Dacia: new Duster prices start at just €17,390
Dacia are a Romanian car manufacturer who have been around for quite some time but in recent times have been taken over by Renault.
Therefore their cars are primarily based on tried and tested Renault running gear and chassis.
You could look on them a bit like Skoda was years ago, a Czech car manufacturer, owned by VW and as we all know a Skoda Superb is really made up of VW mechanical and running gear, and prove to be excellent cars.
Dacia have won numerous awards and have sold millions of vehicles across Europe.
The previous Duster did well in Ireland too over the last six years selling some 10,000 units here and now there is an all new Duster and with prices starting at just €17,390 it gives SUV motoring without the high price tag.
Two engines and three trim levels, (Essential, Comfort and Prestige) are available a 1.6i SCe 115 petrol and the one on test here the 1.5i dCi diesel.
This is the first time the Duster range offered a petrol engine option.
Initial launch cars are two wheel drive but a four wheel drive will be available in 2019.
So has it any street cred?
Every body panel is new though it shares its platform with the previous model.
The styling is pretty good. It has what I would call robust good looks.
The lines are clean and attractive and overall the new Duster looks like a purposeful off-roader should. Some great new colours give it a trendy new look too.
What is it like inside?
The cabin has been completely redesigned, with improved specifications and materials.
Standard specification across the range includes, manual air conditioning, DAB radio, and Bluetooth, height adjustable drives seat, reach and rake adjustable steering wheel, multifunction steering wheel, multiple airbags, 16 inch alloys, AUX and USB ports, a seven inch touchscreen and electric heated mirrors and of course remote locking and electric windows.
The driving position is good with the extra height of the Duster giving a commanding view of the road ahead.
Accommodation is good it will seat four adults in comfort and five at a squeeze, with a decent load area.
What is under the bonnet?
The 1.5 Renault dci diesel is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The combination works very well, this new Dacia Duster is quite lively and has plenty of get up and go when and where you need it.
I found its frugal too burning just 5.8 litres of diesel per 100km.
Will I enjoy driving it?
This new Duster is impressive.
It is reasonably quiet and refined and handles very well.
Road wind and engine noise are all well suppressed.
It hums along all day at motorway speeds in an un fussed manner and proves a comfortable car in which to travel.
So What is the Verdict?
The new Duster builds on the success of the old model while really improving things where it needed it.
I felt it no longer feels bargain basement as did the original.
The good style, decent specification levels across all their trim levels and the way it drives make a very strong argument for someone who wants an SUV but does not want the high price associated with many of them.
I liked the new Duster and I think it will do very well as it has matured into a fine SUV.
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