Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Getting in and out of the Duster is a breeze, thanks to its tall, wide front doors, and there’s a decent amount of head room up front. However, the front seats don't slide very far, so compared to many of its rivals you'll struggle for leg room if you're really long in the leg.
It’s not great for storing stuff, either. Take the front cupholder, for example: it’s simply too shallow to put anything spillable in there, and you’ll only squeeze a half-litre water bottle into each door pocket. The MG ZS trounces the Duster for storage, with deeper cupholders and larger doorbins.
As is the case with those at the front, the Duster’s rear door openings are tall, so access is easy, and the height of the seats from the ground means you don’t have to bend down too much to help kids get in and out of their child seats. You’ll just about squeeze three adult passengers across, but whoever ends up in the middle seat will have to sit splay-legged to straddle the wide central floor hump.
Overall, the Duster offers quite a lot of space in the rear and certainly feels like it'll fit into family life for most households. However, at this bargain end of the family SUV price spectrum, the MG ZS is even more accommodating.
Seat folding and flexibility
Entry-level Access Dusters have an all-or-nothing, one-piece folding rear bench, but Essential models and up have a more versatile 60/40 split-folding arrangement. That arrangement is still not as flexible as a Skoda Karoq's Varioflex rear seats, which recline, slide, split 40/20/40 and can even be removed altogether. Folding the Duster's rear seatbacks is also a faff because you have to flip up the rear seat bases first.
The front passenger seat doesn’t adjust for height or lumbar, but you can fold its backrest forward to about 45deg to allow more space for extra-long loads when the rear seats are folded.
The Duster’s boot is large by family SUV standards; there’s easily enough space to carry a week’s holiday luggage, a fold-up buggy or the spoils of an especially extensive grocery shop. Four-wheel-drive Dusters have slightly less space than front-wheel-drive models, but both fitted seven carry-on suitcases in our tests. That’s more than you’ll get into a Suzuki Vitara, which can take five, or the Nissan Qashqai, which takes six, although the Skoda Karoq can accommodate up to nine. It’s also worth knowing that the extra fuel tank of the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel has no effect on boot space, because it goes where the spare wheel would otherwise be.
With the rear seats folded as flat as they’ll go, front-wheel-drive Dusters offer 1623 litres of volume – plenty for a visit to that well-known Swedish store for some flat-pack furniture. The boot itself is also a very practical shape: wide and high, with only a small lip to load items over.
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