Dacia Duster SUV - Interior & comfort
The Dacia Duster is now more comfortable and refined than before, but not as plush as more expensive rivals
Inside, the Dacia Duster has received a makeover in terms of both comfort and styling. The SUV has come a long way since it was introduced and its interior reflects this: build quality is good and the materials feel hard-wearing, if not particularly luxurious. The Duster’s seats are more comfortable than before, offering better support, extra padding and more adjustability.
On the move, the Duster is now far more refined than before; there’s a noticeable drop in road and wind noise at a steady 60mph. Dacia says noise inside the car has been halved thanks to more sound deadening and thicker glass, among other fine detail changes.
The Duster’s suspension – which has been calibrated to work both on and off-road – is at its best on faster roads, offering decent ride comfort that’s perfect for longer journeys. Other mechanical concessions to comfort include electric power steering, which reduces the effort required from the driver to steer by 35%, according to Dacia.
The Dacia Duster easily holds its own against pricer rivals like the Renault Captur and SEAT Arona, but don’t expect quite the same level of polish as those cars. However, despite its low price, the Duster makes for perfectly comfortable everyday transport.
Dacia Duster dashboard
Dacia has given the latest Duster a refreshed dashboard that incorporates a higher-set infotainment screen, ‘piano-type’ buttons and better-quality materials. It’s not the most exciting design, but makes up for its plain appearance with a reassuringly solid feel. The conventional dials behind the steering wheel are easy to read, while all of the controls are within easy reach – Dacia boasts that its infotainment system has one of the shortest viewing distances (from the driver’s seat) on the market.
Bi-Fuel Dusters are fitted with an aftermarket-looking LPG gauge and button to the right of the steering wheel. This shows the amount of LPG in the 35-litre tank and allows the driver to switch between LPG and petrol, once the system has reached its operating temperature. It will automatically switch the fuel supply back to petrol when the LPG tank is empty.
The simple-to-understand Dacia Duster range is split into four trim levels: Access, Essential, Comfort and Prestige. Access cars are refreshingly basic: there’s no radio or climate control as standard, and you have to make do with 16-inch steel wheels and a single-piece folding rear seat. Electric front windows, black plastic bumpers, stop-start and a locking central differential (on four-wheel-drive versions) come as standard, but that’s about it. All models get LED daytime running lights, though.
Essential costs a little extra but adds more standard kit, including DAB radio, air-conditioning, 16-inch silver steel wheels, 60:40 split rear seats, black roof bars, front fog lights, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, plus Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary input and a USB connection for MP3 players. More colour options open up (over the limited Access pallette) for Essential buyers, too.
Dacia expects Comfort trim to be popular; it adds a colour touchscreen for the infotainment system, sat nav, a reversing camera and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, satin chrome exterior body styling, rear tinted windows and a host of interior trim upgrades, including a leather steering wheel and a chrome gearknob. Electric rear windows and heated, power-adjustable door mirrors also feature.
Special edition SE Twenty cars get 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a multi-view parking camera with sensors, blind-spot warning and unique blue accented exterior and interior styling. The top-spec Prestige trim level gets upgraded upholstery, climate control, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors and keyless entry.
In a world of long and convoluted options lists, the Duster’s is pleasingly simple. Entry-level Access only has one option: an emergency spare wheel for £150, offered on all other models, too. Metallic paint is offered on Essential and above for £495, while a Western European sat-nav map upgrade is available for models so-equipped. Leather upholstery can be specified on top-spec Prestige cars only: this costs £500, or £650 if you want heated front seats, too.
A range of accessory packs is also offered. Highlights include the Parking Pack with an alarm and front and rear parking sensors for £545; there’s also the Touring Pack, which adds a tow bar with 13-pin electrics, transverse roof bars and a front central armrest for £565.