When it made its first appearance at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and subsequently onto our forecourts in 2013, the Dacia Duster was expected to sell in modest numbers. With its pricing, internal space and Nissan/Renault underpinnings it has charmed its way into some twelve and a half thousand Irish driveways – the people have voted.
It is what can only be described as an honest car, one that offers function, space and decent equipment without flattery. With diesels now being seriously revaluated and replaced, the Duster now comes with a TCe130 petrol engine that produces 130bhp, a tad livelier than the previous and unfortunately demanding an annual road tax of €570, which may dissuade potential customers. Other choices of the TCe100, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol or the diesel 1.5dCi are more road tax friendly.
The Duster is available in four-wheel-drive in Comfort and Prestige grades, and is surprisingly good out among the giggle-weeds, making it a definite option for those with the need to go agricultural or who live in hilly areas which are subject to the worst of our weather.
My TechRoad test car offers generous equipment including navigation with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus a reversing camera. The TechRoad Special Editions feature new interior trims and a choice of two new metallic paint colours – Fusion Red and Highland Grey.
Format: Crossover, with 5-doors + 5-seats
Trim Levels: Essential, Comfort, Prestige and TechRoad
Test Model: TechRoad
Engine: TCe130 – 1.2litre petrol turbo
Engine Range: TCe100, dCi115
Transmission: 6-Speed manual
Drive: front wheel drive
Tax Band: D
Annual Road Tax: €570
Boot Space: 445 litres (1,623litres with the rear seats folded).
Starting Price – Essential Grade - €17,990
Test model price €23,040
Euro NCAP rating: 3-star
Warranty: 3-Year, 100,000 kilometres.
Some of the Competition
Renault Captur, Skoda Kamiq, Citroen C4 Cactus, Fiat Panda, Suzuki Vitara, KIA Stonic
This 2020 Duster is all grown up, not in size, but in maturity, with up to date touches and a more confident look about it. It is what it is and you have to remind yourself that this close to four and a half metre car is priced at €17,990 for the entry level model - still impressive.
My test car, the TechRoad Special has clean lines, a nice face, dressed in Fusion Red, wind deflectors on the windows, faux air vents on each wing, LED Daytime Running Lights, roof rails, privacy glass, LED at the rear and standing on very pleasing 17” ‘Diamond-cut’ alloys.
The Duster stands tall, without requiring any great stretch to enter or leave and when the buying trend here in Ireland is for Crossover-type vehicles, the Duster is bang in tune. This new Duster has improved in every aspect of its original offering, with a better interior, quieter on-road, more efficient engines and overall appearance.
My TechRoad greets me on the inside with a leather steering wheel, red-piped trim on the seats and a clean, airy ambience. The drivers console is clear and informative, while the centre gives access to the now familiar entertainment and comfort menus, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto easily accessed via plugging into the USB.
Convenience items like keyless entry, climate control, rear view camera and sensors elevate the TechRoad. There is room for five within and the 445litre cargo room in the boot was easily sufficient to accommodate our monthly shop to replenish our domestic consumables.
TechRoad Additional specification:
· 17” ‘Diamond-cut’ alloy wheels
· Cruise control
· Electric front windows
· MediaNav touchscreen navigation
· Multi-view camera –
· Keyless Entry –
· Climate Control –
· Blind Spot warning
· Heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors
· TechRoad upholstery – floor mats and door mirrors with red stitching – Red trim around the dashboard, dials, air vents and gear stick
· TechRoad badging and decal lower trim tripping.
The Duster again does not pretend to be anything but what it is, a reasonably priced mobile, reliable spacious family car. The driving position is decent, the seats in the TechRoad while sporty and while not overly supportive, they were comfortable over a non-stop two-hundred-kilometre journey.
Driven through the front wheels, the Duster TechRoad’s 130bhp petrol engine is sprightly when coaxed and well capable of being naughty. It handles our Irish road irregularities for the most part, with due sympathy required for large ripples and monster speed-humps. It will lean into corners if your enthusiasm overrides the cars design capabilities, but keep it sensible and the Duster is pleasantly capable. It may not suit everyone, the alternative petrol engine and 1.5litre diesel
The people have spoken. They have welcomed the Dacia Duster since the first model arrived here in January 2013. This latest model continues to provide its menu of offerings that obviously appeals to the taste, not just in Ireland, but in every market it sells in. ‘Nuff said.
Tony Toner is a member of the Association of Professional Motoring Press and a voting juror on Irish Car & Irish Van of the Year.