Dacia’s iconic Duster has been redesigned inside and out to combine a distinctly assertive and robust look with superior comfort and safety
The all-new Duster has a bolder personality. The exterior features more pronounced lines to emphasise the car’s forceful character while a redesigned interior ensures even better comfort. Equipped with new driving aids and equipment, the Duster is also a genuine SUV that’s both versatile and convenient for everyday driving.
Presence and style
The completely new exterior styling of the Duster includes 17-inch wheels with black wing arch trims to give the car a more assertive feel, while a more distinctive grille extending to the head lights makes it look wider. The bonnet features sculpted crease lines that give the latest Duster an even more rugged appearance. A larger, mass-coloured, scratch-resistant front skid plate reinforces its adventurer credentials, while the windscreen has been brought forward and is more steeply raked, which makes the cabin appear even more spacious. Dacia’s designers worked from a clean slate to create a completely new interior cabin. The centre console accommodates a higher-positioned, driver-focused MediaNav display for clear, easy access, made even user-friendlier by its piano key-style controls.
Seats have been redesigned too, with denser foam for improved comfort and support. The seat design is more enveloping and provides enhanced lateral support when cornering. The driver’s seat comes with an armrest, lumbar adjustment and a new height-adjustment system. The rear seats feature three comma-type headrests for improved safety and driver visibility. Cabin noise has been halved through better use of sound-absorbing surfaces, improved sealants and plugs in the engine compartment, and thicker window glass up front. Generous boot capacity remains the same: 445 litres for the 2WD version and 411 litres for the 4WD version, while new electric power steering minimises the effort required to turn the wheel – particularly useful when parking.
The updated model offers a range of new tech for comfort and security, including a multi-view camera, Blind Spot Warning, curtain airbags, climate control, keyless with a more comfortable, passenger-friendly entry and automatic headlight activation. On higher trim levels the Duster is now available with keyless entry that automatically opens all the doors as the driver gets close to the car, as well as remote locking as they walk away. There’s no need to take the key out to start the vehicle either, thanks to a new start/stop button. Climate control is available for the first time and an improved cabin layout features three rotary controls for this, matching the three air vents located at the top of the dashboard. The Duster also comes with Blind Spot Warning to detect other vehicles coming from the rear or side. A warning light flashes in the door mirror housing if any danger is detected. New seat frames, a reinforced vehicle frame, full-length curtain airbags and automatic headlight activation head up improved safety features.
A genuine SUV
The new model carries the same offroading credentials as its predecessor. Although a much more imposing car, it offers similar dimensions, including high ground clearance of 210mm. Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist make driving on sloping terrain easier, while for the off-road enthusiast the 4X4 monitor incorporates a compass and notifies the driver of the vehicle’s angle in real time. The car features a multi-view camera which incorporates four cameras (one at the front, one on either side and one at the rear). The system allows the driver to view the area around the vehicle and manoeuvre in complete peace of mind when using the vehicle off road. Of course, in everyday use this also happens to make parking a lot easier, and is automatically activated when reverse gear is engaged.
Choose from a petrol or diesel engine, both with 2WD and 4WD versions. The SCe115 features a 1.6-litre petrol engine that provides 115 horsepower with 156Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. In the 4×2 version this off ffers combined fuel consumption of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km. For 4×4 versions, the combined fuel consumption figure is 40.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 158g/km. For 4×2 versions the engine powers the Duster from 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds, while for 4×4 models it takes 12.9 seconds. The Blue dCi 115 (2WD) 1.5-litre diesel engine provides 115 horsepower with 260Nm of torque at 1,750rpm and offers combined fuel consumption as high as 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 115g/km for the 4×2 version. Six-speed manual transmission comes as standard, except for the SCe 115 4×2 petrol model, which has a five-speed gearbox.
The 4×4 models use the TL8 six-speed manual transmission, which has a shorter first gear ratio better suited to off-road demands. The unit is also very compact and, compared with a heavier transfer box system, it doesn’t compromise cabin space. Joining the range very soon is the new TCe engine, a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol powertrain available with either 130PS (Comfort or Prestige versions) or 150PS (Prestige trim only) horsepower and a very respectable combined fuel consumption of 47mpg with CO2 emissions of 137g/km.
Dacia’s ethos is to keep things simple and no-nonsense, which for the Duster means a choice of four trim levels: Access, Essential, Comfort and Prestige. Core features across the range include electric power steering, height-adjustable front headrests and seat belts, ECO mode and Stop and Start, gearshift indicator, a Thatchamapproved engine immobiliser, automatic door lock, a tyre inflation kit (4×2 models) and emergency spare wheel (4×4 models), ABS and Emergency Brake Assist, ESC/ASR (Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control) and ISOFIX points in the rear. The Access trim, available from an unbeatable £9,995 also features 16-inch steel wheels and electric front windows. The Essential trim, available for just £1,600 more, adds 16-inch ‘Fidji’ steel wheels, body coloured front and rear bumpers, air conditioning, height adjustable driver’s seat, DAB radio with steering-column mounted controls and Bluetooth connectivity. Comfort trim, available from £13,195, adds new 16-inch ‘Cyclade’ alloy wheels, front-seat armrest, leather steering wheel, graphite cloth upholstery, rear parking camera and sensors, electric front and rear windows, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, MediaNav 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system (Satellite navigation, USB and AUX connection points) and a 7-function on-board computer, all as standard.
The top-of-the-range Prestige version, available from £14,395, adds even more luxuries with brand new 17-inch ‘Diamondcut’ alloy wheels, multi-view camera, blind spot warning, climate control and keyless entry. The award-winning, no-nonsense all-new Duster remains the UK’s most affordable SUV, most recently clinching Value Car of the Year in the Sun Motor Awards. Dacia was also one of only four manufacturers (out of a total of 36) to receive five-star reliability ratings in the 2017 Which? Car Survey, outperforming many well established and premium brands.
Smiths Dacia Bretton Way, Bretton, Peterborough PE3 8YL. 01733 307823, www.smithsdacia.co.uk