We’re big fans of the Dacia Duster at carwow. It’s a simple, rugged mini-SUV which may not quite be as refined as a Volkswagen, or as fun to drive as a Ford, but is so cheap (prices start at a smidge under £9,500) that it’s easy to forgive any of its shortcomings.
Due to that bargain price, it’s quite a hard car to pigeonhole. It may be fairly small compared to most crossovers but, for the money, you get far more metal than you would in a similarly priced supermini. We take a look at how it measures up.
Despite the city car-like price, in terms of physical size it’s perhaps easiest to start with a Ford Focus as a reference point. The Duster is 4cm shorter than the Ford, just under 20cm narrower, and 10cm taller. In other words, it is hardly an intimidating vehicle to drive on the road, a situation helped by the large, square windows, resulting in better than average visibility in comparison to most family cars.
Testers note that it’s possible to sit four adults inside the Duster in reasonable comfort. Drivers and passengers sit quite upright in the tall cabin and, in terms of headroom, the Duster offers a couple of centimeters less than you’d find in a Ford Fiesta, though legroom in the rear is superior. There’s plenty of room to store everything you’d need too – the door pockets glovebox and other cubbies are all deep and spacious.
|Shoulder room (front/rear)||1,387mm/1,400mm|
Boot space is certainly an area where the Dacia scores strongly – particularly if you choose the two-wheel drive model. In that format, a 475-litre load bay is almost identical in volume to that of a Ford C-Max. Fold the rear bench away, and it’ll swallow up 1,636 litres, and take objects up to 1,760mm in length.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the extra mechanicals for the four-wheel drive system take up some of the boot space. If you select the optional spare wheel, boot space in the 4×4 drops to 408 litres – though that’s still more than a Volkswagen Golf offers.
|Seats up (2WD/4WD)||475/408 litres|
|Seats down (2WD/4WD)||1,636/1,570 litres|
Turning circle and fuel capacity
Despite the room inside, the relatively modest external dimensions result in a car which is quite manoeuvrable around town. A 10.4-metre turning circle is on par with most superminis, so it’s a fairly easy car to park.
A 50-litre fuel tank means, if you’re able to match the 1.5 dCi’s claimed 56mpg fuel economy, a range of just over 600 miles should be possible from a tank of fuel.
|Turning circle||10.4 metres|
|Fuel tank||50 litres|
One advantage of the Duster’s simplicity is that it’s a fairly lightweight machine – particularly by crossover standards. With weight of all models floating between 1,100kg and 1,300kg, the Dacia lies somewhere between the average supermini and small family car.
|1160kg (1.6 16v 110 4×2)||1,294kg (dCi 110 4×4)|
It’s quite possible those looking for a cheap, dependable workhorse might turn to a Duster and, for that reason, there’s always the chance that they’ll need to tow things around from time to time. If that’s the case, the model to have is the 1.5 dCi 4×4 – thanks to the torquey diesel and toughened-up mechanicals, it’s capable of towing an unbraked trailer up to 1,500kg in weight.
|Unbraked trailer||615kg – 660kg|
|Braked trailer||1,200kg – 1,500kg|
You think it might be Dust the one for you?
For the simplest way to find a great deal on a new Dacia, take a look at our car configurator to build your ideal model, and get offers from UK dealers. Alternatively, take a look at our Dacia Duster full review.