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
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At a glance

New price £11,745 - £20,620
Lease from new From £186 p/m View lease deals
Used price £6,410 - £16,985
Used monthly cost From £160 per month
Fuel Economy 33.2 - 60.1 mpg
Road tax cost £140 - £150
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

It may be Britain's cheapest and best-value SUV, but the Dacia Duster isn't going to leave you feeling short-changed. It's a full-sized family SUV that weighs in from as little as £11,000. But more interestingly, it's now available with in petrol/LPG Bi-Fuel form, and comes with some impressively-low PCP finance deals. If you're looking for bangs for your buck, this is where you need to be.

Monthly costs are frequently lower than those of smaller SUVs from rival manufacturers, but don't fall into the trap of assuming the Duster has nothing but extraordinary value on its side. It offers vastly improved comfort, refinement and an overall feeling of quality compared with its predecessor. And this is no exaggeration – sit inside and you’d vastly overestimate how much the Duster costs.

Good value rather than cheap

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, it’s enjoyable to drive and the interior is practical and clearly laid out.

So, this is not only a car you’d buy because of the low price, but because it appeals in its own right. That’s quite an achievement for an off-roader that costs less than £20,000 even in its most expensive form.

Despite looking similar to its predecessor, every panel is different, giving it a more modern, upmarket style than before. Adding to that impression, the Duster is available with equipment that has never been available on a Dacia before, too, including keyless entry, climate control, a parking camera system and automatic headlights.

Available in four trim levels

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. 

Available only with the TCe 100 petrol engine, 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.

Available with four-wheel drive or LPG

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.

That Blue dCi 115 is your sole diesel-fueled choice, too, 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.

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.

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 alongide 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: