Dacia Duster - Used

Car Review

Dacia Duster, front
Dacia Duster, front
Dacia Duster, rear
Dacia Duster, side
Dacia Duster, interior
Dacia Duster, boot

IT'S not too long since the government helped kick-start new car sales with the radical £1,000 scrappage scheme.

This led to thousands of drivers who had been driving about in a motor which was more than 10 years old, suddenly being paid a whopping subsidy to scrap their old banger and jump behind the wheel of a brand new car.

Inevitably, the money ran out and come the end of March, 2010, the scheme was finally abandoned.

However, those happy days for hard-pressed motorists are still here.

Not that a new government scheme is in the offing, but there is now an ever-growing supply of used Dacia Duster SUVs on the market which offer great value for money.

The lead-in front-wheel-drive Duster in Access trim came with a 103bhp, 1.6-litre, 16-valve petrol engine mated to a five-speed gearbox and Dacia kept thing simple in order to keep the price low.

It came only in white, but had electric front windows, tinted windows, ABS and emergency brake assist, front airbags, power steering, central locking, four-speed heating and ventilation system with air recirculation, child-safe door locks and ISOFIX points.

A highly-capable selectable four-wheel-drive version featuring the same specification was also available for those requiring added traction.

Mid-range Ambiance and top-of-the-range Laureate trim levels offered a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine for superior fuel economy and lower emissions.

So it was no real surprise these were the models which appealed most to UK buyers and which are now starting to be traded in to Dacia main dealers.

These higher trim levels offered every convenience car buyers expected and demaned.

In Ambiance trim a radio/CD sound system with steering wheel controls came as standard, as did Bluetooth, AUX input and USB source. There was also the option of metallic body colours.

Other additions included fog lamps, front and rear body-coloured bumpers, chrome door handles and map pockets.

Moving up to Laureate gained alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, on-board computer, heated door mirrors, piano black central console surround and door panel inserts, air con, satin chrome door handles, door mirrors, scuff plates and roof bars.

Look carefully and you might find a model kitted out with optional electronic stability and traction control.

The diesel engine sounded somewhat gruff when under stain, but in cruise mode it did everything asked of it, thanks to a 107bhp motor which delivered 240Nm of torque from 1,750revs.

The most outstanding feature of the Duster was its off-roading capability. Even without expensive features such as hill-descent control and low-ratio gearbox, the Dacia proved its metal when I took it for a spin at the Gleneagles Hotel's off-road driving course in Scotland.

Shod only with standard 16-inch M+S tyres, with its differentials locked and electronic anti-roll system disconnected, the Duster took to the steeply-inclined tracks with the sure-footedness of a mountain goat.

Short overhangs made the Duster an extremely capable off-roader, certainly for those who take to the great outdoors for fun or the likes of farmers who require this kind of machine for normal daily chores.

Expect to pay between £3,810 and £5,380 for a 2012, 62-plate Access petrol 2WD example with around 40,000 miles on the clock, rising to between £4,710 and £6,650 for a 4WD model.

Move up to the diesel in Ambience trim and you'll have to pay between £4,885 and £6,925 for 2WD and between £5,760 and £8,170 for one with 4WD.

Those seeking out a top-spec Laurieate model will have to add between £800 and £1,100 over the Ambience prices.

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