Dacia Duster Black review

Dacia Duster Black gets matt paint and lots of extra kit

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.0 out of 5

In its basic form, the Dacia Duster is the cheapest crossover you can buy, and comes built down to a price. So no matter how many fancy additions you fit, it still won’t feel like an upmarket product. The interior and refinement fall some way short of the best, too, and it’s unforgiveable that you pay £19,575, yet don’t get air-con or electric rear windows.

The Dacia Duster Black has seen the car manufacturer put aside its usual budget approach - as with the £5,995 Sandero - in favour of a luxury SUV with lots of extra kit.

Based on a show car from July’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Duster Black costs £5,880 on top of the usual price for a mid-spec Ambiance or a top-spec Laureate model. We’re driving the former fitted with the only engine option – a 109bhp 1.5-litre diesel.

You get a black vinyl wrap, leather seats, 18-inch alloys, plus a sat-nav and infotainment system with hi-res touchscreen. We like how the latter declutters the centre console, but it’s fiddly to use. Worst of all, though, is the fact the Black Ambiance doesn’t come with air-con – for that you’ll have to upgrade to the Laureate, which costs another £1,600.

There are no mechanical updates, so you get the same basic driving experience as any other Duster. That means decent low-down torque, reasonable refinement and a comfortable ride. The 18-inch alloys do add some firmness, though, and unless you’re heading off-road we’d say go for the £17,480 front-wheel-drive version rather than the £19,575 four-wheel-drive car we tested.

The main selling point of the Duster has always been its bargain basement pricing, so the £5,880 worth of purely cosmetic upgrades make little sense. A similarly priced Nissan Qashqai with the same engine and optional four-wheel drive offers more kit, more comfort and a nicer interior.

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