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Car of the Year Awards 2023: Best small SUV for value

A small SUV's compact size mustn’t come at the expense of practicality and should be reflected by low running costs. It should ride comfortably, too, while maintaining a sense of fun...

Best small SUV for value

Dacia Duster 1.3 TCe 130 Expression

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When shopping at the affordable end of the small SUV market, you can expect to make a few compromises, but the Dacia Duster proves you needn’t fear being short changed. A quick glance at the other cars at this price point shows you why.

The Suzuki Ignis, for example – a fine small SUV in its own right – is much smaller and, with it, less spacious and practical.Yet in entry- level trim, the Duster handily undercuts it.

Dacia Duster front seats

It still looks very reasonable if you step up from the cheapest 1.0 TCe 90 petrol engine to the 1.3 TCe 130, and its extra power makes easier work of motorway cruising. We’d also go for mid-range Expression trim, which adds must-haves such as rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and an 8.0in infotainment system with smartphone integration.

The Duster is almost good enough to challenge the Volkswagen T-Roc. Alas, it’s held back by not offering key safety kit such as automatic emergency braking.

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