2020 Dacia Duster review: It's a family SUV, but there's an unforgivable catch (2023)

In theory, you want the Dacia Duster. British car buyers clamor for simple, straightforward transport, transport that is far from pleasant and hideous in so many modern cars. That is, if you believe social media, internet forums, comment threads and the like.

The Duster is just that: a basic, no-frills car, the perfect size for cruising around town, but big enough to take two adults and two kids on vacation. No big wheels, reinforced body kit or any other sporty illusion. It must, in other words, be perfect. And yet, while it does decent business, it's not exactly like there's a Duster in every corner of this country.

Are those who claim to target the stupid auto industry any less willing to put their money where it's at? Or is there something else at play here?

The arrival of a Renault-sourced 1.0-liter turbo gasoline engine should certainly increase the Duster's appeal. It replaces the old naturally aspirated 1.6-litre, which has always been a little dated, and comes directly from the new Clio, where it is the engine of choice.

It sits alongside a 1.3-liter petrol engine producing 128hp and 148hp, and a 1.5-liter diesel making 114hp. All engines have a six-speed manual transmission, except for the 1.0 liter, which has five speeds. There is no automatic option, but you can choose four-wheel drive on the most powerful diesel and gasoline engines.

If you're feeling really cheap, you can get the new engine on the base Access (actually, it's the only engine you can get on this model), which has steel wheels, black plastic exterior trim, power windows, and not much else. . but.

The range gradually becomes less spartan through the top-of-the-range Essential, Comfort, Prestige and Techroad editions. It's the Comfort we have here, which feels like the sweet spot of the range, comes with enough extras not to let you down: cruise control, air conditioning, sat nav and smartphone mirror are all standard, but still good at a price point. decidedly reasonable. price.

Inside, it's immediately clear that the Duster is a budget proposition. The dashboard is a sea of ​​gray plastic, all very flimsy. But it's not unpleasant here. Three sculpted round air vents above the center console, as well as chrome-effect instrument surrounds, gray-on-gray lines and a useful shelf on the passenger side give the interior a welcoming character.

Furthermore, all controls are robust, well placed and easy to understand. That's especially true of the central touchscreen, whose crisp, color-coordinated graphics and quick responses make it easy to use. And while you don't get volume buttons, the rocker buttons you get are a tactile location button, as opposed to the fancy touch-sensitive controls you'll find on some more expensive cars.

Space isn't an issue in the front seats and the seats are surprisingly comfortable, you might say, as they feel a little flat and unyielding when you climb aboard. But spend some time with them and you'll find that they have your back in all the right places. As a result, it's not difficult to make a long journey on them.

There's also a rather neat folding armrest for the driver, which is much better positioned than the padded center lid you find in most cars. And you've got plenty of useful nooks and crannies to hide your stuff, although the placement of the USB socket, right above the sat nav screen, is a little silly given that the cable inevitably obscures your view. screen.

At the rear, meanwhile, there's as much room as any small SUV in Dacia's price, and in fact more than you'll find in some that cost much more. The two outer rear seats also get Isofix points, as is the industry standard, although you won't get one in the passenger seat.

So far so good. But what happens at the time? Surely that's where the trick is? Well, no, not really.

Of course, if you try to drive the Duster like you stole it, you'll be disappointed. The nose looks light and dark, and if you turn the steering wheel suddenly it can break traction and start pushing forward, making the Duster feel jerky and uncertain. In other words, you'll soon become discouraged from taking the back road.

But it would be a little naive to expect more from a car with a basic suspension setup set up entirely with no sporty driving in mind. After all, the Duster at least does an admirable job of keeping you aware of what you're doing, telegraphing that loss of grip through light steering and body tremors long before it actually happens. And when that happens, releasing the throttle immediately calms things down.

So when you stop trying to beat it and start driving it like most of its owners, the Duster feels more than adequate. It's actually pretty good. The ride is extremely comfortable whether you're riding around town or on a country road. While you can hear the suspension working, there are balloon tires and plenty of travel to keep the bumps from hitting your rear end.

The gearbox is arguably its weakest point, with a horrible long throw and an action so slippery that it can sometimes trick you into thinking you've selected a gear, when in fact you have to push the lever another inch into the gate. .

But the clutch and steering are light, making the Duster easy to drive around town, and the engine is a delight, blessed with a massive ball of torque that makes it feel a lot more muscular than its numbers suggest. This is supported by a delightfully innovative, if not overly intrusive, soundtrack.

And on the road, the ride is still smooth, the Duster feels steady and sure-footed, and there's enough engine rumble to keep you in the fast lane without a hitch. Granted, it's not the quietest thing in the world at these speeds, but it's not the loudest either, and it does so without the generalized tire squeal that some bigger-wheeled competitors suffer from.

