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In-depth reviews

Dacia Duster review - Reliability and Safety

Must try harder. A lowly safety rating and poor customer satisfaction are areas of concern for the Dacia Duster

With the budget price comes one or two compromises, but safety is something many buyers will be unwilling to sacrifice. In an age when many cars seem to receive a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, the new Dacia Duster can only muster three stars.

Not only is this the same rating it received in 2011, but two of the scores have actually decreased in the six years between the two tests. Of course, the test has become tougher, but adult and child occupant protection scores of 71 per cent and 66 per cent respectively aren’t even close to class best. Scores of 57 per cent for pedestrian safety and 37 per cent for safety assist technology are nothing to write home about, either.

Safety devices such as autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assist simply aren’t available, while blind spot monitoring is only offered on the top-spec Prestige model.

The Duster finished 72nd out of 100 cars in our latest Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, and the news doesn't get any better for the brand as a whole, with Dacia finishing rock-bottom on the list of the least reliable car manufacturers. Over a fifth of Duster owners reported a fault, with most of these electrical issues.

Warranty

The Duster’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty is merely adequate for this sector, especially considering Hyundai offers a comprehensive five-year warranty, while Kia and SsangYong offer seven years of protection.

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Still, at least the Duster is covered by an additional two-year paintwork warranty and six years of anti-corrosion cover. Extended warranties are available, providing cover for up to seven years or 100,000 miles. You’ll pay between £200 and £800, depending on the cover.

Servicing

Dacia recommends getting the Duster serviced every year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes sooner. Service Plans range from £350 for a three-year/30,000-mile deal to £950 for a four-year/60,000 plan, although this also includes an extended warranty. Monthly plans start at just £5 per month.

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