The Bargain of the Year: Dacia Duster
Can the UK’s cheapest 4x4 survive the Southern Hemisphere’s harshest mountains?
Posted: 09 Jan 2013
We are very much alone on this road. The last vehicle we saw was a rickety old bus bumbling the other way a few hours back, packed to the rafters with wan passengers and with the slogan ‘JESUS ALONSO' across the top of the windscreen. Judging by the speed it passed at, the driver could indeed have been a hybrid of F1 ace and deity. Since then, nothing. Just miles and miles of brown-grey rock and corrugated track, snaking into the gargantuan Andes.
The odds are stacked against it, but the Duster is holding up. We clatter over rickety iron bridges laid with splintered planks of wood; we do motorway speeds across vicious terrain - hard rutted dirt cut with foot-deep holes and jagged, tyre-pinching boulders. The little Dacia (rhymes with ‘Comin' Atcha', innit) shrugs it off with ease.
Past Yuracmarca, where an ancient man waves a live chicken at us like a magic wand, the canyon walls begin to close in, pinching atop the road like mile-high stage curtains. If ominous geology exists, this is it. Onwards and upwards, little Duster.