The Duster provides the raised driving position that crossover buyers love. The dashboard is fairly user-friendly, with simple rotary heater dials and clearly labelled stereo buttons.
Some people may struggle to find a comfortable driving position, though, because the steering wheel adjusts for height only, and the seat controls are fiddly. Access versions also miss out on driver’s seat-height adjustment, although the steering wheel does adjust for height.
One of the areas where you can tell that the Duster is built to a price, is the seats. They’re adequate but not as supportive or accommodating as those in many of the Dacia’s rivals. There’s no front centre armrest, either. You have to buy the optional Touring Pack for that.
Dacia Duster visibility
The Duster’s elevated driving position helps to give a good view forwards, but upswept rear windows and thick rear pillars limit over-the-shoulder vision slightly.
Due to the Duster’s limited equipment list you can forget about the kind of visibility aids you get with many rivals – there are no automatic lights or wipers, no cornering headlights and no heated windscreen. Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors are reserved for top-spec Laureate models.
Dacia Duster infotainment
The Duster is one of a handful of cars that has so little in the way of equipment, it’s actually quite easy to learn and use those few features it does have. The entry-level model doesn’t have a radio, so there are a minimum of controls to acquaint yourself with, but they are reasonably well placed and easy to use.
Mid-spec cars gain a user-friendly Bluetooth system and a radio/CD player, which has straightforward controls on the centre console, as well as mounted on the steering column. There are USB and aux-in sockets for media players, but these are mounted within the stereo on the centre console, which means wires are left dangling inconveniently.
Top-spec Laureate trim has an on-board computer that displays useful information. It’s also the only trim that allows you to specify the optional touchscreen sat-nav system. However, it’s mounted rather too low for comfort but it at least has bold, clear graphics.
Dacia Duster build quality
Wherever you look, there’s no escaping the fact that the Duster appears to be built to a low price. It lacks many of the cosmetic touches we’ve come to expect from modern cars. Plastics look unappealing, the carpets are insubstantial and the trim is, frankly, unappealing.
The switchgear has a dated, unsophisticated feel, too. Much of it comes from long-defunct Renault models so it’s no surprise that, in many ways, the Duster feels like a car at least 10 years behind the times.
If you can look beyond all that, however, the Duster feels solidly screwed together and sturdy. In fact, this is a car that’s sold globally and is built to withstand tough treatment in countries where roads are nowhere near as well surfaced as those in the UK.