It would be a lie to say that the Duster is perfect, but it seems to have the fundamentals right. But surely there must be a gotcha somewhere? Well, yes, unfortunately, there is.

In the Euro NCAP tests, now a benchmark in the sector, the Duster won three stars. It might not sound that bad, but the vast majority of modern cars get a five. a handful trips on all fours.

And it's not just that the Duster lacks some driver assistance features.

Lower scores for both adult and child protection indicate a car that is out of the ordinary in terms of physical safety, rather than one that simply lacks the latest driver assistance devices. And on a family car, this is a bit of a problem.

The alternative, of course, would be to spend more on a more expensive model from another manufacturer. Or, indeed, spend what a new Duster would cost on an old rival. It's not too hard to find something like this with a good safety rating, but of course you'll miss out on the fact that it's a new car, and aside from the Kia and Hyundai models, you might not get as much. guarantee. .

You pay your money, you choose. If you're looking to ignore its safety ratings, the Duster is certainly a good value. This new engine is also definitely the choice of the range and makes the Duster better than ever. But don't be blinded by the fact that its bargain price and simple, straightforward charm comes with a problem, and one that makes it less of a bargain than it first appears.


Dacia Duster 1.0 TCE 100 Comfort 4x2

TESTED999cc three-cylinder gasoline turbo, five-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive

PRICE/SALES£13,995 / now

POWER/TORQUE99 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, 192 pound-feet at 2,000 rpm


ACCELERATION0-62 mph in 12.5 seconds

FUEL SAVINGS52.3 mpg (WLTP combined)


SWINDLER£170 first year, then £145/year

VERDICTIf your idea of ​​the perfect car is limitless, the Duster is for you. But its poor performance in benchmark security tests means it has its problems. However, if you can live with that, this is an incredible value car, and with this new engine it's better than ever.



MG ZS 1.5 excite, from £14,045

Probably the Duster's closest rival, the ZS suffers from similar safety issues, and while it has a slightly airier interior, it doesn't feel quite as tough or comfortable. You do get a whopping seven-year warranty, however, which might give an advantage over the Duster for some buyers.

Fiat Panda 1.2 City Cross, from £13,380

This historic city car has been around since Theseus ruled Athens, so it's no surprise that it now feels slow and old-fashioned, with an interior that's just as cheap. However, it's also much smaller than the Duster, with a boot almost half the size, and it's even less safe, according to Euro NCAP, making the Dacia that much better looking.

Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE, from £17,580

An excellent safety record is just one of the Arona's strengths. It's fun to drive, comfortable, smooth, roomy and smart inside and out. But of course if you want all that you have to pay, and even in its most basic form, which doesn't come with as many toys, the Arona costs nearly £4,000 more than the Duster.

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Car search engine from A to Z


Why is Dacia Duster so cheap? ›

Why is the Dacia Duster so cheap? Dacia uses the underpinnings of existing car models built by parent company Renault to save on development and manufacturing costs. The pay-off for low prices is that Dacia models tend to have poor Euro NCAP safety ratings. Do Dacia Dusters hold their value?

How many miles per gallon does a Dacia Duster do? ›

Fuel economy ⓘ
Petrol engines33.2 - 47 mpg
Diesel engines45.6 - 60.1 mpg
Jul 15, 2022

Is the Dacia Duster a reliable car? ›

Dacia Duster reliability

As a brand, Dacia came in a middling 17th place out of 29 manufacturers in 2021, but this slipped to a worrying 27th place for 2022. This is sure to be a concern for prospective buyers.

How many miles will Dacia Duster last? ›

Even better, the fact it has two fuel tanks means that it has an official range of 767 miles.

Why is Dacia not sold in USA? ›

They are not sold in the U.S. because their market share would not be large enough compared with sales in the rest of the world to make it economically profitable for them to build cars specifically for the U.S. market that meet the U.S. requirements for emissions and safety standards.

How many miles per gallon does a Dacia Duster 1 Litre get? ›

This uses the same 1.0-litre petrol but has an LPG fuel tank under the boot floor. It is capable of up to 44.1mpg and emits 145g/km when running on petrol, with 35.8mpg and 127g/km possible when running on LPG gas. With both tanks full, you can achieve over 600 miles before needing to refuel.

Why is the Dacia Duster so popular? ›

While the SUV market is booming, most models are either too expensive and sophisticated, too simple and plain. Then, Duster is born. Accessible, robust, and stylish, it is in synch with societal trends and is just what people are looking for. It rapidly becomes an iconic model for both Dacia and the whole industry.

