Dacia Duster (2012 – 2018) Review

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Dacia Duster (2012 – 2018) At A Glance

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.

Insurance Groups are between 5–13
On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure

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

Looking for a Dacia Duster (2012 - 2018)?
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Real MPG average for a Dacia Duster (2012 – 2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

75%

Real MPG

24–60 mpg

MPGs submitted

277

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

ASK HJ

Can you recommend a budget-friendly, reliable, no frills 4x4?
We're looking for a second car. Something with no frills; a proper 4x4 (rural Highlands and Islands) with a raised driving position, reliable and preferably under £5000. We are considering an old Nissan X-Trail, Skoda Yeti, Mitsubishi Shogun and Suzuki Vitara. Would you recommend any of these or something different? Thank you.
You might find that second-hand Shoguns have led pretty hard lives and finding a good one can be difficult. Diesel X-Trails can be troublesome, while we've also had a lot of issues reported with Yetis. My money would go on a Suzuki Grand Vitara or Honda CR-V. Both ought to be very reliable choices. Also, consider a Dacia Duster if you're after a no-frills 4x4.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What automatic SUV should I buy on a £10,000 budget?
I am looking for a small or medium automatic SUV 2012 or newer for under £10k. I do about 18-20k miles per year. What would you recommend? Is mileage a big factor as I appreciate for my budget it may be high. Should I raise my budget for lower mileage or if nothing is available for under £10k look at a smaller car with lower mileage?
I'd recommend a SsangYong Tivoli. It's a good budget SUV and £10,000 will get you a 2016 model with the diesel engine and automatic gearbox. Also consider a Dacia Duster.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a 4WD vehicle that had a large boot?
I am looking to swap my 2011 Land Rover Freelander. For work reasons, I need $WD but I need a bigger boot space than the Freelander. I have looked at the Skoda Kodiaq, which has a sizeable boot butI'm not really sure the 4WD system will actually get me across muddy fields and through snow when needed (I'm an equine vet)? The older Land Rover Discovery would be okay, but it is a bit pricey. I'm looking to spend £20,000 - £25,000. Is a pick-up too big for day to day driving? Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.
When it comes to large and capable 4x4s, the prices are sadly quite high. However, if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices on refinement, you can still get a great and practical SUV for your business needs. The Dacia Duster, for example, is available with four-wheel drive and is handy off road. It’s affordable too and well within your budget: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/dacia/duster-2012/ The SsangYong Rexton is probably the largest proven 4x4 SUV that’s within your budget. It’s not the smoothest of cars to drive on the road, but the boot is huge and it’ll cope with everything a muddy field or harsh winter will throw your way: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/ssangyong/rexton-2017/ If your business is VAT registered, you can reclaimed the tax on a pick-up and there is lots of choice: For our top 10, see: https://vans.honestjohn.co.uk/van-top-10s/top-10-most-economical-pick-ups/ For our guide on commercial vehicle tax, see: https://vans.honestjohn.co.uk/van-tax/van-tax-explained-what-you-have-to-pay-and-how-to-reduce-it/
Answered by Dan Powell
Could you recommend a good SUV that doesn't cost too much?
We moved to the North East of England from the South and would like to replace my wife’s 2016 Ford Fiesta (6500 miles, Titanium Ecoboost) with a small 4x4 SUV. She likes the look of a used BMW X1, Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson but is open to suggestions. The budget is the Ford Fiesta plus £6000. The annual mileage will be about 10,000 -15,000. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Our system says you're looking at about £7300 p/x for the Fiesta, so - plus your £6000 - you're looking at £11,300. This is an old model X1 4x4 or previous model Sportage 4x4 or ix35 4x4 (not a Tucson). The newest for your money will be a Dacia Duster 1.5 DCI 4x4. Qashqai have not been particularly reliable but, of course, are made in the NE so are well catered for there. If this is a bit depressing, the other way to go is to fit a set of Michelin Cross Climates or Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons to the Fiesta that will then be as capable in the snow as a 4x4 that isn't on winter tyres.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Dacia Duster (2012 – 2018) cost?

Buy new from £15,495 (list price from £11,205)
Contract hire from £160.82 per month
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