Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Should you buy one?

In short, yes, if you have to have a new car instead of a quality used one. The latest model isn't vastly changed over the outgoing one, but these changes are enough to maintain its position as one of our very favourite SUVs to buy. To get what you do a car that is available from less than £14,000 – with very good value finance options, too – is not far short of miraculous.

Sure, the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai - to name but three - are superior to the Duster in many ways, but in each instance, while the top models are hovering around the £40,000 mark, the priciest Dacia is still a sub-£20,000 SUV. Basically, your choice is a new Duster or a used rival.

Not that we'd recommend the range-topping Duster, anyway. For us the sweet spot in the range is the mid-range Comfort model with the TCe 130 petrol engine. Add in a bright metallic paint colour as an extra-cost option and you've got a very convincing family car for not a lot of money.

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What we like

The way this car looks and feels is far from budget despite the low-line prices. It looks funky and bang on trend with what families want these days - a chunky SUV with room for all that life can throw at it.

The diesel engine is good, but the petrol engines are better, and all but the lowliest TCe 90 is lively and economical. The fact you can also buy it in extremely capable four-wheel drive form is also a bonus for those who live in less hospitable climes.

As for the Bi-Fuel version, it's also a yes. It's covered by Dacia's warranty, drives very similarly to the standard car, costs the same to buy as a TCe 90, and can potentially save a significant amount of money over the lifetime of the car. Yes, you lose the spare wheel and you can't take it on the Euro Tunnel, but for most, the potential savings clearly outweigh these small drawbacks.

What we don't like

The Duster isn't perfect, even though just about all criticisms levelled at it should be countered by that headline price. The ride could be a bit smoother and we're unimpressed by its three-star Euro NCAP crash test score, for instance – but Dacia has chosen the corners to cut to allow the low headline prices wisely, giving it far wider appeal than its predecessor.

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