Dacia Duster long-term test review: report 5

The new Dacia Duster is our favourite family SUV in the lowest price point. So, does it exceed expectations of a £15k car?...

Duster infotainment

The car: Dacia Duster TCe 130 4x2 Comfort Run by: Kris Culmer, sub-editor

Why it’s here: To prove that you need spend no more than £15,000 to get a genuinely practical and pleasant-to-drive family SUV

Needs to: Intelligently offset the aspects that are inferior to the equivalents of pricier rivals by being up to scratch mechanically and dynamically, comfortable and respectable inside

Price £14,395 Price as tested £15,040 Mileage 7443 Official fuel economy 41.5mpg (WLTP) Test economy 42.3mpg Options Desert Orange metallic paint (£495), spare wheel (£150)

6 August – Infotainment

Most new cars come with a touchscreen these days, but if you go for the very cheapest Dacia Duster, the Access, you don’t even get a radio, just the provisions to fit your own. Essential, meanwhile, gets an old-fashioned head unit.

That’s one of the main reasons I chose Comfort spec, because this gets you a 7.0in infotainment touchscreen, replete with sat-nav, Bluetooth, USB connection and a DAB radio. This is quite old-school in its layout, but I actually like that, because it means it’s simple to operate. The home page contains a series of large, coloured panels for each function.

Duster media stalk

The same goes for the radio – I can set up panels for my favourite stations – while the Bluetooth link to my iPod simply displays the song name and artist in large font. Do you need any more? The quality of the six-speaker stereo could be better – even speech radio is somewhat mangled – but then you have to remember how cheap the Dacia Duster is.

In fact, the only price-appropriate criticisms I have are the location of the USB port above the screen, rather than below it, meaning you have to dangle your wire across it, and the stalk for the media controls; having buttons on the steering wheel is much better.

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