Duster is fine value

in refined package

Dacia Duster, front action
Dacia Duster, side action
Dacia Duster, rear action
Dacia Duster, off road 3
Dacia Duster, full front static
Dacia Duster, front static
Dacia Duster, front static 2
Dacia Duster, off road 2
Dacia Duster, off road
Dacia Duster, rear seats
Dacia Duster, boot 2
Dacia Duster, dash detail
Dacia Duster, dash detail 2
Dacia Duster, dashboard
Dacia Duster, sat nav
Dacia Duster, boot

SUCCESS hasn't gone to Dacia's head with the second generation Duster, the high value SUV that's been a solid seller in 44 countries around the world.

Not least here in the UK, where thousands of motorists have succumbed to its modestly priced charms since sales of the Renault owned and Romanian made brand started in 2013.

So the newcomer builds on the old car's down to earth practicalities in an all-new body that's still instantly recognisable as a Duster and (hoorah!) almost precisely the same modest size as before.

You can still buy a Duster for less than £10,000 too, even if the actual price is now £9,995 - a rise of £500 - and you don't even get a radio.

Hardly anyone buys the bargain basement version, most people opting for one of the posher of four Dusters on offer. No surprise, really, when even the dearest costs from a modest £14,395.

Indeed, without adding any extras (of which there aren't many and they're inexpensive anyway) the most you can pay for the latest Duster is £16,395. And that will give you a four-wheel drive machine capable of embarrassing cars many times its price off road. The 4x4 Duster is only available with petrol power and attracts the same £2,000 premium as the diesels.

The majority of Dacia Duster drivers will stick to a cheaper front-drive model and most of them will be powered by a 1.6 litre 115 horsepower petrol engine (a 1.5 litre diesel with the same output is a substantial £2,000 more).

Tested in the new and more realistic official economy programme just being introduced throughout Europe the new Duster manages a 43.5mpg average in petrol form (40.7mpg as a 4x4) and 64.2mpg with diesel power. CO2 figures are 149/158/115 g/km respectively.

Every body panel of the newcomer is freshly minted although it's very obviously a Duster, but one made to look wider and meaner with a stretched feel to the lights at the front and shallower windows to the side.

The interior feels more upmarket than before; hardly the pinnacle of luxury but solidly constructed and practical and with more storage space for the oddments of living. Boot capacity is unchanged and remains more than adequate, and a little smaller in the 4x4.

Dacia says more sound insulation and thicker front windows have actually halved the cabin noise and attention to the front seats gives the driver more height adjustment, an armrest and variable lumbar support.

Trying out a petrol powered Comfort version (£13,195) the added hush was immediately obvious, with no need to raise voices at a motorway cruising pace.

It was also obvious the Duster is no ground pawing tearaway, preferring coaxing to outright provocation and then capable of making refined progress while a driver appreciates the newly lessened steering effort and passengers notice how the car deals nicely with rougher road surfaces.

Taking a 4x4 version on a properly challenging off road course showed the car's deep seated ability in the rough and, a surprise, how these left hand drive demonstrators provided a comfortable resting space for the driver's left foot - more of a challenge in UK model right hand drivers, especially for the larger shoe'd among us.

Notable fittings in the Comfort spec'd Duster include an easily read satellite navigation system, trip computer (which showed 42.2mpg after an 80 mile drive), heated and electrically adjusted door mirrors, electric windows all round, rear camera, air conditioning and alloy wheels.

Add £495 for Desert Orange paint and you'll have a car that stands out for more than simple value.


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