There's been a lot made of Dacia's bottom-rung SUV entry into the UK car market, as if suddenly everyone fell in love with deleted radios and self-wind windows. But there's more to it than that. It's about true value, and the recognition that cars as transport are just as valuable as cars as expressions of personality. What the Dacia does so well is engender a sense of well-being. That you spent wisely, frugally. That you embrace rationality. Of course, with such a rational car, Top Gear Magazine decided to do something utterly irrational and drive it along the harshest, most death-baiting roads of high Peru, but that's just to make sure it could handle whatever the UK has to throw at it. And you know what? It was absolutely rock solid. Sam Philip engages strange old ladies, steers clear of 1000ft sheer-sided mountain roads and concludes that the Duster ‘distills the very essence of motoring. Freedom. No car in the World offers more freedom for your quid than the Dacia Duster."
High praise indeed for a car often thought of as a budget-buy. Read the full story of guinea-pig lunchboxes and the motoring equivalent of the modern donkey (and yes, that's a compliment) in the Top Gear Magazine Awards issue.