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Car Review

Dacia Duster (2017-2024) review

Published: 11 Sep 2023


What should I be paying?

Way back when you could have a brand new Duster for nine grand. They now start at £17,295, or an outstanding £211 a month, but that’s just evidence that no one really bought the old base Access version, as curiously appealing as it was with no air con or radio and its UN-esque white paint on steel wheel aesthetic. Blame inflation for the rest.

The 2021 facelift tidied things up considerably with the range simple and with few options, because complexity adds cost at the factory and dealers.

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What are the kit choices?

Your entry choice is the Essential. It boasts air con, radio, roof bars, height-adjust driver's seat, split-fold rear seat, hill start assist and cruise control, and wind down rear windows. It comes with just one engine option, though, the 89bhp petrol three-cylinder.

Then you’re intro Expression, Journey and Extreme spec levels with the full gamut of engines, gearboxes and transmissions on offer. Expression starts at £18,295 and adds the 8.0-inch media screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 16-inch alloys and a reversing camera. Journey adds a further £1,500, for which you get automatic air con, multi-view parking cameras (not strictly necessary with so much glass, but nice all the same), a few active safety systems and 17-inch wheels.

Top-spec Extreme starts from £20,295 with the smallest petrol engine and rises to £24,445 if you want the diesel combined with four-wheel drive. As with the rest of the range, white paint is still the only standard option even on top-spec Extremes – all other colours cost an extra £650.

Which spec is best?

Well, the answer to that really depends on your intended use. If it’s going to live an urban life, we’d suggest going for one of the quieter petrols (the 128bhp is more than adequate) and perhaps even the auto ‘box. If you’re planning on using your Duster as workhorse or hauling stuff along with a tow bar, buy the diesel 4x4. Expression spec should offer enough creature comforts to keep most people happy.

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It’s worth noting that Dacia has been scoring very well in owner satisfaction and reliability surveys. Residuals are surprisingly strong, which is why PCPs and leases are as cheap as the sticker price would suggest. Buying is simple anyway, because there's a no-haggle policy, and Dacia is rolling out a web-buying process where you never even meet a dealer unless you want to.

The warranty on a Duster is three years and 60k miles, extendable to seven if you pay. A three-year service plan is just £486. And if you want to know what it’s like living with one, we did that very thing a little while back.

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