The best alternatives to the Dacia Duster

October 06, 2015 by

The Dacia Duster is something of a rarity in today’s new car market. While many models from rivals add complication – resulting in added weight and expense – the Dacia remains uncomplicated, delivering incredible value for money as a result.

Costs are kept down by using tried and tested parts from Renault. Costing from less than £9,500 for the entry-level model, it’s difficult to find this much car for so little money. If you’re still considering your options, however, what alternatives are there to the Duster? We’re taking a look at five of the best…

Not convinced by any of these offerings? Put the Dacia Duster in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.

5 – Dacia Sandero Stepway

The first rival to the Duster comes from its little brother. The Stepway is based on the regular Sandero, but features suspension raised by 40mm and SUV-inspired styling to transform it from supermini to crossover. The extra ground clearance helps it to feel comfortable on the road, while performance is adequate for a car of this size.

It isn’t quite as spacious as the Duster and, unlike the larger car there isn’t a four-wheel drive option. It’s cheaper to buy and run, however – the top-spec petrol model costs a shade over £10,000. Like the Duster, a price so low makes it hard to criticise its shortcomings.

Put the Dacia Sandero Stepway in our car configurator to see what savings are offered.

4 – Renault Captur

If you’d prefer a slightly more contemporary look, the swoopy Renault Captur might be slightly more your thing. Entry level models are priced closely to the top spec Duster but, step inside, and it’s obvious where the extra money’s been spent – the quality of the trim and materials feels like it has jumped forward a couple of decades.

Out on the road it’s a little quieter and the pick of the engine range, the 108hp 1.5-litre diesel (also found in the Duster) is marginally more frugal here.

Put the Renault Captur in our car configurator to see what reductions are offered.

3 – Suzuki Vitara

Although the Suzuki Vitara is priced higher than the Duster (from £13,999), it offers many of the Dacia’s virtues. It’s big, cheap to run, and – in the case of four-wheel drive models – pretty capable off-road.

Equipment levels are fairly strong, with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and panoramic glass sunroof available on most versions, and a wide range of customisation options allow buyers to add a personal touch. Both the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel units are willing and frugal, while out on the road it’s surprisingly fun to drive.

Spec up a Suzuki Vitara in our car configurator to see what savings are available.

2 – Citroen C4 Cactus

It’s hard to argue with the claim that the Citroen C4 Cactus is one of the most distinctive cars on the road. Its concept-car like looks stand out like nothing else – its most notable features being those unique ‘Airbumps’. They don’t just look quirky, they’re useful too – the rubberised plastic can withstand the sort of knocks which are all-too frequent in supermarket car parks.

The interior is airy and modern, with a touchscreen taking care of all of the ventilation and infotainment functions. Like the Duster, simplicity is key, and the Cactus maintains a low weight, contributing both to low running costs and the fun driving experience. It’s undoubtedly one of the best mini crossovers on the market.

To see the discounts available, put the Citroen C4 Cactus in our car configurator.

1 – Fiat Panda

Searching for a cheap, fun car with bags of character? Few do it better than the Fiat Panda. While it can’t match the cabin or boot space of the Duster, in every other area it can either match or beat its Romanian rival.

The interior may be basic, but it looks great and can be customised in a variety of colours. Out on the road, its engines are frugal (the 1.3-litre diesel officially returns 72.4mpg) and the handling is entertaining yet comfortable. There’s even a four-wheel drive option, which transforms the Panda into a brilliant little light off-roader.

Then there’s the price. Costing from just over £9,000, it’s the only non-Dacia on this list which comes anywhere near to dipping below the £10,000 mark.

Choose your ideal Fiat Panda in our car configurator to see the discounts offered.

Save money on your next car

Put any of these cars in our car configurator or, if you’re still not swayed, put the Dacia Duster in our car configurator. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you still need help picking your next car, check out our car chooser.