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Dacia Duster interior

The Dacia Duster’s cabin is durable and simple, but it’s pretty far from luxurious. The touchscreen is improved for 2021, though. 

Style

Don’t expect much surprise and delight inside the Dacia Duster – it’s everything you need and not much else.

The previous entry-level Access model has been ditched, but that’s no hardship as it didn’t come with air-con or even a stereo.

The now-base Essential model and you do actually get a stereo – alongside some grey interior trims instead of just boring black items – but you’ll want to pay a little extra for a Dacia Duster in Comfort guise. These mid-range models get an 8 inch touchscreen infotainment system, some more supportive front seats and a few extra chrome trims on the doors, air vents and steering wheel to brighten things up (a bit).

Unfortunately, even top-spec Dusters in Prestige trim come with many of the same hard scratchy black plastics as the most basic versions. Sure, there’s a padded armrest fitted to the driver’s seat, but every other surface you’ll regularly touch – from the door handles to the glovebox lid – feels hard and brittle. You get what you pay for in this respect.

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Infotainment

Gone are the days where you could get a Dacia without as stereo, like something from the 1970s. The stripped-out Access model has been ditched because, well, barely anybody bought it.

The new entry point, the Essential model, does get a pretty basic system, but at least it comes with DAB radio, USB and Bluetooth connection.

Go for a mid-range Comfort or range-topping Prestige model and this basic set-up is replaced by a much more modern touchscreen infotainment system, plus a speaker upgrade.. This looked a bit aftermarket before, but as of 2021 the Duster gets a nicer-looking, easier to use 8-inch system. Sure, it’s not a patch on what you get in the likes of the much more expensive VW T-Roc, but it runs the Renault Kadjar’s built-in touchscreen close in the ease-of-use stakes.

The graphics are simple and features are generally easy to find, while Dacia has now added some shortcut buttons down the side of the screen, which sits in a posher-looking glossy black bezel. It’s a shame these are touch sensitive rather than classic buttons, which would fit in better with the Duster’s rugged vibe.

Comfort trim brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity as of 2021, which is good. Even more impressive is that those systems are wireless on the Prestige model.

The screen is responsive enough – although not outstanding.  Prestige models come with built-in sat nav as standard, in the 2021 update this system is pretty decent. One downside, however, is that the screen’s mounted rather low down on the Duster’s dashboard which means it takes longer to glance down and check the map than in some other SUVs.

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