In-depth reviews

Dacia Duster SUV review

"The great-value Dacia Duster will have you asking why other SUV models are so pricey"

Carbuyer Rating

3.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£10,880 - £21,114

Pros

  • Fantastic value
  • Spacious interior
  • Appealing style

Cons

  • Average economy
  • Outdated petrol engine
  • 3-star safety rating

Since appearing in the UK in 2013, Dacia built a reputation based on exceptional value for money. No model exemplifies this more than the Dacia Duster, an SUV that almost matches the Nissan Qashqai for size but with a price that undercuts the Nissan Micra supermini – and has running costs to match.

The latest generation is just as strong on value as its predecessor – its starting price is a little higher, but so is its level of standard safety equipment. It's reassuring that Dacia has stuck to its non-nonsense roots at a time when SUVs have never been more fashionable – the Skoda Karoq, SEAT Arona, Renault Captur and Ford Puma are just some of a rapidly growing list of rivals. A Bi-Fuel model capable of running on LPG and petrol was introduced in 2020, giving the Duster a unique powertrain option that’s not available in any of its rivals.

With the Duster having become such a well loved and widely recognised machine, you can't blame Dacia for wanting the latest model to closely resemble the original. Originally introduced in 2018, the Duster’s shape, proportions and character barely changed from the previous model. Only the finer details and lines have been updated to keep the latest model looking fresh.

More reviews

The latest Duster wears a wider front grille that’s flanked by headlamps with a more 3D look. The window line is slightly raised compared to before, too, for a tougher look, and the impression of strength is further expressed by boldly flared wheel arches front and rear.

Top 10 best 4x4s and SUVs 2021

A facelift in late 2021 added several minor cosmetic changes to the Duster including a redesigned radiator grille, a range of updated alloy wheel designs and additional paint colours. The biggest difference is the adoption of the brand’s ‘Y-Shaped’ light design for the headlights and tail lights, a signature already seen on the latest Dacia Sandero range. The brand also added new fabrics for the interior, along with a new centre console that adds extra storage space.

There are five different power options for the Duster, including three standard petrols, a Bi-Fuel model that uses petrol and LPG, and one diesel. The 99bhp TCe 100 Bi-Fuel is offered alongside the 89bhp entry-level TCe 90 petrol engine, allowing the driver to switch between petrol or LPG, which is typically around half the price. Both of these engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox.

A pair of more powerful petrol models are also available, badged TCe 130 and TCe 150. Both are powered by the same 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, with the 128bhp version getting a six-speed manual gearbox and the range-topping 148bhp variant coming with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The 113bhp 1.5-litre Blue dCi 115 diesel engine is available on the Comfort model and upwards and can be specified on both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models. The two-wheel-drive version is quicker by 1.6 seconds to 62mph, as well as being slightly more economical.

In true Dacia style, the range was previously opened by a no-frills Access edition, but this has been discontinued. Many of the niceties that SUV buyers take for granted were absent on this price-leading model. That means no radio and no air-conditioning, but standard electric windows, remote-control central locking and LED daytime running lights ensured the Access wasn't altogether uncivilised.

Many will be happier with the entry-level 'Essential' model, though, which introduces air-conditioning, cruise control and speed limiter, a DAB-equipped stereo with Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a smartened-up exterior with front fog lights – and all without breaking the £14,000 barrier. Further upmarket, the Comfort adds a rear-view camera, an eight-inch infotainment screen, sat nav, alloy wheels and an on-board computer.

Range-topping Prestige cars also get 17-inch alloy wheels, with the addition of plusher upholstery, climate control, a multiview camera, wireless smartphone connectivity and keyless entry, while still undercutting the majority of rivals on price.

While the additional kit of the last two models has appeal, we recommend that you pair your sat-nav-equipped smartphone with the value-packed 1.0-litre petrol TCe Essential for a fantastic value SUV with rugged looks and all the space you could need. There's loads of space inside for a growing family and the interior is smartly designed, even if the materials aren't all from the top drawer. It's even a fairly enjoyable car to drive – it doesn't have reflexes as sharp as the SEAT Arona or Ford Puma, but it's stable, grippy and doesn't lean too heavily in corners.

It's disappointing, though, that the extra safety kit of the range-topping Prestige can't be added to other models as an option – and features like autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control are conspicuously absent. Given the Duster's attractive pricing, we wouldn't expect them to be necessarily standard, but it seems an oversight that they're not available at all. As a result of this, independent crash-test experts Euro NCAP gave the latest Duster an undistinguished 3-star safety rating.

Dacia's 27th place finish in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey is a slight improvement over the brand’s last place finish the year before, but doesn't exactly inspire confidence, either, but the results largely refer to the previous Dacia Sandero, which has now been replaced with an all-new model. The latest Duster certainly has a lot to offer – it's a big step forward from the Dacia’s of old where design and desirability are concerned, with a lack of sophisticated safety equipment is the only real blot on its copybook.

Recommended

MG 5 EV estate review
MG 5 Estate
MG 5
15 Oct 2021

MG 5 EV estate review

New 2022 Mercedes GLC will have more tech
Mercedes GLC render
Mercedes GLC
15 Oct 2021

New 2022 Mercedes GLC will have more tech

Tesla Model Y SUV review
2022 Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y
15 Oct 2021

Tesla Model Y SUV review

New Tesla Model Y on sale in the UK priced from £54,990
2022 Tesla Model Y SUV
Tesla Model Y
15 Oct 2021

New Tesla Model Y on sale in the UK priced from £54,990

Most Popular

Top 10 best 4x4s and SUVs 2021
Peugeot 3008 SUV rear 3/4 tracking
Family SUVs
29 Sep 2021

Top 10 best 4x4s and SUVs 2021

What is a V5C? Here’s everything you need to know about the log book
V5C close up
Tips and advice
27 Sep 2021

What is a V5C? Here’s everything you need to know about the log book

Electric MG 5 EV estate gets new look for 2022
New MG 5 EV
MG 5
12 Oct 2021

Electric MG 5 EV estate gets new look for 2022

More on Duster

Show me:
Top 10 best used SUVs 2021
Skoda Karoq - front 3/4 view
Family SUVs
29 Sep 2021

Top 10 best used SUVs 2021

Want to find an affordable SUV? Check out our list of the top 10 best used SUVs available.
Top 10 best cars for winter 2021
Top 10 best cars for winter - Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster SUV
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best cars for winter 2021

We select a great group of 4x4 cars to help keep you on the road and moving this winter
2021 Dacia Duster on sale now for £13,995
2021 Dacia Duster SUV
Dacia Duster
2 Aug 2021

2021 Dacia Duster on sale now for £13,995

The Dacia Duster SUV gets an update for 2021, including the addition of a new eight-inch infotainment system
Top 10 best tow cars 2021
Skoda Kodiaq SUV driving
Best cars
21 Jul 2021

Top 10 best tow cars 2021

Choosing the best tow car can be tricky, so read our rundown of 10 great models. We’ve selected a range of cars with excellent towing credentials to s…
Top 10 best cheap cars 2021
Dacia Duster SUV
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap cars 2021

We look at the best cheap cars on the market that offer spectacular value for money, proving that you really can spend a little but get a lot.
Dacia Duster Commercial launched
Dacia Duster Commercial
Dacia Duster
10 Feb 2021

Dacia Duster Commercial launched

Dacia unveils van-rivalling Duster model, which is available with four-wheel drive
Special edition cars: the best, worst and weirdest
Jeep Cherokee SUV
15 Dec 2020

Special edition cars: the best, worst and weirdest

Take a look at the best and most memorable special edition cars
Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month 2021
Skoda Fabia
Best cars
30 Jun 2020

Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month 2021

£150 a month is enough to get you a great set of wheels. We pick over the most attractive offers around right now.
Dacia reveals trio of SE Twenty special-edition models
Dacia MCV Logan Stepway SE Twenty front 3/4 view
Dacia Duster SUV
6 Jan 2020

Dacia reveals trio of SE Twenty special-edition models

SE Twenty models of the Dacia Duster, Logan MCV Stepway and the Sandero Stepway have been unveiled
Best cars for winter
Best cars
3 Jan 2020

Best cars for winter

We select a great group of 4x4 cars to help keep you on the road and moving this winter.
Top 10 best cars for £15,000
Ford Fiesta
Best cars
23 Dec 2019

Top 10 best cars for £15,000

If your budget for a new car is £15k, you might think you’re limited to a small hatchback. Our top 10 rundown proves this need not be the case and fea…
Dacia Duster Prestige review
Dacia Duster Prestige
Dacia Duster
29 Jul 2019

Dacia Duster Prestige review

Does choosing the range-topping version of a budget choice such as the Dacia Duster make sense?
Dacia Duster Comfort review
Dacia Duster
12 Jul 2019

Dacia Duster Comfort review

Should you pick two or four-wheel drive for the Dacia Duster?
Dacia Techroad limited editions start at £11,660
Dacia Techroad Sandero Stepway, Duster and Logan MCV Stepway
Dacia Duster SUV
1 Apr 2019

Dacia Techroad limited editions start at £11,660

Prices for the limited-edition Dacia Duster, Sandero Stepway and Logan MCV Stepway models have been announced
New Suzuki Jimny 2019: prices, specs and release date
Suzuki Jimny
19 Nov 2018

New Suzuki Jimny 2019: prices, specs and release date

All-new Suzuki Jimny prices announced; SZ4 model to start at £15,499
New Dacia Duster 2019: prices, specs and new engines
Dacia Duster SUV
2 Oct 2018

New Dacia Duster 2019: prices, specs and new engines

New petrol engines added to the Dacia Duster line-up for 2019
Dacia Duster SUV (2012-2018)
Dacia Duster SUV
9 Mar 2018

Dacia Duster SUV (2012-2018)

"The Dacia Duster is the best-value SUV on the market today. It’s a rugged, practical and simple machine that can be surprisingly fun to drive"
Rusting Dacia Duster takes months to repair
Dacia Duster SUV
14 Feb 2017

Rusting Dacia Duster takes months to repair

Owner frustrated as nearly new SUV requires major fix and is suffering excessive rust
Dacia Sandero, Duster, Logan models revised
7 Dec 2016

Dacia Sandero, Duster, Logan models revised

Improved Dacia Sandero, Dacia Sandero Stepway and Dacia Logan MCV debut alongside new engine
Updates for new 2017 Dacia Duster SUV announced
Dacia Duster SUV
21 Jun 2016

Updates for new 2017 Dacia Duster SUV announced

Revised Dacia Duster still the cheapest SUV on sale
Top 10 most popular car reviews of 2015
Nissan Qashqai SUV
28 Dec 2015

Top 10 most popular car reviews of 2015

We take a look at the year's most-read reviews on Carbuyer.co.uk
Study reveals total cost of SUV ownership
Dacia Duster SUV
18 Dec 2015

Study reveals total cost of SUV ownership

Industry experts at CAP urge buyers to research whole-life costs of SUV ownership more thoroughly
Rusty Duster owner bailed out by dealer
33339 AUTO EXPRESS31-05-15Mike Madden at home in Whaley Bridge. Picture by Chris Bull / UNP0845 600 7737pictures@unp.co.uk
Dacia Duster SUV
23 Jun 2015

Rusty Duster owner bailed out by dealer

Dealer steps in after Dacia refuses to help reader when corrosion quickly appears on SUV

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
29 Sep 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks