Ever since the Dacia brand was re-launched by owners Renault in 1999, the Romanian firm has produced simple, practical cars which represent brilliant value for money. Any shortcomings in quality or outright performance can easily forgiven because they’re just so cheap to buy!
One of the most well-received models in the current Dacia line-up is the Duster. It falls into the mini-SUV category occupied by the likes of the Nissan Juke, but it’s hard to consider the Nissan a direct rival when the Duster is priced lower than many much-smaller city cars.
Even at the top of the range, the Duster is hardly loaded with kit, but all of the important stuff is there. Buyers have the ability to personalise their car slightly though the addition of several different option packs, but which should you go for? We’ve taken a look at the options list and ranked each choice as either essential, useful, or frivolous.
We’ve picked out two options from the Dacia’s list which we feel are pretty much no-brainers. They are features which aren’t just useful, but will add value in the used car market, and will improve your enjoyment of the Duster each day.
Metallic paint – £495
The choice of paint colours for the Duster is very limited by new-car standards – there are only six in total. The only non-metallic shade is Glacier white, so unless you’re happy with a white car, you need to stump up nearly £500 for a different hue. Head over to our colours guide for a more detailed look at the available choices for the Duster.
Protection pack – £595
The inclusion of an alarm makes this pack a must on its own. Not only will it add peace of mind, but insurers will take kindly to a manufacturer-fitted system, so it will likely help reduce your premium, too. The fact that it also includes rear parking sensors (useful because the Duster’s rearward visibility could be better) – plus floor mats, boot liner, mud guards and tailgate protection – makes this a wise selection to choose if you’re going to make the most of the Duster’s practical side.
There are one or two of the Duster’s options which some people might find handy, but others might find hard to justify their extra outlay for. We’d not consider them must buys, but it depends on how you’re going to use the car.
Adventurer pack – £445
The Adventurer Pack adds protective mouldings to the edges of the wheel arches and centre of the doors. While not exactly essential, the addition of extra protection might come in handy if you make regular trips to supermarket car parks, where your doors are at the mercy of people who might not take quite so much pride in your car as you do…
Touring pack – £555
The practicality of this pack depends largely on whether you’re intending to use the Duster as a tow car. For £555, Dacia adds a towbar, roof rails and a centre armrest between the front seats.
These are the things that if you’ll really want if you’re going all out to impress the neighbours. Neither of our choices are useful from a practical sense, but they do make the Duster feel just a little more special.
Styling pack – £655
The styling pack adds a little extra chrome onto the outside of the Duster; a flash under the front bumper here, a little along the side running boards there, and some fancier exhaust tips, too. LED daytime running lights are also included for that £655, but it’s more of a superficial option rather than a practical one.
Leather pack – £995
We’re sure that a leather interior is very swanky, but the luxury overtones seem rather at odds with what is a very rugged, basic car at heart. You could argue that they might be easier to keep clean, but the best part of a grand is an awful lot simply for that minor convenience.