Dacia Duster Review 2022

Dacia Duster At A Glance

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 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 88% 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.

Similar in size to the Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage, the Dacia Duster significantly undercuts even small SUV like the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Cross in terms of price. The closest cheapest SUV is probably the SsangYong Tivoli and MG ZS – but even they struggle to offer as much bang for your buck.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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

When does the cam belt need changing on my Dacia Duster?
"I have just been told and shown on the computer at main dealer that the cam belt on my Dacia Duster should be changed at 72,000 miles or six years - is this right?"
This is the manufacturer's recommended cam belt change schedule. If the belt fails before that mileage/age then you will be 100 per cent liable for the cost of a replacement engine. That's why I always err on the side of caution and recommend a cam belt change at five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first). The water pump will also need to be replaced at the same time.
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I choose winter tyres or a car with 4WD?
"I travel a snowy/icy route to work over the Pennines. I am debating between a Peugeot 2008 with Grip Control with all season tyres or winter tyres or a Dacia Duster with selectable 4WD mode I'm considering buying a petrol 2019 2008 for £15,000 or purchasing a new Duster diesel 4x4 for £20,500."
Winter tyres trump the lot and will be all you need, especially on a car with Grip Control. That said, they'll not perform well in summer so you'll need space to store another set of wheels or tyres. A 2008 with all-season tyres will still be better than a four-wheel Duster on summer rubber.
Answered by Russell Campbell
Should I buy a Dacia Duster?
"What are your thoughts about the Dacia Duster? Ideally, the 1.5 diesel 4x4."
Basic but likeable. The Dacia is nice to drive, offers excellent value and although its diesel engine is unrefined, it is economical on fuel.
Answered by Russell Campbell
What should we replace our Kia Venga with?
"We want to replace our Kia Venga as the warranty has expired. It's a great car but now too expensive for us to stay with Kia. Our budget is limited, we don't want PCP and do want a long warranty. My husband and son are both 6 foot 3 inches and I'm 5ft 10. Size wise - what could you recommend we look at please? Is the MG ZS or a Dacia Duster worth looking at and which is better size wise? "
I would personally go for the Duster which starts from £2,000 less than the MG and has stronger residuals. One area the MG ZS wins out on is warranty - it is covered for seven years/80,000 miles versus the Dacia's three-year/60,000mile cover. That said, you would be able to extend the Dacia's warranty and still spend less than if you bought the MG. Choosing a car is a very personal thing, but I prefer the rugged appearance of the Duster and its more comfortable ride. I'm 6ft 2" and have loads of room inside. That said, the Duster's boot is smaller than the MG's but only by 3 litres. Here are our reviews of the cars: Dacia: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/dacia/duster-2018/ MG: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/mg/zs-2017/
Answered by Russell Campbell
More Questions

What does a Dacia Duster cost?