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In-depth reviews

Dacia Duster review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Practicality is a real Dacia Duster strong point, offering space for five adults and a large boot

Size

At 4,341mm long and 1,804mm wide (without door mirrors), the Dacia Duster is just 53mm shorter and 2mm narrower than the Nissan Qashqai. The height varies depending on whether you opt for the 4x2 or 4x4 version – or indeed, if you fit roof bars – but even in its shortest guise (1,621mm), the Duster is taller than the Qashqai (1,595mm).

This is one area in which the Duster excels, especially when you consider the size of its more conventional, and similarly priced, rivals. Another advantage is the 210mm ground clearance, which will be useful in the urban jungle.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Those generous proportions translate into a good-size cabin. You step up into the Duster, rather than down like you do into a standard hatchback, which cements the SUV feel. Open the tall and wide doors to reveal a passenger compartment large enough to seat five adults.

Head, leg and kneeroom are adequate regardless of where you’re sitting, while adults could sit three abreast in the rear without a problem. Be warned: the entry-level Duster doesn’t feature a height-adjustable driver’s seat, while the passenger seat doesn’t move up or down, regardless of trim level. This might be an issue for tall people. Thankfully, the outer rear seats feature Isofix points for child seats.

Storage capacity is up 20 per cent over the previous Duster, with 28.6 litres of cabin storage available in 4x2 versions from the Comfort trim level. The 4x4 versions have to go without the under-seat storage.

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The door pockets are a decent size, with a cup-holder and storage tray in front of the chunky gearstick and another tray between the front seats. The size of the glovebox is little more than adequate, although you do get a handy tray running along the top of the dashboard in front of the passenger seat.

Boot

The Dacia Duster has a good size boot, offering far greater luggage capacity than you’d find in a hatchback of a similar price. For maximum volume, opt for the 4x2 model, which offers 445 litres with the rear seats in place or 1,623 litres with the seats folded down.

In the 4x4 models, the capacity drops to 411 litres – or 376 litres with a spare wheel fitted. With the seats folded down, this space extends to 1,614 and 1,559 litres, respectively. For context, the Nissan Qashqai offers a maximum of 1,585 litres.

The rear bench splits 60:40 on all but the entry-level Access trim, so avoid this unless you can live with three rear seats that are either entirely up or entirely down. In all cases, the seats don’t fold entirely flat, which might be an issue when carrying long and bulky items.

The loading lip is of a height you’d expect in an SUV, while the boot itself is well-proportioned, with no intrusion from the wheelarches. It’s a pretty basic boot, although a light is standard across the range.

Towing

The Duster will haul a maximum braked trailer weight of 1,400kg in 4x2 petrol guise and 1,500kg as a 4x4 or 4x2 diesel. Unbraked, it ranges from 615kg for the 1.6 petrol 4x2, up to 695kg for the 1.5 dCi 4x4.

A tow bar costs £250, or you can upgrade to the Touring pack, which adds roof bars and a front armrest to the mix.

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