The Dacia Duster is a remarkable machine especially when you consider what you are getting for your money. This is a versatile and practical SUV. It may not have all of the bells and whistles that you get from some of Dacia’s rivals, but what you do get is a good SUV with competitive space, and all with a very reasonable price tag. The Duster is available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The 4x4 abilities within the Dacia Duster are good and it will prove more than capable when it comes to tackling slippy and icy roads in Ireland.
All Dusters available in Ireland come with a 1.5 litre dCi 110 diesel engine. This offers 109 bhp, and it’s powerful enough from lower speeds – which means that the engine doesn’t have to work too hard. The Duster offers 0-100 km/h in approximately 12 seconds.
The ride of the Dacia Duster can be sloppy. The suspension is not excellent and things can get bouncy. Cornering also creates a lot of body roll. But again, this is where price comes into the story. You get what you pay for and provided you’re not pushing the Duster too hard into corners, then this body roll becomes manageable. The more expensive SUVs in the same segment are far better handlers.
The diesel engine is loud and the added vibrations from accelerating means that this car is not too refined. The interior houses a lot of cheap plastics that are basic. If you pay for optional extras or go for the higher “Signature Prime” trim, you will find softer furnishings like a leather steering wheel and rhodium cloth upholstery. The “Alternative” trim comes with 16 inch steel wheels, whereas “Signature” offers 16 inch alloys.
As previously mentioned, the plastics within the Duster feel cheap but Dacia does try hard to impress by adding some chrome details around the air vents. While the stereo does look dated, it is simple to use and as standard you will find USB and Bluetooth connectivity. After speaking to some Duster owners it is clear that many are happy with their purchase, but with that said they do mention interior rattles, and in one case they mention screws within the interior coming loose and falling out. The ride height in the Duster is very pleasing and to add to that drivers of them probably feel good about the low price they paid for the vehicle.
The facelifted Dacia Duster made more of an effort when it came to safety, but at the moment they still hold only three stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. A lot of the equipment within the Duster comes directly from Renault and Nissan, and over time they have proven reliable. Unfortunately the Duster doesn’t have all of the safety equipment that you would find in rival models. When the car was facelifted the manufacturer added electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.
By now we have established that the Dacia offers a no-frills range of cars, but when it comes to practicality they are doing really well. Remember, the car was designed to be practical instead of flash and comfortable. The interior is spacious to the front and rear, and visibility is perfect. There are plenty of pockets around the inside and the boot space is an ample 475 litres.