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Dacia Duster (2012–2018)

Last updated 5 June 2019

Great value for money. Spacious and practical cabin. Available with all-wheel drive for less than £12,000. 5 Stars for Duster 125 TCe 4WD.
Feels dated. 1.6 Petrol-engine loud at motorway speeds. Rust in the seams was a problem especially on early white Indian built ones.
Updated 5 June 2019

Report of a 2016 Dacia Duster 1.2TCe "juddering when driving at constant speed" for the past 6 months. Car still has 6 months warranty left. Car has been in and out of the dealer for the last 6 months...

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Introduction

With an entry price that's sub-£9000, it’s easy to have low expectations for the Dacia Duster, but it's a pleasant surprise. Even in more expensive trim levels it is a good buy on merit of its size and practicality. For the same price as a small hatchback you can get a full-sized family car with an economical diesel engine and the option of all-wheel drive. It’s an impressive formula.

It’s not without its flaws, of course. It isn't the sharpest car to drive, nor does it pack in the most luxurious materials or the best levels of equipment. But it’s honest, unpretentious, solidly built and spacious enough for a family, with a boot that puts some larger cars to shame and enough rear leg and headroom for teenagers.

The basic model might have an almost shockingly low list price but it does without some essentials like a radio and air con. It’s only offered in white with black bumpers, which does nothing for its looks so moving up to a mid level Ambiante or the top Laureate is more sensible plus they come with the advantage of a frugal, tractable diesel engine.

Dacia offers all-wheel drive in all trim levels for a premium of around £2000. In reality very few people will need it, but for rural buyers it’s a very affordable way to get behind the wheel of a 4x4. It’ll cope with light off-road work but it’s more at home in low-grip on-road conditions like sleet.

A low purchase price, reasonable running costs and a practical design mean that the Duster can overcome its technological and dynamic shortcomings. It's not going to appeal to everyone, but for buyers seeking something honest and without lofty pretensions there's every reason to consider the Duster. 

In Summer 2016 The Dacia Duster was massively improved by a facelift and the adoption of Renault's twin cam 1.2 litre petrol engine, designated TCe 125 in the Duster.

Dacia Duster 1.6 Access 4WD 2013 Road Test

Dacia Duster 1.2 Laureate TCe 125 4WD 2016 Road Test

Owners' reviews

3
An amazing country car but terrible motorway car
4
Good workhorse
4
Great value for money but you only get what you pay for.
1
Abysmal
fash
3
potentially good car ruined by minor faults and awful customer service
5
Brilliant...does everything as intended
List Price from £9,995
Buy new from £9,629
Contract hire from £207.83 per month
 

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