warranty 

The Duster has an average warranty of three years and 60,000 miles. Although it’s sold in the same showroom as Renault, Dacia has decided not to follow the French firm’s four-year warranty package. Significantly for owners of early Dusters, there is a two-year paintwork warranty and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty: a surprising number of owners have already claimed on this.

Dacia offers extra coverage for a little more. Its five-year/60,000-mile pack is around £400, while there’s the option to up this to seven years and 100,000 miles for around £850. If you buy on finance, the five-year pack is often included as standard, as an incentive.

Servicing

The Duster has a rather short service schedule of one year or 12,000 miles: most Renaults and Nissans stretch this further, which is surprising. There is, however, no difference in schedules between diesel and petrol, or 4x2 and 4x4 models, which makes things straightforward. Dacia offers a three-year/30,000-mile service pack that comes in at around £430.  

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