Dacia Duster Comfort TCe 130 4x2

Dacia, coming atcha

Dan picks up his Duster - a mid-range crossover for less than an entry-level Fiesta.

Date: 20 April 2019 | Current mileage: 1279 | Claimed economy: 39.2mpg | Actual economy: 38.2mpg

If you read the title of this piece as Day-see-ah coming atcha, rather than Datch-ya coming atcha, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Dacia launched in the UK in 2013 and a series of snappy, memorable adverts featuring the Yorkshire tones of Ralph Ineson (he played Finchy from The Office and other memorable roles in Game of Thrones and Harry Potter) have been making sure that the proper way to pronounce the manufacturer’s name is hammered home: It’s Datch-ya. 

Those with long memories may remember that Dacias were sold for a time during the 1980s and early 1990s. Our friends over at Honest John Classics haven’t forgotten about those original models - like the Duster and Denem - with reviews and buying information for those who like their Dacias to come with a bit of history. Indeed, if you’re looking for something rare, those Dacias are now among the most endangered on the road. How Many Survived records show that there’s just one Denem - which is SORN’d - and just seven original Dusters, five of which are SORN’d. But over on Honest John Cars we don’t wear rust-tinted spectabled, which is why we prefer to think of today’s Dacia - which has been wholly-owned by Renault since 1999 - as a brand new company.

What those adverts also tell us is: “You do the maths” (earlier adverts encouraged us to “do the math”, but for the sake of brevity, I’m prepared to let that Americanism go). And that’s because Dacias are cheap. Very cheap. The firm has managed to plug the gap that has opened up with Kia and Hyundai going upmarket and the likes of Chevrolet, Daihatsu and Perodua being discontinued in the UK. It currently has the honour of selling Britain’s cheapest car: The £6995 Sandero. And although in reality you’re likely to opt for one of the more expensive models, you’re unlikely to pay much more than £9,000. 

Dacia -Duster -2

Cheap Sanderos got people’s attention, but it’s the Duster that’s really got buyers thinking about trying a Dacia - it has been the right car at the right time. Just as more people are trading in their conventional hatchbacks and estates for crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage, Dacia has something very similar for rather less money. The first generation model sold well, right from the start and now this new model - launched in the middle of 2018 - is aiming to win over more buyers with improved refinement and more up-to-date kit, while retaining that eye-catching price tag.

Duster prices start at a shade under £10,000, but like that Sandero, you’re more likely to opt for one that’s not a stripped-out and ultra-basic. That’s why I’ve gone for the Duster Comfort TCe 130 4x2, which has a list price of £14,400. Add metallic paint (£495) and an emergency spare wheel (£150) and that squeaks over £15k to £15,045. To put that in perspective, this mid-range full crossover with a decent spec costs less than a base-spec Fiesta. 

What does that buy you? Well, there’s everything that modern car buyers will expect to see and a few things that may even raise an eyebrow at this price. So there’s the expected kit like air conditioning, electric front and rear windows, bluetooth connectivity, trip computer (range, average speed, fuel used etc), leather steering wheel, armrest, cruise control, remote central locking and 16-inch alloy wheels, but also a rear parking camera and sensors, satellite navigation and DAB digital radio.

Power comes in the form of a 1.3-litre TCe petrol engine with 130PS and a six-speed gearbox. Official figures are 41.5-39.2mpg (WLTP) and CO2 output is 139g/km. 0-62mph is achieved in 11.1 seconds and it has a top speed of 118mph.

From our Owner Reviews, I can see that this is a car that HonestJohn.co.uk readers really rate. Owners rave about it and five star ratings are generous thrown around. Its stablemate - the Logan MCV - won the Most Rated category for most satisfied owners at the Honest John Awards 2017 and Duster owners are similarly impressed. I’ll come back to their thoughts in future updates and I’m looking forward to finding out for myself about what it’s like to live with one.