Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Attractive, easy-to-use dashboard
  • Touchscreen media system is acceptable
  • Many design cues borrowed from pricier cars

How's the quality and layout?

The latest Duster provides a spacious, welcoming interior with far more equipment than you’d expect for the money. There have been a few changes for the facelift, most notably the new – and more appealing – seat fabrics, as well as a deeper centre console with more storage, and updated infotainment screens.

Yes, one or two parts, such as the scratchy and unpleasant carpets, feel more suited to a cheap bed and breakfast than a car, but considering how much vehicle you get for the money, and the decent array of standard equipment across the board, even this is a very small criticism.

More than this, the vast majority of the touch points, including the wheel, seats, gearstick and dashboard controls feel built to last and are of a reasonable quality.

Finally, for those choosing a Duster Bi-Fuel, other than the switch to change between LPG and petrol (below), there's no difference between this and a standard Duster. It's a simple press of the button to switch between the two, and the amount of gas in the tank is indicated by the number of lights illuminated. Simple, but effective.

Infotainment and tech

Considering that the Duster costs a fraction of more desirable premium alternatives, Dacia has made a savvy move by nabbing some of their design elements. You get a simple and quick infotainment set-up with a bright and easy-to-read screen.

Wheel-mounted audio controls make it simple to tune the radio, jump tracks or change the volume, while the touchscreen media system is easy to use with big onscreen buttons, but it inevitably lacks the sophistication and high resolution display of more expensive rivals.

Dacia Duster (2020) interior control for LPG

Comfort

  • Much improved seats and good driving position
  • Adequate space in both rows of seats
  • Light steering and reasonably comfy ride

Considering the price, Dacia Duster comfort levels are very good. The ride is mostly smooth, compliant and quiet in Comfort trim, which includes 16-inch alloy wheels – the same size as entry-level Access and mid-level Essential models.

Yes, the Duster bobs around a little on rougher road surfaces, but it deals with bumps effectively, is particularly comfortable on smooth roads and throws up little tyre noise. There is plenty of road noise at motorway speeds, though it's not distractingly intrusive.

2020 Dacia Duster front seats and centre armrest

Step up to Prestige specification and you can expect a slightly firmer ride as this gets 17-inch alloy wheels, meaning an inch more metal and an inch less rubber between you and the road.

Helping to boost comfort levels are seats that offer much greater support than the previous Duster. These offer good lower back support plus reasonable side support for holding you in place around corners.

As a budget car, the Duster does feel more basic inside than a number of rivals, though Dacia has done a good job of boosting the amount of sound deadening compared with its predecessor considering the modest price hike.

Consequently, the Duster feels far more refined on the road than you’d expect for such an inexpensive car, with not much engine noise from the smaller petrol engines and little wind noise.

2020 Dacia Duster instrument panel

Somewhat problematic is that both petrol and diesel models share the same rev counter – which should show how hard you can work the engine. However, inexplicably the rev counter doesn’t show the engines’ maximum speeds on the dial, rendering them both pointless.

Since the diesel engine’s maximum speed is reached barely halfway around the dial – with no indication to show where that is – drivers are potentially more likely to work the engine harder than they would otherwise, kicking up more noise in the process.