Ahead of its eagerly awaited arrival to Irish shores in January 2013, I took a brief test drive recently in the Dacia Duster. Customers can take a test drive in the Duster at their local Dacia dealership prior to January. The talking point about this new model has been centred on its price, with a starting price of just €14,990 it’s clear to see why. The Duster offers a healthy dose of comfort, practicality and economical motoring for a very fair price. So what do you get for your money? The Dacia Duster comes equipped with a 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine offering 110hp. It’s available as a 4×2 and a 4×4 with the 4×2 obtainable across two trim specifications, Alternative and Signature, whilst the 4×4 comes in Signature guise solely. Both variants are seated in tax band B, with €225 annual road. The entry-level Alternative Duster comes adequately equipped with items such as Bluetooth connectivity, usb and a multi-function steering wheel all included. The Signature model benefits from 16” alloys, heated door mirrors, air conditioning and satin chrome roof rails and door handles. Impressively, all models are fitted with ABS and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) as standard.
I had a short drive of the 4×4 Duster, mostly off-road, where it proved to be an extremely capable vehicle. The vast majority of motorists won’t venture off-road in their Duster, but if they do it’s more than capable of crossing obstacles in its path. The cabin is spacious and functional. With the rear seats folded flat there’s 1,636 litres of load space on offer. The six-speed manual transmission is short and direct whilst the diesel engine performed adequately for the job in hand. I’ll have to wait to test drive it on the roads to get a real sense how the engine runs. Following the Duster’s launch in Ireland we’ll see further Dacia models come on stream which include, the Sandero Hatch, Sandero Cross-Over and the Grand Sandero. Dacia’s Duster offers simply value for money motoring at a time when consumers are extremely price sensitive. Dacia may be new to Ireland, but they are already established with in excess of 1.8million models sold since 2004. In 2011 they were Europe’s fastest growing car brand.