Favourites
Dacia Duster Review logo

Dacia Duster Review

Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster
Dacia Duster

1/10

Dacia Duster

2/10

Dacia Duster

3/10

Dacia Duster

4/10

Dacia Duster

5/10

Dacia Duster

6/10

Dacia Duster

7/10

Dacia Duster

8/10

Dacia Duster

9/10

Dacia Duster

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, LPG
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Cheap and cheerful family crossover

Best bits

  • Very affordable crossover SUV
  • More practical than a Focus-sized hatchback
  • Some will love its no-nonsense approach

Not so great

  • The cheapest models are more basic than Duplo
  • Less refined than mainstream alternatives
  • Its three-star safety rating lets it down

Read by

Dacia Duster Front

Overall verdict

Dacia Duster Interior

On the inside

Dacia Duster Driving

Driving

Dacia Duster Front

How much does it cost to run

Dacia Duster Media Screen

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Dacia Duster

"The Dacia Duster is so cheap, it’s guaranteed to grab your attention on the used market. And it’s not a bad car. It’s comfortable, practical and won’t cost you a fortune to run. Unfortunately, it’s easy to see where costs have been cut, and you’ll need at least a mid-spec model to avoid giving the kids a harsh lesson in austerity. Entry-level models don’t even come with a radio."

Dacia Duster Front

Just like budget brand food items at the supermarket, the Dacia Duster does almost exactly the same job as more expensive alternatives but with less of the fuss. There’s no fancy packaging and it certainly won’t impress your neighbours, but the Duster is a versatile crossover SUV that offers plenty of space for not a lot of cash.


You may not be familiar with Dacia (how’ve you missed the TV ads?!), but the firm’s been selling cars in the UK for several years now. It’s Renault’s budget brand, meaning it shares many parts (including engines) with Renault models, while the Duster is based on the same platform as the previous-generation Captur.


Dacia models are produced in Romania and sold in the UK through no-nonsense dealers that don’t negotiate on price. What you see is what you pay. You can save money by looking at the used market, though, where Dacias are significantly cheaper than mainstream alternatives.


That means you can pick up a much newer Duster rather than something like a Kia Sportage. It even looks cheap alongside smaller crossovers like the Suzuki Vitara and Nissan Juke. It’s a similar approach to that taken by the likes of the SsangYong Tivoli and MG ZS.


The Duster is an ideal choice if you put practicality above things like brand image. There’s plenty of room inside, with a generous amount of headroom and space for three adults in the rear. The boot is bigger than you’d get in something like a Volkswagen Golf and access is easy.


While standard equipment is lacking on more affordable trim levels (you don’t even get a radio on the entry-level Access), mid-range models come with everything you need and nothing you don’t. High-spec and special edition models make little sense, really, as they cost more money yet still don’t feel as well-finished as mainstream alternatives.


To drive, the Duster continues its function over form approach. It’s refreshingly soft, with a wallowing suspension which skips (rather than crashes) over bumps in the road. You can choose from petrol or diesel engines - and there’s even an LPG option. The 1.3-litre TCe 130 petrol is by far the best all-rounder, though, combining excellent refinement with low running costs.


The Duster’s biggest weakness is the three-star result it achieved when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2017. Being a basic model, it lacks many preventative safety systems we take for granted in new cars today, such as lane-assist and autonomous emergency braking features.


We would say you get what you pay for but, in reality, the Duster does better than that. It represents very good value for money, offering a huge amount of practicality and a not-unpleasant driving experience. It won’t suit everyone, but the Duster still holds plenty of appeal for the right kind of buyer.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Dacia Duster (2012-2015) review.


Is the Dacia Duster right for you?

If you’d ordinarily be looking at a value hatchback like a Vauxhall Astra but the versatility of a crossover SUV appeals, the Dacia Duster is a good choice. It’s considerably cheaper than mainstream rivals like the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai - and that’s evident in so many areas. It lacks the polish of these alternatives and the most affordable models are about as basic as you can get in a modern car today.


Still, it’s got a functional interior with plenty of space. It should handle day-to-day abuse fairly well, and it’s refreshingly comfortable in its approach thanks to its soft, wallowy suspension. 


What’s the best Dacia Duster model/engine to choose?

We’d recommend the Dacia Duster in Comfort trim. This is the best combination of value and, well, comfort. It comes with all the features most buyers will want to make day-to-day driving more bearable - a navigation system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a rear-view camera and cruise control.


The majority of buyers will find the 1.3-litre TCe 130 engine suits their needs best. It’s economical and good to drive, with peppy performance and good refinement levels. Avoid the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol, while the bi-fuel models are a waste of time and money. The 1.5-litre DCi is fine if you absolutely must have a diesel, but it’s not very refined.


What other cars are similar to the Dacia Duster?

If a Dacia Duster is on your shortlist, we’d also recommend the SsangYong Tivoli. Like the Duster, this is another affordable crossover that most car buyers won’t have heard of. Unlike the Duster, it comes with a seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty which can be passed onto successive owners. 


You should also consider the MG ZS. While, if you don’t need the practicality, look at smaller, mainstream alternatives like the Suzuki Vitara, Renault Captur and Ford EcoSport. You could also get a slightly older Kia Sportage, Jeep Renegade or Nissan Qashqai for the money. 


Learn more

Dacia Duster Interior

On the inside

Dacia Duster Driving

Driving

Dacia Duster Front

How much does it cost to run

Dacia Duster Media Screen

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Who makes Dacia engines?

Dacia has been owned by Groupe Renault since 1999 so despite being a Romanian brand, all its engines, both petrol and diesel, are borrowed from Renault and can be found in various Renault models such as the Clio and Captur.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

Who makes the Dacia Duster?

The Duster is produced jointly by the Renault and its Romanian subsidiary Dacia. In certain markets it is badged the Renault Duster while in others, such as the UK, it is known as the Dacia Duster. It is built in Romania.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Are Dacia Dusters reliable?

Dacia models may be cheap but they use proven parts from Renault and the Duster has proved surprisingly reliable mechanically with very few problems reported. In the 2020 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, Dacia was placed 6th ahead of Porsche and BMW.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

You’ve picked a favourite! Now keep up to date with the latest updates, offers and news.

By submitting, you agree to our privacy policy.