Dacia Duster Prestige review

Does choosing the range-topping version of a budget choice such as the Dacia Duster make sense?

The latest Dacia Duster was brought out in 2018 and, despite a thorough redesign, more modern engines and a slightly more premium-feeling interior, it’s still the cheapest new SUV you can buy in the UK. The average buyer is best to avoid base-spec Access (there’s no air-conditioning or radio) but how far up the range should you go? We’re testing the top-spec Prestige to see whether it’s worth the extra outlay.

Prestige spec is well equipped, and not just for a Dacia. On top of the Comfort spec, it adds alloy wheels that are two-colour and a size larger, blind-spot monitoring, climate control, keyless entry, a multi-view camera with parking sensors and Prestige upholstery.

Best cars for £15,000

The Comfort trim offers essentials like cruise control, a trip computer, electric rear windows, heated and electrically adjustable mirrors and body coloured door handles, plus a seven-inch touchscreen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a rear-view camera. Even Essential, which sits directly above Access, has air-conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth and front fog lights.

Only the top two trim levels are available with Dacia’s new 148bhp petrol engine, which matches the 41.5mpg of the 128bhp petrol but reduces the 0-62mph time by almost a second. This engine is more expensive but only it and the diesel engine are offered with four-wheel-drive. The entry-level 99bhp three-cylinder TCe 100 petrol engine isn’t available for the range-topping Prestige model but it’s likely to feel underpowered in a car of the Duster’s size. The only diesel is Dacia’s Blue dCi engine with 113bhp.

We’d recommend avoiding four-wheel drive unless you’re sure you really need it. It reduces fuel economy and increases the acceleration time and price - on Prestige trim that means you’ll be paying around £19,000. That’s a lot for a budget-oriented brand, and cars like the Suzuki Jimny are better off-road anyway.

Avoid four-wheel drive and the Dacia Duster is still well-priced on the company’s finance calculator. Choose the Prestige spec and the TCe 150 engine and you’ll be paying just over £200 per month after a deposit of roughly £2,500. Few other top-spec SUVs can be had for this price.

Verdict - 3/5

The primary selling point of Dacia’s cars is value, and choosing a top-spec Duster detracts from this a little. As long as you pick the right engine, the Prestige trim is still good value compared to other SUVs but even a range-topping Duster has a rugged yet plasticky interior and a disappointing three-star Euro NCAP safety rating. We recommend avoiding the Prestige trim and saving even more money by buying either the Essential or Comfort trims - they better suit the Dacia’s simplicity and provide all the necessary equipment.

Read our review of the Dacia Duster or see where it ranks on our list of best Motability cars.

Recommended

Dacia Duster SUV review
Dacia Duster SUV  front 3/4 tracking
Dacia Duster
27 Apr 2022

Dacia Duster SUV review

New top-spec Dacia Duster Extreme SE SUV revealed
Dacia 1
Dacia Duster
23 Feb 2022

New top-spec Dacia Duster Extreme SE SUV revealed

Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month 2022
Renault Captur Iconic
Best cars
7 Jan 2022

Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month 2022

Top 10 best cars for winter 2022
Top 10 best cars for winter - Dacia Duster
Best cars
12 Oct 2021

Top 10 best cars for winter 2022

Most Popular

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
19 May 2022

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?

New car delivery times: how long will you have to wait?
Mazda3s at Bristol port
Car buying
17 May 2022

New car delivery times: how long will you have to wait?

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Fiat 500 deals
Deals
20 May 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

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 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
3 Feb 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022