Best cars & vans

Used Car of the Year 2023: Dacia Duster

The Dacia Duster is our 2023 Used Car of the Year thanks to its bargain price, frugal engines and impressive amount of space

Dacia Duster - Used Car of the Year 2023

Used Car of the Year 2023: Dacia Duster

There are many used car bargains that make an excellent case for scooping our overall prize, but among the vast range of talent, one car stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Dacia Duster is a bargain even when it’s brand new, and things only get more tempting on the used market.

Key to its desirability is its simplicity. It ditches many of the pretences of other compact SUVs to focus on the things that really matter the most: practicality, comfort and dependability. The cabin isn’t going to blow anyone away with its style or finish, but at a time when many rivals splash shiny black plastics and fake carbon fibre inside to give a thin veneer of a premium product, there’s an honesty about the Duster that’s hard not to love. There’s loads of space, too; at 4.3 metres long, it’s hardly a leviathan, but it has the cabin and boot space to compete with bulkier alternatives.

We’re big fans of the torquey diesel engines – a great match for the Duster’s relaxing character – while the petrols are smooth and willing. Not only that, but if you need genuine off-road ability, then roughly one in 12 used examples come with four-wheel drive.

With prices starting at around £8,000, in our eyes the Duster is a bargain that’s impossible to ignore.

Silver: Kia Ceed

Versatility is one of the key strengths of the Ceed, playing a big part in it taking this year’s runner-up spot. There are several bodystyles: a spacious workhorse, a rakish wagon and a humble hatchback, so buyers will be able to find a model to suit. Equipment levels are fantastic, build quality is great, and all versions of the Mk3 model still have some of their seven-year new-car warranty left.

Bronze: ​​BMW 3 Series

Few vehicles on sale today fit the cliche of ‘all the car you’ll ever need’ better than the BMW 3 Series. Available as both a dynamic saloon or a spacious estate, it’s fantastic to drive, comfortable and frugal on a long run, and packed with tech. With so many powertrains to choose from – petrol, diesels, plug-in hybrids and even the thunderous M3 – there’s something for everyone.

Used Car Awards 2023 - all the winners

Used Car of the Year 2023Dacia Duster
Best used city car 2023Volkswagen up!
Best used supermini 2023Ford Fiesta
Best used compact family hatch 2023Kia Ceed
Best used family car 2023Vauxhall Insignia
Best used estate car 2023Skoda Octavia Estate
Best used small SUV 2023Citroen C3 Aircross
Best used mid-size SUV 2023Dacia Duster
Best used large SUV 2023Kia Sorento
Best used compact executive 2023BMW 3 Series
Best used executive car 2023Volvo S90
Best used luxury car 2023BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe
Best used MPV 2023Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Best used coupe 2023Audi A5 Coupe
Best used convertible 2023MINI Convertible
Best used hot hatchback 2023Honda Civic Type R
Best used sports car 2023Porsche 911
Best used hybrid car 2023BMW 330e
Best used electric car 2023Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Best used van 2023Toyota Proace
Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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