4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Affordable family SUV offers style, substance and Bi-Fuel option

Dacia Duster SUV (18 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
Enlarge 45 photos

At a glance

New price £11,995 - £20,780
Lease from new From £203 p/m View lease deals
Used price £6,035 - £17,500
Used monthly cost From £151 per month
Fuel Economy 33.2 - 60.1 mpg
Road tax cost £145 - £155
Insurance group 9 - 15 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Fantastic value for money
  • Practical, attractive interior
  • Pleasant, economical to drive

CONS

  • More road noise than pricier rivals
  • Ride could be more settled
  • Rear seats don’t fold flat

Dacia Duster SUV rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

Is the Dacia Duster any good?

Considering its price, the Duster really is brilliant, and that's why it's a previous winner in the Parkers New Car Awards. It's Britain's cheapest and best-value SUV – you get a full-sized family car that weighs in from as less than £12,000. Don't fall into the trap of assuming it has nothing but great value on its side, as it offers comfort, refinement and an overall feeling of quality.

As a result, the Duster is not only one of the cheapest SUV ranges you can buy, but more importantly it really is one of the best value – as you get a surprising amount for the money. Better still, its boxy styling is appealing in the metal, lending the Duster a visual toughness that many of its rivals lack.

Read the Dacia Duster verdict

What's it like inside?

The interior is roomy and well-laid out, with all controls clearly marked and easy to use. Considering its budget pricing, there are some very impressive touches inside, which make it look like a much more expensive car - such as the air vents and heating/ventilation controls.

There's plenty of room for all the family, and you can fit three adults on the back seats without too much difficulty - and in some comfort. The Dacia Duster's boot space is what we'd describe as adequate for most families with 445 litres of space with the rear seats in place (411 for the 4x4 version), and 1,623 (1,614) with them down.

Read more on the Dacia Duster interior

What's it like to drive?

With a commanding driving position and a comfortable ride, the Duster plays the role of family SUV perfectly. Performance is acceptable across the range, with even the entry-level TCe 100 offering reasonable motorway pulling power. However if you're doing more long-distance driving, the dCi 115 will offer similar performance and much better fuel consumption.

The best of all is the TCe 130, which has plenty of performance, while the economy doesn't really suffer much. That Blue dCi 115 is your sole diesel-fuelled choice, these days, but petrol fans are better catered for.

The old 1.6-litre SCe 115 is no more, as all the current range are turbocharged in three power outputs: TCe 100, TCe 130 and TCe 150 - the number being the output in horsepower.

Read more about how the Dacia Duster drives

What models and trims are available?

As with other Dacia models, the Duster is available in extremely basic Access form. It's primarily offered for it's very low price, but it's not an especially popular choice given the sparsity of its equipment. 

The Access version comes without air conditioning, a radio and speakers, meaning that many drivers will want to pay the extra to step up to Essential trim. This adds niceties such as air-conditioning, radio, Bluetooth connectivity and split-folding rear seat, making it a much more appealing prospect.

A small price hike takes you up to Comfort specification, which gains alloy wheels, a touchscreen multimedia system with sat-nav and parking sensors. Range-topping Prestige trim, meanwhile, includes larger 17-inch alloy wheels, part-leather seats, climate control and parking cameras for easier manoeuvering.

What else should I know?

Joining the Duster range in 2020 were the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel models. In what feels a bit like a throwback to the 1990s when Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) conversions were in their pomp, these Bi-Fuel Dusters can run on that cheaper fuel or conventional unleaded petrol. Every Bi-Fuel model is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, with five speeds and front-wheel drive only.

The LPG gas tank occupies the space formerly occupied by the spare wheel. The advantage is that it lowers CO2 emissions – in this instance from 145g/km down to 129g/km. Another advantage of LPG is that it costs around half the price of petrol per litre, and vastly reduces fuelling costs for only a small increase in price.

Good news if you want a Duster with four-wheel drive - it is available, unlike on many rivals where power is sent exclusively to the front wheels. The downside is that it's only available with a handful of versions: 4x4-equipped Blue dCi 115s are available in Comfort and Prestige trims, while the petrol-engined TCe 150 is only fitted to the latter.

So, it's inexpensive to buy, doesn't cost much to run, it's practical and you can have it with four-wheel drive if you're into more adventurous driving, but is it really worth considering alongside pricier, more mainstream alternatives such as the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai to name a handful?

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Dacia Duster including its practicality, how much it costs to run, how it is inside, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Dacia Duster SUV rivals

Other Dacia Duster models: