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In-depth reviews

Dacia Duster review - Interior & comfort

“Cost-cutting is most evident on the Duster’s interior, but it’s at least well-built and the infotainment works well”

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Interior & comfort Rating

3.5 out of 5

One area where it’s easy to tell the Dacia Duster is a budget model is in its cabin, because there’s wide use of cheaper plastics that give a low-quality impression. That said, while materials might not be the best, the build quality isn’t bad at all and is a noticeable step up from that of the old Duster.

Is the Dacia Duster’s infotainment and sat-nav system easy to use?

We found the Dacia Duster’s infotainment system to be fairly simple, load times were respectable and it was intuitive enough. Rather than being a carry-over from parent company Renault, this time the software is a bespoke system developed for Dacia. It’s worth noting that there’s no infotainment screen on entry-level cars – instead, you get a smartphone holder on these models – but go for an Expression model or above and the software is presented on a 10.1-inch display. 

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On Expression models this comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while this system gets an upgrade on Journey and Extreme trims, called ‘Media Nav Live’. Media Nav Live adds an in-built navigation system which stays up-to-date for a maximum of eight years – this isn’t a necessity, however, and we’re sure most buyers will be perfectly happy using their smartphone’s Apple CarPlay or Android Auto feature.

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We’re happy to report that plenty of the car’s features are still accessed via physical controls under the screen, including those for the climate control. That said, we prefer the more intuitive physical dials of the outgoing model, so it’s a shame these weren’t carried over.

Is the Dacia Duster well equipped?

Dacia’s main aim is to offer just the essentials on the aptly named ‘Essential’ entry-level model, so we can’t say it’s especially well equipped. You go without the aforementioned infotainment screen, but you do get rear parking sensors. In reality, though, Dacia says that around 76% of Duster buyers actually go for higher trims, so while the Essential allows the brand to flaunt headline-grabbing low list prices, you’d be better off with at least the Expression model for those expected modern features like the infotainment screen, plus a reversing camera among other features.

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Extreme and Journey models sit above this but have a very distinct character from each other. While Journey is about everyday comfort and tech, the Extreme model is geared towards buyers after that outdoors utilitarian capability. Journey gets wireless smartphone charging, an upgraded Arkamys 3D Sound System, electric handbrake and a hands-free keycard. Extreme models sport more easily washable upholstery, rubber floor and boot mats, modular roof bars and copper exterior accents to help it stand out

What options should you choose on the Dacia Duster?

Dacia has offered some interesting packs elsewhere in its range in the past, and its Sleep Pack which first debuted on the Jogger will now be available for the Duster. This is a simple removable box which folds to easily form a double bed in the back of the Duster in about two minutes, as well as a tray table and storage area. It’s a great option for those looking to use their Duster for camping and adventure.

Key features

Essential

  • Smartphone holder
  • Fixed roof bars
  • Rear parking sensors

Expression

(Essential plus…)

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Seven-inch digital driver’s display
  • 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Reversing camera

Extreme

(Expression plus…)

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Modular roof bars
  • Washable TEP MicroCloud upholstery
  • Rubber floor and boot mats
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Media Nav Live infotainment with sat nav
  • YouClip 3-in-1 system
  • Copper Brown interior and exterior trim

Journey

(Expression plus…)

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Fog lights
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Hands-free keycard
  • Electric parking brake
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Media Nav Live infotainment with sat nav
  • Six-speaker Arkamys 3D Sound System
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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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