In-depth reviews

Dacia Duster review - Interior, design and technology

The Dacia Duster looks better than before, and the interior quality is up a notch, but the cabin remains uninspiring

The second-generation Dacia Duster looks far more upmarket than its predecessor. It’s an evolution of the old car, albeit with a sharper, more muscular look, but not a single body panel has been carried over.

It stands out from the glut of compact SUVs courtesy of neat three-section LED daytime running lights, natty four-section rear lights, and a sculpted bonnet. The Comfort and Prestige models are given more street appeal courtesy of contrasting front and rear skid plates and alloy wheels. On the Prestige model, the wheels are 17-inch ‘diamond-cut’.

Things are much improved on the inside, too, with seats that are more comfortable than before, reduced cabin noise when on the move and a good range of hard-wearing plastics. It’s not what you’d call luxurious, but it’s hard to find fault with the build quality, especially considering the price point.

Overall, the cabin design is more functional than it is inspiring, although the new ‘piano-style’ controls below the air vents is a nice touch. The infotainment screen sits 74mm higher than before, which makes it easier to view on the move.

The entry-level Access model looks decidedly basic inside, although the cabin in the more expensive trim levels is lifted by accents around the centre console, chrome door handles and chrome vent surrounds. Perceived quality is enhanced on the Comfort and Prestige models courtesy of a chrome gear lever insert and a soft-feel steering wheel. Both models also feature improved upholstery. There's also the new SE Twenty model which adds 17-inch 'diamond-cut' alloy wheels, a multi-view camera and a blind spot detection system, while the Techroad limited edition offers Prestige levels of equipment, but with unique exterior and interior trim.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Access model is either refreshingly basic or a little outmoded, depending on your point of view. There’s not even a radio as standard, although you do get pre-wiring for an aftermarket radio and speaker system of your choice. Given that units cost less than £100, this could be a good option if you want the cheapest Duster, but couldn’t live without a radio.

Moving up to the Essential trim level adds an FM/AM/DAB tuner with steering wheel controls, along with Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port. Comfort, SE Twenty, Prestige and Techroad models come with Dacia’s familiar seven-inch MediaNav system, which features sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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