Dacia Duster TCe 150 Prestige EDC 2021 review

What is it?

Even after eight successful sales years in the UK, through two versions, the Dacia Duster still doesn’t have a direct rival. Frankly, this Romanian SUV is so damned affordable that others simply can’t match it, or would rather not try. Prices start at a still-remarkable £13,995, especially given the very deep equipment spec of even the Essential entry model.

Despite the sales success, Renault Group management has decided that it’s time for the current model to be freshened with new styling elements inside and out and some new technology, although they have taken great care to preserve everything that has brought the success up to now.

The biggest development is a new top-end powertrain, a TCe 150 petrol engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and front-wheel drive. Performance is decent: the model offers a top speed of 124mph and 0-62mph acceleration of 9.7sec, with fuel consumption of 45.8mpg.

The new Duster’s styling follows the smaller, recently revised Sandero and Sandero Stepway models in adopting an LED headlight design with distinctive, integral Y-shaped daytime-running lights. New tail-lights echo the frontal style. The grille is ‘progressed’ rather than redesigned and there’s a more prominent lower front end as well.

A new, wind-tunnel-developed rear spoiler and more aerodynamic 16in and 17in alloy wheels improve the aero performance. These tweaks, with lower-drag wheel bearings and tyres that lower rolling resistance, cut around 6g/km from the CO2 output of the one and only 4×4 Duster model, the dCi 115.

What’s it like?

Like the rest of the Dacia range, the Duster line-up is simplicity itself. There are three model levels (Essential, Comfort and Prestige) with just two options offered, metallic paint and a full-size spared wheel. All models get enhancements to their driver aids package along with a new, high-positioned centre console and a standard 8.0intouchscreen that either mirrors your phone or (in the ritzier models) offers embedded sat-nav.

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Other developments include a rise in LPG capacity (to 50 litres) for the TCe 100 bi-fuel model. Combined with the 50 litres of petrol you’re also carrying, this give you an overall touring range of close to 750 miles.

Dacia has hardly touched the suspension of the latest Duster, so it’s no surprise that the handling feels familiar. The electric power steering has been tuned to reduce lightness and give a more positive feel over 45mph, but otherwise the secure handing stays, along with a characteristic ride quality that comfortably swaps a modest amount of bounce on rough surfaces for uncomfortable jolts. The Duster’s quietness over bumps, particularly, belies its low price.


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