Dacia Duster 2020 - An SUV for a bargain price
The Dacia Duster is a cracking SUV, with great looks and styling, along with a selection of technical goodies as you move up the trim levels. The new Dacia Duster is the second-generation model and comes with a host of upgrades and also a much higher level of quality products and materials than in any previous models. The Duster is bargain-priced, cheaper than most small city cars. In fact, it is the cheapest SUV currently available in the UK.
Dacia is a Romanian car manufacturer founded back in 1966 with one of its first production cars being the Dacia 1100 and 1100S. Over the years the Dacia became hugely popular throughout Romania as their mission was to create robust and modern family cars, at a cost which made them available to everyone in Romania. As the company grew, Dacia began exporting their vehicles across the globe, where they quickly became popular, thanks to their design, styling and value for money.
The Renault Group began buying the Dacia company and by 2003 owned 99.3% of the company. Renault invested heavily in the Dacia brand spending nearly 500million Euros modernising their manufacturing facilities in Romania.
The new generation Dacia Duster is currently available in a choice of five trim levels Access, Essential, Comfort, Prestige and Techroad, which is a Limited Edition model. The Access trim is the entry-level model and costs just £10,995 mrrp. However, you don't get very much equipment for this money so it would be worth upgrading to one of the higher trim levels.
Continue reading the yoauto review to help you decide if the Dacia Duster is the right car for you. If the Duster doesn't tick all of your boxes, then don't forget to visit our Used Car buying page, where you will find thousands of cars available across the UK at excellent prices.
Engines, Power and Performance
There is a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel, along with either a five or six-speed manual transmission. There is currently no automatic transmission option available, but Dacia has plans to release one in the near future. Some engine choices have the option to choose either a FWD or 4WD system.
The entry-level engine is a 1-litre petrol unit, badged TCe 100 and is the only model to be paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The 1-litre engine generates 100hp and 260Nm of torque and will hit 0-62mph in 12.5secs and is only available with FWD.
The mid-level petrol unit is the TCe 130, which is a 1.3-litre unit creating 130hp and 240Nm of torque paired with a six-speed manual transmission. It will go from 0-62mph in 11.1secs and is only available with FWD.
The most powerful petrol engine is the TCe 150 and uses the same engine as the TCe 130 but tweaked to add more power. It now produces 150hp and 250Nm of torque enabling it to get from 0-62mph in 10.4secs. Again, the engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, but you have the option of choosing FWD or Dacia's 4WD system.
The only diesel engine on offer is the Blue DCi 115, a 1.5-litre unit developing 115hp and 260Nm of torque and will hit 0-62mph in 10.5secs. It is coupled to a six-speed manual transmission and can be chosen with FWD or 4WD.
Both entry-level Access and next level Essential trims only have the entry-level TCe 100 petrol engine available to them. The higher trim levels have a more extensive choice of engines and drive systems to choose from. For me, the TCe 130 is a good choice, as it gives you enough power to feel comfortable when overtaking or just cruising around town or on country roads. If you are thinking of having a Duster with 4WD you won't' be disappointed, it performs extremely well in tricky situations, much better than expected and I would suggest works best with the diesel engine.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the new Dacia Duster is much better than in the original model. Of course, it's not up to the premium standards of BMW, Audi or Mercedes etc. but you can't expect it to be given its cheap price tag. Yes, there is a large number of hard plastics, some of which are not the most pleasant, but keep in mind the equivalent premium brand would probably set you back more than three times what the Dacia will cost you.
The actual dashboard design and flow is very good. It's stylish and feels more practical and a better quality build than previous models. Dacia has used less expensive materials but given the cabin of the Duster a semi-premium feel.
I believe you should avoid the entry-level Access model though, as the standard equipment list is skimpier than a sexy piece of negligee. You don't even get air-con or a simple radio!!
Choose one of the higher-spec trims, and you will be surprised with just how much equipment you start to get as standard. These include a decent colour touchscreen infotainment system featuring smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and as standard in Comfort trim and above, as well as sat-nav and parking cameras.
You would find it difficult to find an equally priced town car, such as the Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio, with the same amount of equipment as the Dacia Duster, and that's not including all the extra space and practicality from it being an SUV.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The Dacia Duster is a spacious and practical family SUV, with a decent amount of legroom and headroom in the front. In the rear, space is a little more restricted, especially legroom for taller passengers, even more so if the front seats have been slid back. There are several storage pockets throughout the cabin such as a decent glovebox, door-pockets and front cupholder (not very deep though).
The boot space is very generous with a capacity of 478-litres (dropping to 467-litres if you have chosen a 4WD model). If you fold the rear seats down, capacity climbs to 1623-litres in the FWD models and 1614-litres in the 4WD models.
The Dacia Duster only scored a 3-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, an area they will certainly need to improve on in the coming years. There are very few safety assists and features as standard in the lower end models, but not a tremendous amount in the higher models either. It is probably the most disappointing area/category off all as although Dacia are building a budget car. They should invest in better safety equipment as this is a car which will be purchased by families with children.
Some of the safety equipment you do get is ABS, multiple airbags and emergency brake assist. Top-spec Prestige gets hill start assist and blind-spot warning along with several other additional safety features but still not as much as most of its rivals.
The Dacia Duster is a great, cheap family SUV, perfect for those who are on a tight budget. It is a more than capable car, whether on the tarmac or going onto the muddy tracks of the countryside. For a little over £16k, you can get the top-spec Prestige model which comes with all the trimmings like; colour touchscreen, sat-nav, climate control and a multiview camera. To put into context, £16K is only a few hundred pounds more than the entry-level Ford Fiesta and a few thousand pounds cheaper than the entry-level Seat Ateca!