New Dacia Duster

even better value

Dacia Duster, 2018, front, action
Dacia Duster, 2018, front, static
Dacia Duster, 2018, side, action
Dacia Duster, 2018, rear, action
Dacia Duster, 2018, rear
Dacia Duster, 2018, interior
Dacia Duster, 2018, off road, water
Dacia Duster, 2018, off road
Dacia Duster, 2018, off road, slope
Dacia Duster, 2018, rear seats
Dacia Duster, 2018, side panel
Dacia Duster, 2018, rear lights
Dacia Duster, 2018, boot

‘ANOTHER one drives a Duster' has been a snappy phrase for Dacia and now there's a new model on the way, still priced from under £10,000.

Value for money has been the name of the game for the Romanian arm of Renault since it first came to the UK five years ago and while the new Dacia costs £500 more than its predecessor it remains the most affordable full-blown SUV on the market.

The latest Duster may look familiar but it's all-new - every body panel has been changed - and looks right up to date, appearing wider and more purposeful.

There's also more kit on board in the form of keyless entry, automatic headlamps, climate control and a multi-view camera system, although you'll have to splash out a little more to get those.

It is being introduced with just two engines on offer, a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, both developing 115bhp.

With four trim levels as well as two and four-wheel-drive set ups to go at there are ten models in the new range with prices currently topping out at £16,395.

For that you get a petrol 4x4 or a two-wheel-drive diesel and a car that lacks for little in this day and age.

Having just sampled the new front-wheel-drive Duster in top but one Comfort grade and powered by the SCe petrol engine it costs from £13,195 - and for what you get it's a bargain in anyone's book.

Equipment includes a seven-inch touchscreen slightly angled towards the driver, sat nav and a rear view camera as well as a smartly finished interior and new side curtain airbags to boost safety.

There's also a foldaway armrest on the driver's seat, air conditioning, a seven function trip computer and an eco mode to help on the economy front.

What impresses is how quiet the new model is when on the road and noise insulation is of the highest order with additional sound proofing and thicker glass.

Electronic power steering, heated door mirrors and full Bluetooth connectivity as well as voice control are other features and there's nothing cheap or shabby about the finish on the new-look interior.

Officially the car is rated at 43.5mpg and we managed to notch up a credible 42 to the gallon without trying and the engine, mated to a five speed manual box, felt well suited to the car.

Emissions are 149g/km and with a 0 to 60 acceleration of 11.9 seconds and a theoretical maximum of 107mph it will handle motorway work with ease - and pull a trailer of up to 1.4 tonnes.

The cabin is roomy, there's underseat storage on the front passenger side and boot space ranges from 445 to 1,623 litres on the two-wheel-drive model. On 4x4 versions it's slightly less at 376 litres to accommodate the extra gubbins which drive the rear axle and an emergency spare wheel, in lieu of a tyre repair kit.

Off road the Duster is a capable performer as was demonstrated on a technical course where we put a 4x4 diesel version to the test using its hill descent control and switchable four-wheel-drive set up to the full.

At 14ft 3ins long it is a proper sized SUV and comes with more than eight inches of ground clearance. Wading depth is just over a foot and the Duster has a good approach angle of 30 degrees and 34 at the back.

Skid plates front and rear, a neat black separator between the front wing and the doors and rear lamp clusters that are reminiscent of a Jeep are neat touches that make this the classiest looking Dacia to date.

It's little surprise that the Duster has found a loyal following in Britain as savvy buyers grew to appreciate its all-round abilities - not to mention the price.

The new model with its sharper looks, better interior and impressive performance, can only build on that.

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