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Dacia Duster Review

7 / 10
23 April 2024
Dacia Duster driving

When the Dacia Duster launched roughly a decade ago, some people wondered who’d buy a car named after a cleaning product.

But the Duster – now in its third generation – has gained admiration and respect for its cheap prices and its honesty. Here, we review the second generation Duster, produced from 2018-2024.

What we like:
  • Good value, especially as a used car
  • Chunky look and feel
  • Easy touchscreen
What we don't like:
  • Average performance and fuel economy
  • Cabin feels cheap
  • Automatic gearbox is rare

Should I buy a Dacia Duster?

You might say that the Dacia Duster is as cheap as chips. Mind you, chips have become surprisingly expensive and, equally, the Duster doesn’t come with quite such an eye-catching price as it once did.

That’s partly because the entry-level, super-sparse attention grabber has gone. Even so, the Duster remains the UK’s cheapest new SUV, and you’re still getting a lot of car for relatively little money.

It’s clear to see where Dacia’s no-nonsense approach has been taken – the interior isn’t what you’d call posh and the Duster’s three-star safety rating doesn’t make a good first impression. Although that’s mostly because the Duster didn’t come with a lot of the driver assistance systems that now have to be fitted – more recent examples do come with emergency brake assist, if not lane-keep assist.

But all the main parts are tried-and-tested Renault components – the engines are used in a wide range of different models, including some you might not expect, and the switchgear is mostly the same as you’ll find in the Renault Captur. In fact, in some countries the Duster comes with Renault badges, not Dacia ones.

So, if you want a rugged SUV that’s simple to use and doesn’t cost a lot of money, the Duster is where it’s at. As we write this, you can finance a used Duster for under £150 per month from Motorpoint. That’s incredible value for money.

Interior and technology

The Duster feels chunky and hard-wearing inside, with commercial-grade plastics designed to shrug off a lifetime of muddy shoes and spilt crumbs. Higher-spec cars are slightly jazzier with coloured accents and silver climate control dials, but all have the same focus on durability rather than any attempt at luxury.

Whether you choose a Duster with an infotainment system or not, you’ll get a simple-to-use display with at least some phone connectivity and media playback functionality. We really like Dacia’s touchscreen, as the features it includes are streamlined to the essentials and, as a result, it’s painless to operate while driving. No searching through endless submenus here.


The Duster straddles the line between small and medium-sized SUVs, and the space it offers is correspondingly competitive. Adults can fit in the back seats quite comfortably, and the 445-litre boot should be big enough for most family activities – and there are standard-fit roof rails if you run out of cargo space inside the car.

There’s no underfloor storage, though – what you see when you lift up the tailgate is what you get. That’s because the spare wheel, if fitted, is accessed from underneath the car rather than from under the boot floor.

Engines and performance

Dacia offers nothing more than you need, so the engines offer adequate performance to get this family car up to speed without much fuss. There are a couple of turbocharged petrol engines, which we’d recommend to most buyers, as well as a petrol-LPG combo that promises a huge driving range and cheap LPG costs – if you can find a filling station.

On the used market, you’ll also find an entry-level non-turbo petrol engine, which is fine around town but feels breathless at higher speeds, and a diesel that offers the best MPG for long-distance drivers.

An automatic gearbox is only available on selected engines, as is four-wheel drive – so you won’t find many examples with either on the used market.

Driving and comfort

You might be pleasantly surprised at how the Duster drives. It’s obviously not sporty, but it’s quite a light car so handling is largely kept in check. It’s comfortable enough over most road surfaces and dispatches long trips in a typically straightforward way. A bumpy road will show up the limits of the Duster’s compliance, but it’s no worse than the majority of its numerous rivals.

Most rivals have more soundproofing than the Duster, though. So, sometimes it can get a little noisy inside the cabin, and some vibrations make themselves felt more strongly than in rival cars. But remember how little you’re paying for your Duster and things like that won’t matter too much.

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