Motoring

Motoring review: Dacia does it again with Duster II

Dacia has enhanced and updated its big-selling Duster SUV model. This latest version features refreshed design elements, up-to-date features and technology, all while continuing to offer the same robustness, comfort, and value-for-money which it is famed for.

Launched in Ireland in 2013, and available across Europe since 2010, the Duster quickly earned a reputation for delivering all the benefits of an SUV at a city car price. With shockingly affordable value at its core, the Duster has shaken-up the SUV segment, having broken the rules to become a unique offering for consumers. With more than two million vehicles sold, the Duster has been the number one car for retail sales in its class in Europe’s SUV market since 2019.

Trailblazer Spirit

True to its heritage, the new Duster is still a family SUV with a trailblazer spirit. Its captivating design has evolved, especially in respect of its lights and grille, which give it an even stronger personality. Stand-out exterior features include a redesigned front end, Y-shaped ‘brand lighting’, and stylish 17” alloy wheels (standard or optional — model dependent). The new Duster adopts the style features of Dacia’s refreshed visual identity first seen on the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway. New light units include Y-shaped daytime running lights, a new shape that also inspired the new 3D chromed radiator grille. However, not only is the new Duster more stylish than before, but it is also more efficient thanks to its enhanced aerodynamic performance.

New Levels of Comfort

Inside, the new Duster is fitted with a high centre console with a retracting armrest, and offers a choice of two multimedia systems with a new eight-inch screen, while a dual-clutch automatic EDC gearbox is available for the first time. In addition to the Dacia Plug & Music audio equipment (radio, MP3, USB, and Bluetooth), two new user-friendly multimedia systems are available: Media Display and Media Nav. These are accessed through the new centrally mounted touchscreen on the dashboard. Equipped with new upholstery, new headrest design, and a high centre console, the new Duster takes comfort to the next level with a more inviting cabin than before.

Engine

The new Duster has a complete range of ‘Euro 6D Full’ engines. The line-up includes a Bi-Fuel (petrol-LPG) unit with 100bhp, and petrol engines (TCe) with 90bhp or 150bhp (1.0-litre and 1.3-litre capacity respectively), while a 1.5-litre (Blue dCi) turbo-diesel engine with 115bhp also features. A six-speed manual transmission comes as standard across the new Duster range, with the exception of the TCe 150 engine which is available exclusively with a six-speed EDC transmission. All engine and trim levels in the new Duster come in front-wheel drive guise, while diesel engine variants are available with the option of four-wheel drive (4WD) for times when the going gets tough. With its high ground clearance, new tyres and specific 4×4 Monitor the new Duster 4WD is at home on both the road and off the beaten track.

Test Car

My test car was a Dacia Duster Comfort Blue dCi 115 2WD, which was finished in stylish Slate Blue metallic paint with contrasting 16” silver alloy wheels.

Producing 115bhp and 260Nm of torque, this latest-generation four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine enables the Duster to sprint from 0-100km/h in 10.2-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 181km/h (where permitted).

The engine feels punchier than before thanks to an overboost function that delivers torque in an orderly fashion. Overall driving dynamics are impressive, with light steering allowing the Duster to be parked with ease, while the raised ride height and seating position makes getting into and out of the Duster a fuss-free exercise.

Official WLTP fuel consumption figures are quoted at 4.9l/100kms on a combined driving cycle, and this is not too far off the 5.1l/100kms that I achieved during my time with the car in real-world driving. This outstanding fuel economy, along with annual road tax of just €200, will ensure that motoring costs are kept to a minimum, with no compromise on comfort or drivability.

The spacious cabin in the Duster ensures excellent leg, head, and elbow room for up to five occupants, while a boot capacity of 445-litres behind the rear seats is big enough to transport multiple items of luggage, sports equipment or other family-related cargo.

Pricing

The new Dacia Duster is a truly remarkable value-for-money SUV that offers excellent comfort, refined engines and all the space a growing family needs. Pricing for the new Dacia Duster starts at just €21,190 (ex-works) or from €182 per month through Dacia Bank.




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