Dacia Duster Review 2024

Dacia Duster At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
A brand new Dacia Duster or a four-year-old Vauxhall Grandland X? If that's the quandry you're facing, we'll cut to the chase: buy the Dacia Duster.

+Incredible value for money. Spacious interior. Efficient petrol, diesel and bi-fuel engines. Strong performance in HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index.

-Interior feels a bit downmarket. You might struggle to find LPG. Mainstream rivals are better to drive.

New prices start from £9,995
Insurance Groups are between 10–22
On average it achieves 89% of the official MPG figure

It might not be the sub-£10,000 SUV it once was, but the Dacia Duster continues to offer exceptional value for money in an increasingly expensive sector. Prices start from around £14,000 – and for that, you get an awful lot of physical car for your money. Our Dacia Duster review explains all...

The Dacia Duster is an affordable SUV that's similar in size to the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. However, it significantly undercuts them when it comes to price. 

Indeed, compare the Dacia Duster to small SUVs like the Ford Puma or Volkswagen T-Cross and it still looks good value.

The closest cheapest SUV is probably the SsangYong Tivoli and MG ZS – but even they struggle to offer as much for your money as the Dacia Duster.

So, what's the catch? As the old adage goes, do you get what you pay for? In some respects, yes.

The interior does without any of the soft-touch finishes or plush materials you get in mainstream competitors – it looked dated even when the second-generation Dacia Duster first went on sale in 2018. Time hasn't been kind, but Dacia has made various updates over the years to keep the Dacia Duster vaguely fresh.

There are now just three Dacia Duster trim levels to choose from, namely Essential, Comfort and Prestige. Even the most affordable model (the Dacia Duster Essential) comes with things like a radio, cruise control and air conditioning as standard – not something that could be said about the old Dacia Duster.

You'll have to upgrade to the Dacia Duster Comfort for features like alloy wheels and a new-for-2021 eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

You can't buy an electric Dacia Duster (the MG ZS EV is an affordable electric SUV, if that's what you're after), but you do get a choice of petrol or diesel power.

Oh, and there's even a Dacia Duster Bi-Fuel model, combining LPG with petrol power. That's a strange move when the rest of the world is moving towards electric but, with LPG roughly half the price of petrol, it could save you a surprising amount of money.

All Dacia Duster models will be pretty cheap to run, while reliability ought to be pretty good, too – indeed, HonestJohn.co.uk readers ranked Dacia top in the latest Satisfaction Index – suggesting Dacia Duster owners are generally very happy with their cars.

Performance can be a little lethargic – particularly from the most affordable models – but the Dacia Duster 1.3-litre TCe petrol (available in 130 and 150 forms) will be punchy enough for most SUV buyers.

And if you wish to venture off road, look for a Dacia Duster dCi 115 diesel 4x4 – it's not quite a true off-roader like the Suzuki Jimny, but snowy rural roads won't be an issue.

Overall, the Dacia Duster is a very likeable small SUV. Its interior quality lets it down compared to mainstream competitors like the Skoda Karoq, but it feels well made and offers a huge amount of space for the money.

It won't suit everyone but, with prices for a brand new model starting from £14,000, it's a very impressive family car for the price of a city runaround.

Ask Honest John

How safe is the new Dacia Duster?

"I am told that the Dacia Duster was tested by Euro NCAP in 2017 and received a three-star rating, with a 71% score for adult occupant protection, 66% for child occupant protection, 56% for pedestrian protection and a 37% safety assist score. What do you think the score for the new model will be? Has the safety improved in your estimation? I like your review of the car but I will only buy a car with a 5 star NCAP rating or a very high score the the occupants."
The new Dacia Duster has yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, but we would expect its safety score to improve over the outgoing model both in terms of crash performance and the safety systems available.
Answered by David Ross

Is the Dacia Duster expensive to service and repair?

"I understand that French cars are complicated and expensive to work on, often requiring specialised tools. Since a Dacia Duster is basically a rebadged Renault will it be cheap to buy but expensive to service and repair?"
Although Dacia shares much of its components with Renault, there has been a great deal more commonality of parts across brands in recent years and French cars require much less of the specialist equipment they once might have done. The Dacia Duster was also placed 10th overall in the Honest John Satisfaction Survey, with high scores for both reliability and build quality, so it should prove to be inexpensive to run and maintain
Answered by David Ross

I need a new car without lots of gadgets but space for dogs. What would you suggest?

"Can you recommend a new car with as few gadgets as possible but space for dogs and lots of fishing gear. Doesn't need to be 4wd but ground clearance required, and switching off seat belt beeping required as lots of riverbank work. Diesel or petrol preferred, auto preferred."
If it's simplicity you're looking for then we would suggest looking at a Dacia. The Duster, Jogger or Sandero are still relatively inexpensive to buy, and if you go for the lowest spec version available they do without most of the gadgets you mention, but still have nice essentials such as air conditioning.
Answered by David Ross

Small new car capable to be used seriously off road in all weathers, what are my options?

"I want to buy a Suzuki Jimny 5 door but it is not coming to the UK. There really is a need for a small off road vehicle at a sensible price for farmers and many others. Is there an alternative vehicle now or in the future?"
If the three-door Jimny is not suitable there are limited options for small 4x4s that would be suitable for serious off-road work. The most obvious option would be the Dacia Duster 4x4, which is one of the cheapest on the market. It has selectable four-wheel-drive and a hardy interior, and with a good set of off-road tyres it will go a long way off-road. If you need something with more ground clearance you might have to look at something a little larger, such as the Jeep Renegade or Wrangler.
Answered by David Ross
More Questions

What does a Dacia Duster cost?