Cost & verdict

Dacia Duster review

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Dacia Duster
Review continues below...
9 Dec 2015 15:29 | Last updated: 3 Oct 2018 14:43

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Dacia Duster 4x4 running costs

The entry point to the Duster is staggeringly low, and if you blush at the mere thought of haggling, you’d feel right at home at a Dacia showroom. Unlike almost all of its rivals, Dacia operates a strict no-haggle policy, so you won’t get any discounts. Even so, the Duster undercuts similarly sized rivals by thousands of pounds and residual values are excellent.

Running costs are low if you avoid the thirstier petrol engine. The diesel unit is reasonably efficient and, given its official combined fuel consumption is 64.2mpg, you should easily average around 50mpg if you drive it responsibly. Four-wheel-drive models are considerably more expensive to buy and also bring higher fuel and tax costs.

The Duster boasts particularly competitive insurance group ratings that, again, help to keep running costs down. Dacia also offers some very cheap PCP rates so, all in all, the Duster is among the cheapest cars to own in its class.

Dacia Duster 4x4 equipment

When you look at the bargain-basement price, you probably won’t be surprised that entry-level Access trim is poorly equipped. On the positive side, it has electric front windows, remote central locking and the same safety kit as other Dusters, but there’s no radio, driver’s seat height adjustment, USB input or covers for the steel wheels. Metallic paint is optional on all but entry-level models.

It’s definitely worth upgrading to Essential trim – our favourite – because it adds all of the above, plus air conditioning, 60/40-split rear seats and steering wheel stereo controls.

Comfort trim is, naturally, much better equipped – but it’s a fair bit more expensive, too. This adds electric rear windows, alloy wheels, smarter interior and exterior trim, front seatback map pockets, cruise control and heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors.

Prestige features part-leather and heated front seats, climate control, rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav.

Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster 4x4 reliability

Dacia is owned by Renault, so many of the parts are tried and tested items from the French company. That's probably why Dacia finished a respectable 19th out of 32 manufacturers in our most recent reliability survey; believe it or not, that’s higher than Renault.

The Duster’s standard warranty is an unremarkable three years or 60,000 miles. Extended five-year/60,000 mile and seven-year/100,000-mile warranties are affordable options.

Dacia Duster 4x4 safety and security

Safety is one of the areas where the Duster falls well off the pace. It has six airbags (including curtain ones) as standard across the range, but there’s no option to have automatic emergency braking, while blindspot monitoring is only available on top-of-the-range Prestige trim. That's partly why the Duster scored a very disappointing three stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests.

Thatcham Research has not tested any Dacia for resistance to forced entry and theft. Although the steel wheels on the two cheapest trim levels are unlikely to attract thieves, it’s disappointing that an alarm isn’t standard.

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Verdict

The Dacia Duster is not the most sophisticated car to drive, but it’s spacious, practical and incredibly affordable

  • A whole lot of car for your money
  • Spacious interior and boot
  • Available with four-wheel drive
  • So-so refinement and handling
  • Interior looks and feels cheap
  • Disappointing Euro NCAP safety rating
There are 4 trims available for the Duster 4x4. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
Essential
This trim does what it says on the tin. Air conditioning is the biggest bonus over Access, while height adjustment for the driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a radio with steering wh...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£11,587
Average Saving £108
View Trim
Comfort
You’re being asked to fork out a fairly steep premium for this upgrade, but you do get plenty of goodies, including alloy wheels and quite a few body embellishments to help make your Duster look mo...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£13,270
Average Saving £125
View Trim
Prestige
There’s no doubting that this is the swankiest-looking Duster in the line-up but, at this kind of money, it is starting to invade the territory of more illustrious brands. That said, you do get cli...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£14,557
Average Saving £138
View Trim
Access
Entry-level trim keeps the price low but it’s very hard to recommend because it’s desperately short on kit. Electric front windows, remote central locking and the same safety kit as other Dusters a...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£9,904
Average Saving £91
View Trim