Dacia Duster deserves all the accolades it gets
Give me an amount of money and I’ll tell you the car I’d buy. Budget narrows down choices and cold, hard numbers factor immensely in the buying decision. No matter how cheap a car is it won’t sell in any volumes if it doesn’t gel with motorists. The Dacia Duster is a huge seller and favourite here where sometimes those two don’t necessarily go hand on hand. The Duster’s appeal is a lot of metal for the money, it’s the right shape - a crossover - and simply a very good car.
The all-new Duster’s cosmetic changes are most noticeable at the front and at the back where Dacia has shamelessly stolen the look of the light clusters from the Jeep Renegade. It looks more co-ordinated now with flowing transitions from front to roof to rear and sides.
The moment I sat into the Duster I was impressed. The interior’s a huge leap forward from the last model which had a bit of a cobbled together feel about it. This time it’s more harmonious and imbued with more quality. The hard plastics remain but don’t detract when framed against how much you are being asked to pay. There’s still huge space inside the very hushed cabin and the specification for my Prestige 2WD model included multi-view cameras, cruise control, climate control, blind spot technology, proper keyless entry and a Media-Nav touchscreen infotainment system all for an amazing €22,490. The only extra to pay is €520 for metallic paint. Equally remarkable is t he €17,390 entry spec model price that is anything but basic.
Most noticeable is the ride in the Duster. If you hanker for old school Renault (they own Dacia) comfort, buy a Duster. Where Renault has gotten more Germanic like in how they set up their range, with Dacia, it allows them to demonstrate their lauded mastery at road imperfection ironing. I simply adored the comfort afforded by the softer (not sloppy/wobbly) setup. The steering (no racetrack feedback here) is very light and perfect for the complementary soft ride.
The Duster is the best all-rounder on sale today when cold, real world economics play their rightful part. For €2,000 extra there’s 4WD for a car perfectly suited to Irish weather. The Duster was up against the eventual winner of 2019 Continental Irish Car of the Year, the Volvo XC40. Volvo could not produce a car for the same money and for that the Duster deserves all the accolades it deserves.
UNDER THE HOOD
Model Tested - Dacia Duster Prestige Blue dCi 115
Engine - Diesel 1,461cc, 115hp, 260Nm
0-100km/hr - 10.5s
Top Speed - 178 km/hr
Urban Fuel Consumption - 4.4 l/100kms
Price - €22,490