The Dacia Duster is the cheapest new SUV on the market, and it’s surprisingly decent. It really makes you question if it’s worth spending twice as much on a more luxury German brand instead… So here’s a look around it, what it’s like to drive, and my thoughts on its frankly insane value.
First off, let me explain the price tag. This starts at £15,295, although the one you’d want is more like £17,500. The top spec everything tops out at around £23,000, so when I say this is cheap for a new car, that should be clear. While £15,000 isn’t exactly chump change, for a brand new car – a new SUV in fact – that’s one of the cheapest on the market. Despite the price tag, the Duster comes equipped with pretty much everything you’d need. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, USB ports galore, 360 cameras, blindspot monitoring and even heated seats!
The engine I have here is their TCe 90, a 1L turbocharged petrol that’s just about powerful enough to use with the Duster. Remarkably the Duster only weighs around 1,100KG so the 1L turbo engine can keep up, but it isn’t what I’d call ‘peppy’. Economy is the game here, and in eco mode, on a long drive, we managed over 56MPG. That’s fantastic. Personally I’d opt for a slightly higher spec’d engine in this for a bit better usability especially on country roads.
Practicality is plentiful, with 445L of boot space with the seats up, or nearly 1,500L with the seats down. Rear leg room isn’t the most spacious, but even 6ft me can fit in the back without too much trouble. Rear headroom is pretty great though so no problems there. Up the front is where you’ll notice a few of the cost saving measures. Cheap plastics are everywhere, faux leather on the steering wheel doesn’t feel the best, and the seats do fairly little to support you around corners or roundabouts, but for the price it really is hard to complain.
As a driving experience, I’d call it “pacifying”. It has absolutely no interest in going quickly, going fast around a corner or pulling hard from a stop. It’s all about a reasonably comfy, definitely soft driving experience that’s relaxing. It’s much more of a tool to get you from A to B than it is a characterful being. And that’s ok. For the price, that’s exactly what you want this to be, so good job Dacia!