Who makes Dacia Duster engines? ›

The Dacia Duster is a family of automobiles produced and marketed jointly by the French manufacturer Renault and its Romanian subsidiary Dacia since 2010.

Is a Dacia Duster good on fuel? ›

A figure of 58.9mpg is mightily impressive for an SUV and, although it drops to 53.3mpg in the 4x4 version, it remains an economical proposition.

Is Duster good for long drive? ›

The Renault Duster is a perfect car for hard and tough Indian roads. With its thrifty engine, Renault Duster can easily travel on distances with ease. The car is available in both petrol and diesel variants with manual and AMT gearbox. And don't worry it has enough back seat space, you can use anyway.

What year Duster was the best? ›

2 1974 Was The Best Sales Year

All the engines were detuned to meet the rules, which meant they were all detuned to produce less power. This was an after-effect of meeting the regulations, but for the Plymouth Duster, 1974 was the best sales year they had ever had.

Are Dacia cars cheap to repair? ›

And that simply means that they are more reliable. Not only that, but they are also cheap to repair. The parts are common and easy to source, meaning that you won't have to fork out a fortune for the repair costs. So there are a few reasons why Dacia are reliable.

Is Dacia Duster discontinued? ›

The Renault Duster was first launched in 2012 and discontinued in 2022.

Can you sleep in a Dacia Duster? ›

Dacia's sense of adventure and outdoor spirit is now even greater thanks to the introduction of a new range-topping Extreme trim level and the release of an innovative Sleep Pack that turns the Jogger's spacious interior into a mobile bedroom in minutes.

How often do you change oil in a Dacia Duster? ›

An oil change is generally performed every 10,000 to 30,000 miles (and/or every two years). This frequency will be specified in the maintenance guide for your Dacia DUSTER.

Can you buy a Dacia Duster in the US? ›

The Dacia brand of cars is not sold in the US because the brand is owned by Renault, which is a French car manufacturer.

Can you get a Dacia in America? ›

Take, for example, Volkswagen Group-owned Seat, Stellantis-owned Peugeot and Dacia, the Romanian automaker owned by Renault; these European brands are highly successful in the Old Continent, but you won't find them on American roads.

What is Dacia most popular car? ›

The Sandero supermini remained Dacia's most popular car in 2022, with 229,500 vehicles sold, and retaining its title of the best-selling car in the European retail market – a title it's held since 2017.

Is Dacia Duster big? ›

For the cash, the Dacia Duster is massively practical. It might be cheaper than small SUVs like the Suzuki Vitara, yet it's almost as spacious as cars like the Kia Sportage and Skoda Karoq. The Dacia Duster measures just over 4.3m long and a little over 1.8m wide.

What is the highest mileage of Duster? ›

Mileage of Renault Duster

The Automatic Diesel variant has a mileage of 19.87 kmpl. The Manual Petrol variant has a mileage of 16.42 kmpl.

How much gas tank does a Dacia Duster have? ›

Renault Duster fuel tank capacity is 50 litres. Check similar car details: What is the fuel tank capacity of MG Astor? What is the fuel tank capacity of Hyundai Creta?

Is Dacia Duster a real 4x4? ›

With the exception of the 4x4 option on the diesel, all are strictly two-wheel-drive, and if you want an automatic gearbox, you'll have to spec the most powerful petrol engine, which comes with one as standard.

Is A Duster A good SUV? ›

Riding experience is very excellent it's a amazing powerful machine, very good experience for off-roading and hill areas, value for money, It's a very excellent car in this budget also a very muscular car and need to improve the interior design and headlights . This is a good compare to other Suv car.

Does the Dacia Duster have a Mercedes engine? ›

The same engine that also powers the Mercedes A-Class, CLA and GLA-Class entry-level models also powers the Duster in its most powerful avatar.

Which car replaced Duster? ›

Renault Arkana likely to be Duster's replacement - autoX.

Why was Renault Duster discontinued? ›

French carmaker Renault's compact SUV Duster was launched in India in July 2012. Due to its affordable price tag for an SUV, Duster became a hit in the Indian market. However, soon its sales started declining, and, earlier this year, it was reported that Renault has discontinued the car's production in India.

Is Dacia Duster 4wd or AWD? ›

Rugged and robust van. Offering extra practicality and loading space to our multi-award winning Duster. Your business will be ready for anything. The Duster Commercial also makes no sacrifice to its on and off-road capabilities, available as a 4X4 model to ensure no job is out of reach.

