- Excellent value for money
- Dated interior
- Entry-level models are sparsely equipped
- Disappointing NCAP results
Budget family SUV with genuine off-road capability
The Dacia Duster is one of the best value family cars currently on the market. First introduced in 2012, the Duster offers the practicality of an SUV, at city car prices. Entry-level models cost less than £9000, whilst even the top-spec models are much cheaper than entry-level rivals. It’s not a poor quality car either, as Dacia is owned by Renault. The Duster is spacious, practical, and comfortable, which is all most family buyers will need. It’s not as classy as more expensive SUVs, but if you’re after a solid, reliable family car, as Dacia’s motto suggests- “you do the maths”.
Sturdy, spacious, though not the most stylish
The Duster is above all else designed to be solid and practical. The cabin is therefore not the prettiest, nor of the highest quality, but it’s well screwed together. It’s also spacious, and there’s plenty of equipment if you choose the right trim.
The dashboard design of the Duster is reminiscent of cars built a decade ago. It’s certainly not contemporary, but the layout is simple, and controls are well-placed and easy to use. There’s no soft-touch plastics that you’d find on more expensive cars, but the slightly cheap-looking plastics do feel solid and built to last. It’s not an interior that’s going to win any design awards, but it’s without doubt practical.
Storage space is one of the Duster’s biggest selling points. There’s plenty of space in the cabin, with lots of neat cubbyholes for bits and bobs. The 475 litre boot capacity is also impressive, as it’s more substantial than all of its closest rivals, whilst it’s also far bigger than any boot that you’d find in a car in the Duster’s price range.
Equipment levels in the Duster depend upon which trim you choose to go for. The entry-level Access trim comes with very little equipment, but that’s understandable when you consider its bargain price. Most family buyers will want to go for the Laureate trim, which includes everything you’ll ever need. Dusters in this spec come with electric windows, air-con, alloy wheels, cruise control, electric mirrors, and colour-coded exterior trim.
All in all the inside of the Duster is a pretty impressive package. It’s certainly not prestigious, but it’s solid, dependable, spacious, and generously equipped if you choose the right model. The Dacia Duster really is an exceptional bargain buy!
Comfortable, and capable off-road in 4WD models
Most family SUVs aren’t particularly fun to drive, and the Duster is no different. In 2WD form the Duster feels very old-school, with lots of body lean in the corners, and very little feedback from the steering. Nevertheless, it feels very safe and sensible, as there’s plenty of grip through the corners. 4WD models are even more grippy, and they’re also genuinely capable off-road, whilst also adding extra security for ice-laden winter roads.
Comfort is paramount in the Duster, and in some regards it’s very successful. The soft suspension copes especially well with city driving, ironing out loose road surfaces, potholes, and speed bumps with relative ease. At speeds things aren’t quite as composed, but the ride is never uncomfortable. There is however quite a bit of road, wind, and engine noise at speed, so the Duster isn’t the most refined motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Duster come in two guises. Entry-level petrol models come with a five-speed manual transmission, that does its job reasonably well, though it doesn’t offer the sharpest of gear shifts. Higher spec models come with a six-speed manual that increases flexibility, especially for drivers who regularly travel out of town.
One decent petrol, and an impressive diesel
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Duster, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s one of each in the range, with the diesel being the pick of the two.
If it’s power that you want from your Duster, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the engines on offer in the range. Family SUVs don’t need to be rapid however, so this won’t pose too much of a problem for most buyers. The most powerful engine in the range is the diesel-powered 1.5 dCi unit, which produces 107bhp, and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds. The 1.6 litre petrol isn’t far behind, though it needs to be revved harder.
Eco-friendly buyers will be reasonably impressed with the engines in the Duster range. The 1.5 dCi diesel is again the best option, as it produces 130g/km of CO2 emissions. That’s definitely not class-leading, but it’s about average for a car in the SUV class, so buyers shouldn’t feel too guilty. This model is also the best option for money-savers, as up to 56.5mpg can be achieved. Combine this impressive fuel efficiency, and relatively low tax band, and you’ve got a great value family SUV.
Both engines in the Duster range are well-suited to the car’s capabilities. The diesel is undoubtedly the better of the two engines however, as it’s quicker, more economical, and better for the environment. It is slightly more expensive, but it’ll save you more money in the long run.
Disappointing NCAP results, but decent standard safety kit
Unlike a lot of cars in its class, the Dacia Duster failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. The 3-star result may look poor on paper, but look at the scores more closely and things aren’t so bad. The 74% adult safety isn’t especially poor, whilst 78% in child safety is reasonably impressive. It’s ultimately let down by poor pedestrian safety (28%) and safety assist (29%), which might not be too much of an issue for some buyers. Duster’s also come as standard with four airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes, which should put most buyers minds at ease.
Exceptional value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Dacia Duster is one of the best value cars that money can buy. Not only is it by far the cheapest car to buy in its class, it’s also pretty cheap to run. This varies from model to model, but so long as you avoid the entry-level petrol engine, you’ll get impressive fuel efficiency, and a low tax bill thanks to relatively green CO2 emissions. Diesel power is without doubt the way to go with the Duster if you want excellent day-to-day value.
Insurance groups for the Duster again depend on which model you choose to go for. The range starts in group 5 for the entry-level 1.6 Access 4x4, and climb up towards group 12 if you’re tempted by the range-topping 1.5 dCi Laureate Prime. Whichever model you take the plunge with, you’ll be paying less than you would for an equivalent rival.
Depreciation is a factor to consider with the Duster, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Dacia Duster is without doubt the best value family SUV currently on sale in the UK. It might not have the badge prestige of some rivals, nor is it the most refined, but if you’re a buyer who wants a solid, reliable, and practical family car, then you should take a serious look at the impressive Dacia Duster.
Buying a used Dacia Duster online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Dacia Duster for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Duster. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Dacia Duster online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Dacia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Dacia Duster, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Duster, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Dacia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.