Three vultures track the Duster up the dry, rocky canyon, gliding in silent formation 100 yards above the car as it bumps its way along the valley floor. They have decided, I think, that its occupants represent their best chance of lunch in this lifeless desert, a pair of gringos in a budget Romanian runabout on one of the world’s wildest roads. The slaphead scavengers may have a point. We are winding up the notorious Cañón del Pato, a dirt track strung between Peru’s arid coast and its dizzying Andean highlands, and I am wondering if Top Gear has bitten off more than the little Dacia Duster can gummily chew. The Cañón del Pato - translates as ‘Duck Canyon’, contains no ducks - should be approached with trepidation in a Toyota Land Cruiser or a military Humvee. But a £10,000 Eastern European SUV, a car that’s too cheap to be badged a Renault? Gentlemen, prepare for your starring roles in Carrion up the Canyon!
Photos: Matthias Clamer
This article originally appeared in issue 238 of Top Gear magazine (2012)