How many miles per gallon does a 1.5 Duster get? ›

The diesel-engined 1.5 dCi 110 version is the most economical, and running costs are low if you avoid the thirsty petrol-engined versions. The diesel is reasonably efficient and should average around 50mpg if driven carefully – its average claimed fuel consumption figure is 64.2mpg in the smaller wheeled models.

Is Dacia Duster good in snow? ›

The Dacia Duster is great for winter driving, its small SUV shape is ideal for the ultimate in grip and stability when it comes to driving in slippery conditions.

What type of Duster is best? ›

Best overall: OXO Good Grips Microfiber Extendable Duster

Material: microfiber, aluminum. Size/length: expands from 24 inches to 53 inches.

What is the speed limit of Duster car? ›

Renault reckons the Duster has a claimed top speed of 168km/h.

Which Duster is most commonly used? ›

A cloth duster is one of the most common types of dusters.

What star rating is a Duster car? ›

3-star. Renault Duster has been awarded 3-star safety rating.

How many models of Duster are there? ›

Renault Duster have 8 variants ranging from Rs. 8.49 Lakh to Rs. 14.25 Lakh.

Does Nissan own Dacia? ›

Renault took over Dacia in 1999, marking a strategic shift. Dacia thus became a Groupe Renault brand, opening up a new era in terms of quality. Originally designed for emerging markets at the unbeatable price of €5,000, Logan is a modern and robust family saloon that was a renaissance for the brand.

How many years warranty do you get with Dacia? ›

Your Dacia three-year manufacturer warranty

Every new Dacia is covered by a standard 3 year / 60,000* mile Warranty package.

What is the safest Dacia? ›

Dacia Jogger is firm's "safest ever" car despite one-star NCAP score | Autocar.

Do Dacia Dusters have Renault engines? ›

Dacia Duster diesel engines

Dacia has only released one diesel engine for the Duster: the well-proven 1.5-litre dCi 115 that's also found under the bonnet of Renault and Nissan models. With 113bhp, it has enough to allow the Duster to accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds.

How popular is Dacia Duster? ›

With 197,100 units sold across all countries in 2022 (representing an increase of 5.8% on 2021), over 2 million Duster vehicles have been on the roads since its launch in 2010.

Do Dacia Dusters hold their price? ›

Dacia Duster

One of the best value car brands on the market, Dacia, introduced the Duster as their affordable SUV option. The car has proved popular, and the 1.6 litre petrol Ambience model holds its purchase price well. However, the 1.5 dCi model is also popular and retains its price.

Does Dacia Duster have air conditioning? ›

Air conditioning, DAB, Bluetooth and alloy wheels come standard on Air, along with colour coded bumpers and electric front windows.

Do Dacia Duster rear seats fold flat? ›

Seat folding and flexibility

All Dusters have a 60/40 split folding rear bench, although it's a bit of a faff to fold down the seatbacks because you have to flip up the seat bases first.

Is Dacia Duster good for off road? ›

The Dacia Duster SUV produced in Mioveni, Romania, has been included by British auto magazine Autocar in a ranking of the best 4x4 and off-road vehicles of 2023. The low price and offroad capabilities make the Duster the tenth-best 4x4 and off-road car of the year.

What kind of oil does a Dacia Duster take? ›

Duster 1.5 dCi 110 (2012-2019) 12/12-04/19. A fully synthetic 5W-40 motor oil which is suitable for petrol and diesel vehicles including many with fuel injected, multivalved and turbo charged engines.

How many Litres of oil does a Dacia Duster take? ›

Mister-Auto helps you choose. The quantity needed to change the oil in your engine is 4,5 litres.

Which engine oil is used in Duster? ›

RENAULT DUSTER 5W-30 Engine Oil in India | Car parts price list online - boodmo.com.

Is Dacia a Russian company? ›

Dacia was created in Romania in 1966, with a clear objective: to provide modern, reliable and affordable vehicles to the people of Romania. It was dubbed Dacia after the name given by the Romans to the region now known as Romania. Renault took over Dacia in 1999, marking a strategic shift.

Where are Dacia cars built? ›

The company's single plant is located in Mioveni, Romania, together with its headquarters, and has a production capacity of 350,000 vehicles per year.

Are Dacia Dusters prone to rust? ›

This is particularly critical when it comes to buying a used Dacia Duster: There have been claims that the Duster is susceptible to rust. The rust issue is not a rumour. There have definitely been several reported cases where Dacias produced for the UK market developed rust early on in their life cycle.

Is A Duster A Good SUV? ›

Riding experience is very excellent it's a amazing powerful machine, very good experience for off-roading and hill areas, value for money, It's a very excellent car in this budget also a very muscular car and need to improve the interior design and headlights . This is a good compare to other Suv car.


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