Dacia Duster (2018) Review

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Dacia Duster (2018) At A Glance


+Much improved from previous Duster with improved refinement. Vastle better interior. Still affordable. New 1,332cc 130 and 150PS petrol engines from 2019.

-Initially no diesel 4x4 model. 1.6 SCe petrol engine is slow. Basic Access model doesn't even get a radio. In DCI model, AdBlue tank means full size spare cannot be carried in the wheel well.

Insurance Groups are between 10–15
On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure


Looking for a Dacia Duster (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

When it comes to new cars, there's not much you can get for £10,000 these days - even the cheapest Fiesta would set you back another £4k. Yet you can get your hands on a shiny new Dacia Duster for your hard earned £10k. And it represents a lot of SUV for the money.

Dacia says it has spent the past five years listening to existing Duster owners to find out exactly what needed to be improved when it came to producing the 2018 generation Duster.

What those owners must have said is sort the interior out, as it's here where you'll find the biggest changes from the old model. This is still a budget car, make no mistake, but it's a lot nicer inside now with less rough plastics and a better quality finish.

The seats have been redesigned and are far more comfortable, plus you get the added bonus that the driver's seat no longer wobbles. Which is nice. It's also much quieter inside, thanks to better sound insulation.

Go for the basic Access model with its headline sub-£10k price and you'll have to be prepared to make some compromises. For starters there's no radio. At all. So the steel wheels will be the least of your worries. Still, you do get electric front windows, Isofix in the back and a heater. 

You're better off with an Essential which gets things like air con while Comfort at £13,195 comes with satnav. Even the top Prestige model still looks very good value for money at £14,500 considering it gets climate control, keyless entry, parking sensors and navigation.

The 1.6 SCe engine is fine around town but pretty gutless if you want any sort of half decent acceleration. Fortunately the far superior 1.2 TCe is on its way. The 1.5 dCi is the best choice if it's low down pulling power and big mileage economy you want.

The Duster is pretty much what you'd expect from behind the wheel. The steering is responsive enough and it rides reasonably well but as with the old Duster, this is a car that's designed for affordable A-to-B motoring, if it's bells and whistles you want, you'll be disappointed. What you do get is an honest and unpretentious SUV that's great value.

Dacia Duster 2018 1.6 SCe Comfort 2WD Road Test

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend an affordable motorway car for comfort and fuel economy?
"I currently drive 20,000 miles per year with most of my commute being motorway. I want to buy a car that majors on comfort and fuel economy. I have a decent budget but ideally, I want to keep it at the lower end of the cost spectrum so I am considering the Dacia Duster diesel or Honda Jazz hybrid. Would you recommend them for motorway driving or should I consider something else even if it means spending more?"
Our readers have rated the top-ten cars for comfort, here: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/honest-john-satisfaction-index-2020/top-10-most-comfortable-cars/ Of that list, the Toyota CH-R might be your best option. It's only sold as a hybrid now so all models get great fuel economy – even on the motorway where the hybrid system doesn't operate at its most efficient. The CH-R has front seats with lots of adjustment and its raised ride height makes it easy to get in and out of and gives you a decent view of the road ahead. It should also be very reliable, although the back seat is a bit tight if you often carry four adults. The other car I'd recommend on that list is the Peugeot 3008. It's also very comfortable and has plenty of standard kit even on the basic model. It has more passenger and boot space than the Toyota, but not the same reputation for reliability. However, it is available with a diesel engine, which could be the best option for your annual mileage. Of the cars you mentioned, the Dacia is very well priced and will get great fuel economy, however it's thin sound deadening and upright shape means it suffers from road and wind noise, respectively. The Honda will get its best fuel economy in town, though should still be very efficient on the motorway. It's very comfortable and has lots of space for its size, but it is quite expensive for a small car.
Answered by Russell Campbell
Should I buy a Dacia Duster Bi-Fuel LPG?
"I'm thinking of buying a Dacia Duster. The salesperson at the dealer has told me there is a new LPG version of the Duster. What do you think about the Bi-Fuel Duster? Should I buy one?"
It probably depends whether you live close to (or regularly pass) an LPG filling station. If you do, you'll soon recoup the cost of the Bi-Fuel model over a standard Duster. It'll be cheaper to run and won't hinder practicality.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best fault code scanner?
"Which diagnostic scanner is best for a Dacia Duster?"
This one is very well-liked, but read the info to make sure it'll do what you want: https://amzn.to/32ED69j
Answered by Georgia Petrie
I need a spacious SUV or pick-up. Would my low mileage rule out a diesel vehicle?
"I'm looking for a reliable 4x4 that has lots of storage. I mainly do quite low mileage so a DPF is a concern unless you can advise how I may manage this. I would be open to either and SUV or pickup but basically need plenty of space, good off-road capability and reliable. My budget is approximately £30,000 and I'd consider new or used."
Those low-miles will rule out diesel. The DPF will not take kindly to lots of short runs from cold: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/what-is-a-dpf-and-does-your-car-have-one/ If you plan to use the car off-road, you'll need a 4x4 with lots of ground clearance. Something like the Dacia Duster or Suzuki Vitara would be good options. Both are available with four-wheel drive and petrol power. They will also have a lot of boot space, too.
Answered by Dan Powell

What does a Dacia Duster (2018) cost?