Dacia Duster Road Test (2013)

Dacia Sandero (Interior View) (2013)

Dacia Duster Review

Dacia Duster ReviewDacia Duster Review  | Part Two

Disappointingly the Duster scored only three stars in the Euro NCAP crash test programme, which is undeniably poor compared with so many modern cars that manage a top level five-star rating.

Comfort and Refinement

This isn’t the most comfortable car on the road, but then again it offers very acceptable levels of comfort for the money. The seats are supportive, although there is not a great deal of spring or ‘give’ in them. You sit high up as in any SUV, and the steering wheel adjusts for height to let you tailor the driving position, but there is no in-out adjustment that would help to personalise it even more to your size. With the most basic Access trim you get fixed-height front seat belts, so if possible it is worth going for mid-level Ambiance trim or the top-spec Laureate like our test car, because both of these come with height-adjustable belts.

Back seat passengers get rather firmly-cushioned seats that may start to feel a bit hard on a long trip. On the plus side, though, there is plenty of headroom and knee-space. Six-footers can ride in the back of the Duster without feeling squashed.

Refinement is pretty reasonable, especially for a car at the budget end of the market. It isn’t raucous or rattley, you can hear the engine at work without it seeming irksome. There is a bit of wind noise and some tyre noise at speed, although less than we expected in such a modestly priced SUV.

Safety and Security

Disappointingly the Duster scored only three stars in the Euro NCAP crash test programme, which is undeniably poor compared with so many modern cars that manage a top level five-star rating. Also, it doesn't have the array of electronic aids that assist more expensive models in collision avoidance. The car does impress as quite strongly-built though, and the elevated seating means that you are just that bit higher in the driving seat than most of the traffic, so have a chance of spotting potential trouble ahead just that vital second or so sooner.

There are four airbags as standard kit, front and side ones for the driver and front passenger. The car's group 11 insurance rating on the ABI Thatcham scale recognises that its safety and security are at a very acceptable level.


Standard equipment on the Dacia is pretty reasonable, and better than you might expect for such a budget model. It comes with a radio, roof bars, electric front windows, and smart body-coloured bumpers. This Laureate trim model also has standard air conditioning, alloy wheels and a leather steering wheel.

  • Kia Sportage
  • Nissan QASHQAI
  • Skoda Yeti
What We Liked
  • Bargain price, big on value for money
  • All competitors dearer
  • Rugged and capable
  • Good-performance, refined diesel engine
  • Tidy driving manners
  • Comfortable ride
  • Roomy luggage capacity
  • Very upright rear end styling makes reversing easy to judge
  • Comes with standard roof-rails
  • Four-wheel-drive version also available
What We Disliked
  • Body leans a bit on the bends
  • Clutter around the rear pillars restricts rear-quarter view
  • Some interior plastics look and feel a bit cut-price
  • It only scored three stars in Euro NCAP testing
  • Nobody knows how to say the name, it not ‘day-seer’, it’s ‘dar-cha’
What We Would Like To See
  • More of these on the road. It's a bargain buy and deserves to do well

There is no doubting this Dacia's Duster's value for money. The Duster is stonking good value, a lot of car for your cash. It's a decent performer, roomy and practical, and nothing else of a similar nature can touch it at the price. It's not badly equipped, either, and has very reasonable economy for a tallish SUV. If you need this kind of car and have a tight budget, look at one of these before anything else.

7 May 2013 Sue Baker
Dacia Duster ReviewDacia Duster Review  | Part Two
Dacia Duster Road Test Data
Model ReviewedDacia Duster Laureate dCi
Body Type5-door SUV
ColourArgentum Silver
Performance (manufacturers data) 
0 - 62 mph11.8 Seconds
Top Speed 106 mph
Transmission6-Speed Manual
Fuel TypeDiesel
CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures) g/km
Economy (NEDC Figures) 
Urban49.6 mpg
Extra Urban61.4 mpg
Combined56.5 mpg
Insurance Group11
Euro NCAP Rating3 Stars
Warranty3 Years / 60,000 Miles
Price (when tested on the 07/05/13)£12,995

The information contained within this Dacia Duster review may have changed since publication on the 7 May 2013. The actual model road tested may feature options and functionality specific to that model, which may not be available as on option or be fitted to other models in the range. Options may not be available on UK specification cars. You may wish to check with your local Dacia dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce this car review in full or part, in any format without our written permission. carpages.co.uk © 2018