Dacia Duster Ambience dCi 110

| February 23, 2013 | 0 Comments


Urban SUV’s are more common today than Estuary English, particularly since Nissan launched the Qashqai & every other manufacturer followed suit. However, a top of the range Qashqai N-Tec cost around £20,000 & other SUV’s from Honda & Ford more, with the likes of BMW & Audi over £30,000 & many don’t even offer 4WD.
Dacias new Duster offers a cut priced alternative to these, with an entry level model Access starting at just £8995 for the 2WD version. As with the Sandero, most UK customers will want either the mid specced Ambience or range topping Laureate, where a real 4WD version with all the bells & whistles would set you back  around £15,450, substantially cheaper than the opposition.
Unlike it’s sister the Sandero, the exterior of the Duster is quite attractive, merging a Nissan X Trail to a Nissan Qashqai & almost getting away with it. Because it’s  going to be used for more rigorous activities than the Sandero, especially in 4X4 guise, the simply designed grey & black interior will score highly with those like my immediate neighbours, who own two dogs & two horses & are forever ‘cleaning’ their existing luxury 4X4. The Duster won’t look half as bad when it’s dirty Gary as a Mercedes ML. Seriously though, it’s quite a sensible car for the outdoors type at a bargain bucket price & should do well with those who actually use a 4WD rather than pose in one.
Sorry to keep harping back to the Sandero, but the Duster too has a simply laid out dashboard with no frills attached. The build quality does feel superior in the Duster over the Sandero & it would seem to me anyway that Renault realise that the city SUV market in the UK being buoyant, is one that they can really attack with the Duster, which will be music to the ears of the UK Renault dealer network.
The cabin is roomy & airy & there’s a shallow boot compared to he Qashqai as my test car came with an internally located full sized wheel in it. As two passing pedestrians who happened to see me looking in the boot said, ” That’s a surprise. “
Out & about it’s easy to drive with a very soft “French’ feel to the suspension, as well as comfortable seats. The power steering is light & it’s an easy car to manouver.  In a straight line it reaches 62 mph in 12.5 seconds, but feels slower. The fuel figures aren’t bad either, with a combined of 53.3 mpg & emissions of 137g/km, again a tribute to Renaults diesel technology. This is a car that actually looks & feels good to drive & in reality is much closer to the more expensive SUV’s than I had expected it to be.
It would be hard to say that the Duster is a serious competitor to for example the Qashqai. Our company car is a Qashqai & although it’s 1.6 petrol engine is massively underpowered & it rarely returns more than 32 mpg, it’s streets ahead inside with far higher build quality & much nicer switches & buttons. The Dusters heating controls for example, are stiff as can be & only twist  with some serious effort. Still, for my test car the Ambiance with 4WD at just £13,495 what’s to complain about. This is cheap motoring at it’s best & I think that the Duster deserves to do well.
It’s not going to set the world alight but will certainly ruffle a few feathers 2.5/5.

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Category: Dacia

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