Dacia Duster SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2
Neither the Dacia Duster's purchase or its running costs are likely to break the bank
The Dacia Duster is based on tried-and-trusted Renault mechanical parts. As a model that's designed to deliver value above all else, it doesn't exactly break any technological barriers, which means it goes without some of the French company's latest and most economical engines.
However, although its fuel-economy figures don't shine, a low initial purchase price, surprisingly low depreciation and reasonable maintenance and insurance costs mean the Duster should prove relatively affordable in daily use.
Dacia Duster MPG & CO2
No version of the Dacia Duster comes close to offering headline-grabbing fuel-economy figures. The Renault Captur – from Dacia's sister company – uses more sophisticated petrol and diesel engines and delivers more impressive fuel economy as a result. However, if you don't plan to cover a huge annual mileage, the Duster's higher fuel consumption is unlikely to break the bank.
A combined fuel economy figure of up to 57.7mpg from the 1.5-litre dCi 115 diesel engine isn't bad at all, nor are CO2 emissions of 127-132g/km. The latter means that company-car users can expect to pay a mid-level Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rate. Initially, the diesel engine was only available with front-wheel drive, but now you can choose to have four-wheel-drive. This does make the car more expensive and reduce economy to 51.4mpg, plus the 139-143g/km CO2 output means it's in a slightly higher BiK bracket.
In Comfort trim, the diesel engine costs £2,000 more than the petrol – and that'll buy an awful lot of fuel. Those who cover fewer than around 12,000 miles a year, or who make a lot of short, urban journeys, might be better off with the TCe 90 petrol engine, which despite its small size, has more torque than the 1.6-litre petrol it replaced. It also has a respectable claimed fuel economy figure of up to 46.3mpg and a CO2 emissions figure of around 140-142g/km, representing a slightly lower BiK liability than the equivalent diesel.
Buyers can also pick a TCe 100 Bi-Fuel model capable of running on either petrol or LPG. This uses the same 1.0-litre petrol but has an LPG fuel tank under the boot floor. It is capable of up to 43.4mpg and emits 146g/km when running on petrol, with 33.6mpg and 130g/km possible when running on LPG gas. The major benefit is that LPG - available at around 1,400 filling stations - is around 40% cheaper than petrol, allowing high-mileage drivers to save money. At least they will once the £400 price premium has been recouped after around a year, and despite the slightly lower mpg figure when using LPG. It's also worth noting that as with LPG conversions, the Duster Bi-Fuel can't be taken on the Channel Tunnel, but Dacia says it is safe to be used in underground car parks.
We'd recommend moving up the trim levels in order to get the turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol engine if you can afford it, as it's punchier and more powerful without being too thirsty. In 128bhp form with a six-speed manual gearbox, this engine returns up to 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 141-145g/km. Opt for the 148bhp version and the automatic gearbox is standard, meaning economy drops slightly to 44.8mpg and emissions of 143-146g/km.
VED (road tax) costs the standard annual rate, although the first year's tax is likely to be included in the price. The Bi-Fuel version qualifies as an alternative fuel vehicle, so costs the discounted rate.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has announced that insurance-group ratings for the latest Dacia Duster range from groups nine to 11 for the petrol engine and groups 13 to 14 for the diesel, depending on trim level. This means the latest Duster undercuts rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai – which occupies insurance group 13 and above – on insurance costs, but our advice is that you always seek a quote before you make a purchase decision.
Every Dacia requires annual servicing, or more frequently if you cover more than 12,000 miles a year. Dacia service centres usually share workshops with Renault and both brands use similarly qualified technicians, so Dacia service expertise isn't hard to come by. Costs should be reasonable, too, and a maintenance package is available that makes it easy to budget for scheduled work.
Owing to the Duster's SUV nature, tyres are among the priciest consumable items you'll need to factor for, but even the price of these is made reasonable by 17-inch wheels being the biggest offered in the Duster range. Brakes and many other mechanical parts are shared with Renault models.
Dacia provides a three-year/60,000-mile warranty on every new car it sells in the UK, and this can be extended to up to seven years/100,000 miles at extra cost – the latter being equivalent to the warranty provided by Kia.