2015 Dacia Duster SUV Review

Big on utility, honesty and appeal, Dacia’s Duster is low on price.

Delightfully honest in its push for cost-savings, the Dacia Duster is a no-nonsense, trend-bucking SUV in an image-led marketplace. It works too, the lack of flair defining the Duster’s appeal. As simple as a pair of jeans, it’s the anti-fashion vehicle for people disinterested in automotive frivolity.

Review

What is it?
Simple, honest and cheap. Which, for many, is exactly what they’ve been waiting for. While the automotive world has become obsessed with innovation and extras, Dacia has spotted a gap in the market for no-nonsense transport. The Duster is Dacia’s SUV, which rides high, comes modestly equipped and borrows old bits of Renaults to make it as cheap as it possibly can be. There’s nothing quite like it, really, even if that lack of sophistication does mean economy and emissions aren’t what they could be.  

What is it like?
Basic, but that’s the point. The Duster’s like a modern-day Land Rover Defender, in that it does without anything that could be conceivably described as modern. Okay, there are electric window on some, but that’s about it. It won’t romp off-road as far as a Defender, but it’s unlikely to get you stuck and drives decently on road too. There’s good passenger space, though safety isn’t quite up to the most modern rivals, and the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine isn’t going to set your world alight either.   

Carzone verdict: 4/5
You could get in it and bemoan the tough, rough plastics, the clear lack of sound deadening at speed and the sometimes busy ride. You could also find the 1.5-litre diesel engine’s performance a little bit lacking, but then it’ll get you there, and the chassis is actually quite entertaining so it’ll allow you to carry speed easier than it’s actually gained. We like it; an Aldi/Lidl-style car in a M&S car world, and all the better for it.