The exterior of a yellow Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster review

When it comes to value for money, the Dacia Duster is one of the best cars you can buy. With loads of space and practical features, it also has low running costs and low tax and insurance.

Pros

  • More spacious than many larger SUVs
  • Extremely good value
  • Very economical to run

Cons

  • The interior is quite basic
  • Engines can be noisy
  • Isn't as comfortable as rivals

Summary

“An affordable SUV that offers lots of interior space.”

The Dacia Duster is a great everyday family car. It’s hassle-free, reliable and costs less than its alternatives.

It looks like an off-roader with its high driving position, so you have a clear view of the road ahead. It also has good off-road ability, which means it can handle a dirt track with ease.

There’s loads of interior space, which is great whether you’re loading up the car for a family holiday or carrying the mountain bike to hit the trails at the weekend.

The rear exterior of a gold Dacia Duster

What’s the interior like?

“Incredibly spacious with hard-wearing plastics, the Duster can handle day-to-day family life.”

The Duster has all the basic equipment and simple functionality. Higher-spec models include features such as a touchscreen infotainment system and air con. There are also a few nice touches like aluminium trim inserts. 

There’s an impressive amount of space when compared to more expensive models such as the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti. All passengers will have enough space, even the person sat in the middle seat will be comfortable. 

Standard boot space is 475 litres which is enough space for a number of large suitcases or your dog. This can also be expanded to 1,636 litres which is more than 120 litres larger than the Nissan.

It was updated in 2017, which saw the interior improve with a number of benefits, including stylish air con controls, trim components and dashboard finishes.

The interior of a Dacia Duster with steering wheel and dashboard in shot

What’s it like to drive?

“Big on value and impressive to drive.”

The Duster has manual gearboxes that are easy to use, while the dual-clutch automatic (available on the two-wheel drive diesel) will make life even easier.

The all-wheel drive models don’t differ much on price and provide extra grip as well as off-road ability. This is useful in the winter months or if you live in a rural area. It’s an easy-to-use system with a simple dial to switch driving modes.

It handles bumpy roads well and cruises nicely on the motorway, but it can be a little noisy at times, especially on the diesel models. The steering is good and the engines are responsive, particularly the dCi diesels. However, go with the petrol versions if you spend most of your time in town.

Fascia shot of the Dacia Duster

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Brilliant value for money to buy and run.”

The Dacia is super low cost to buy and offers excellent value in the higher models. The 1.5 dCi diesel engine delivers great fuel efficiency of up to 64 mpg in the post-2017 model, while the 1.0-litre petrol delivers up to 52 mpg. 

Insurance costs are lower than all the Duster’s rivals with road tax rates being similar. The Duster is inexpensive to service and maintain and there are a number of extended warranty options available.

The side exterior of a gold Dacia Duster

How reliable and safe is it?

“It has a good reputation for reliability with the best safety found in the latest version.”

Reliability is generally good with most issues reported being fairly minor. 

The Duster received three stars for safety from the Euro NCAP agency. The updated version scored better for pedestrian protection and safety systems.

Engine shot of the Dacia Duster

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy  - Blue dCi 115

Best for family - Prestige Blue dCi 115

Best for fun - 1.3 TCe 150

Unless you’re looking for the really basic models, then consider Ambiance versions or higher. This means that it’ll be more stylish and have electric windows as well as a DAB radio with USB connectivity. The Essential trim is a good place to start in the latest model. The Prestige is the range-topper and worth looking at because it has the touchscreen infotainment system. You might find it fitted as an option on other used models too. 

Diesel versions are the most popular because they deliver good performance and excellent economy. If you’re planning on doing most of your driving in town, look at petrol versions.

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