2019 Dacia Duster Review
Carzone drives the new Dacia Duster on Irish roads for one week
Pros: Great value, plenty of space, Sporty exterior design
Cons: Cheap feeling interior, limited performance
The Duster has been a popular car on Irish roads in recent years, offering a size that matches the Nissan Qashqai at a price closer to the Nissan Micra. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the latest generation Duster has not steered too far away from the original design. We spent a week with the new affordable SUV to see how it drives on Irish roads.
Visually the new Duster looks very similar to the previous model, but with a closer look, you will notice the panelling has been updated giving the exterior more of a sharper, muscular look. At the front of the vehicle, both the headlights and grille have been updated, blending together to emphasise the Duster’s width.
At the rear, the shape of the Duster looks a lot less ‘square’ than its predecessor. The most noticeable change is the new tail lights which are completely re-shaped and bulge out at either side.
Inside, the Duster isn’t exactly up to the standard of some of the more expensive SUV’s, but this is not the goal for one of the most affordable SUV's on the market. The entry-level ‘Essential’ model will be as basic as you could get on the inside, but more expensive trim levels offer extras such as chrome trimmings, soft-feel steering wheel and better-quality upholstery.
The technology inside the Duster won't blow you away either, but the additional spec versions do feature AppleCarPlay, voice control, a multi-function steering wheel, multi-view camera and more which certainly adds to the value of the family SUV.
There is plenty of space in the new Duster, this can be particularly noticed in the cabin where the driver can manoeuvre comfortably with plenty of headroom also. The rear seats are a little short on legroom compared to rivals but is made up for with a 445-litre boot.
There are two Diesel engines available, a dCi 115 2WD and a dCi 115 4WD. And there are also two petrol engines, an SCe 115 2WD and the TCe 130 2WD that we drove that offers 130hp. The Duster isn’t exactly punchy when taking off but picks up speed once you get on the open road.
The Duster handles well enough on soft corners but can be quite heavy when taking harder ones. The suspension can feel a bit bouncy at times when driving over bumps, it would definitely be more beneficial to go for the four-wheel-drive version if you require more traction or are driving on country roads.
The Duster isn’t the safest car on the road, it received a three-star Euro NCAP rating in safety tests, but It does have some good features including Emergency Brake Assist which comes as standard and a blind-spot warning system which is only available on Prestige models.
Prices for the new Dacia Duster start at €17,390 for the ‘Essential’ entry-level model. The next one up is the ‘Comfort’ model for €19,790 which includes rear parking sensors, cruise control and a speed limiter. The ‘Prestige’ model starts at €21,290 and includes Keyless entry, Multiview camera and blind-spot monitoring. The model we drove was the limited edition ‘Techroad’ which starts at €23,040 and includes Techroad styling, tinted rear windows and diamond-cut alloy wheels.
Carzone Verdict 3.5/5
The new Duster brings slight improvements whilst stepping far from the previous version. It is cheaper than any of its rivals and certainly gives you value for your money in terms of space and practicality. If you are looking for a family-sized SUV and want it cheap the Duster is definitely the way to go.
Test Car Details:
Model-Driven: Dacia Duster Techroad TCe 130 MY19
Prices from: €17,390
Price as tested: €23,040
Annual Motor Tax: €280
Engine: 1.3-litre Petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Body Style: SUV
Boot Space: 445-litres