Dacia Duster – quality doesn’t need to cost the earth#Daciaduster
Posted by Ian Lamming on Monday, 17 September 2018
THERE comes a point in life where you just get sick of paying through the nose; I think I’ve reached that point.
When was the last time you even looked at the price of a car? If you are like me, you just have a succession of PCPs paying out hundreds of pounds a month. And when the gloss rubs off, what are you left with? Just another bill to pay.
It is time to think; just what do you want from life and what do you want from a car? Well, this is what I want. Peace of mind, money in the bank and a value for money motor.
Please welcome then the brand new Dacia Duster, my new best friend.
Strangely, according to Dacia dealers, the prevalent customer is not simply someone looking for a bargain because the demands on the purse are so pronounced. No, existing customers are simply discerning, recognising a good investment, which is probably why their finances remain healthily in the black.
Other brands have done Dacia a great service. Over the years the sneering have learned not to laugh at Skoda, Kia and SsangYong because the jokes quickly fall upon them. In the same way, Dacia suffers little from badge snobbery and stigma, mainly because few people even know what the Dacia badge is, let alone how to pronounce it (it’s Dasha by the way, like a sneeze).
It may be the national car maker of Romania but under the skin it lends more to Renault than anything else and just look at the price.
We have been in a period of austerity for the past ten years and with Brexit around the corner it is hard to see it ending any time too. So why not have a punt at the entry level £9,995.00 or go all out for a top of the range Duster which weighs in at a feather-light £17,395.00. I’ve spent more on fois gras.
What do you get for that? Well, in my opinion, a fine looking, beautifully proportioned, well built SUV. Can I be cheeky and suggest from the back it’s a little Jeep-esque and from the front a tad Land Rover?
There are boldly flared wheel arches, great ride height and butch bash plates front and aft. Big alloys and a lustrous paint job finish off Duster to great effect.
Inside is excellent too. There’s a squarish touch screen, featuring excellent satnav which bings and bongs warnings to keep your licence clean. Engage reverse and it becomes a multi-view camera. Everything else is rounded off; airvents, aircon and electric mirror controls. Soft-touch switches are well placed and feel well made, in fact the whole interior ambience is one of high quality which defies the cheap price.
Trim and fabrics look and feel good too; there is nothing at all to hint at austerity, except the modest price-tag.
Practicality is excellent as well. The cabin is spacious, seats supportive and well shaped and the boot a useful size.
It couldn’t be better to drive either. It is refined, smooth and the ride is really good feeling both controlled and comfortable.
Whether you go for petrol or diesel variant, the gearbox is slick, the clutch is light and the performance is peppy. What more could you want?
Dacia is a car of the times. It doesn’t apologise for the state of the global economy, it revels in it and so are an increasing number of very wise owners who have reached the same point as me.
Engine: 1.6 petrol/1.5 turbo diesel
0-62mph: 11/12 secs
Top speed: 106/104mph
Combined MPG: 41.5-64.4
Transmission: five and six-speed manual/six speed auto
CO2 g/km: 115-158
Price: From £9,995.00 to £17,395.00