2019 Dacia Duster SUV review – the best family SUV for a tight budget? | What Car?

2019 Dacia Duster SUV review – the best family SUV for a tight budget? | What Car?

So here’s a question, what’s the cheapest
new SUV you can buy in the UK? SUVs are currently all the rage,
so surely one that combines the go anywhere styling, with the practicality of an SUV
and a low low price is on to a winner? Step in, the Dacia Duster. The Duster is the Sandero hatchbacks’ beefier
cousin, and since the Sandero has picked up a
plethora of What Car? Awards over the years, our hopes are high for this second
generation Duster. And it needs to be good because, although it costs a great
deal less to buy than rivals such as the SEAT Ateca and Nissan Qashqai, buyers
will be pitching it against these cars in their heads. So has Dacia done enough to compete
with the big boys? In this review, we’ll tell you what it’s
like to drive, how spacious it is, how easy it is to live with, and remember if
at the end you’re interested in buying one go to Whatcar.com and go to our New
Car Deals section where we can help save you thousands. First though let’s take it for a drive. Dacia takes a refreshingly
simple approach to most things, and engine range is included in that.
There’s two to choose from, one petrol which is a 1.6 and one diesel which is a 1.5. The 1.6 petrol is not the most refined or
potent petrol engine out there,
however when driving around town it’s got enough power and it’s also fairly
good on fuel. The only downside is that if you really want to get going
you have to really push it, and when you do it still feels utterly gutless. So if you do a lot
of motorway miles it’s probably not going to suit you. If you do rack up those miles then the
1.5 diesel could be the one for you. It’s a lot more powerful and it’s still
very efficient, but on the downside it’s more expensive to buy and
it also sends a bit of a vibration through the cabin. In terms of gearboxes there’s no automatic
available. The petrol comes with a five-speed and the diesel gets a six-speed box. Now the Dusters’ guilty little secret is
that it’s actually based on the old Renault Clio. So ride comfort and the
suspension can feel old-fashioned, and you particularly notice this on the motorway. If you go for a version with 4-wheel
drive, then you get more sophisticated suspension which improves comfort, but
these models also cost more to buy. That said 4×4 SUVs don’t come any cheaper
than this! Around town, the Dusters’ small
wheels and large tires help to iron out lumps and bumps in the road, it doesn’t
feel quite as composed on faster country roads though.
The Duster handles predictably well when it comes to everyday driving conditions.
It’s soft suspension does mean that there’s a
bit of lean in the corners and the steering can feel a bit stodgy.
That’s not a problem when driving around town but come out onto these faster country roads
and the Duster doesn’t really want to change direction very quickly. The old Duster scored poorly when it came
to refinement, and while there’s still a
fair bit of wind and road noise on offer, in this latest version it is an
improvement. Both engines can be noisy if
you work them hard too, and especially the petrol. If you’re looking for the high up
driving position that traditional SUV drivers get, then you’re in luck because
you definitely get that with the Duster. It might be difficult to get a
comfortable driving position though, because although the seat adjusts plenty
and the steering wheel adjust for reach and rake, unlike the previous generation.
There is nowhere to rest your clutch foot! These seats are more comfortable too,
because there’s more padding and bolstering than the previous generation,
and if you like simplicity, you will love this dash because there’s chunky rotary
controls, and the stereo buttons are very basic as well. Unfortunately while it looks simple,
the material choices on offer in here are the biggest betrayal of Dacia’s
budget origins. Putting it nicely, there’s no getting away from the
fact that the Duster has been built to a price. So don’t expect the kind of plush
soft plastics you’ll find on more expensive rivals. Obviously though none of that will be an
issue if you view your Duster as a utilitarian workhorse. You get a good view out the front of
your Duster, but unfortunately the upswept rear windows and thick pillars
do hinder the rear view somewhat, and if you’d like parking aids, you need to go
for the Comfort trim because that gets you front & rear parking sensors, and a
reversing camera. Now if you go for the entry level “Access”
model, the interior does feel quite Spartan and you don’t even get a radio for company! Step up to “Essential” trim though and you
get Bluetooth, a radio, USB socket, and
auxiliary in. Step up again to “Comfort” trim though, and you get a seven-inch
infotainment screen which is touchscreen and sat-nav built in.
But it all does feel quite dated though in terms of its features and graphics. When it comes to the space in the front
of the Duster, there’s plenty of room, unless you’re well over 6 foot tall.
In which case you may find there’s not quite enough legroom because there’s slightly less
than compared to its rivals. Another annoying feature – or lack of – is
that there is no height adjustment on the
passenger seat, and if you go for the entry-level model there’s no height
adjustment on the driver seat either! In terms of storage, it’s pretty good
actually. We’ve got decent sized door bins that can fit this bottle of water. There’s a cupholder here, this gearstick is
very large and does get in the way somewhat,
but at least you can find it easily when you need to change gear!
There’s some more storage here and the glovebox is
average size, and we’ve got another little ledge there. Space in the rear seats is good because
there’s a decent amount of headroom, and legroom, and depending on which type of car seats you
have, you can fit three child seats across the back. If you’ve got people in the back, then the
middle seat passenger needs to put their feet on this central tunnel or straddle it,
depending on what is most comfortable. So to the boot, the Duster really
impresses here because the space is immense compared with its rivals and
even if you go for the four-wheel-drive version it only slightly eats into the
boot space. There is plenty of room for a weekly shop,
or perhaps your family luggage for a holiday, and it’s a really practical shape because
it’s wide and high, and the load lip is also very low. If you’d like to create more room you
can fold down the rear seats. If you go for the entry-level Duster, you’ll
be getting an SUV for a staggeringly low
price. Just as well then that Dacia offers a strict no haggling policy, so the price
you see in the showroom is the price you’ll pay. Even if you go for the plushy version,
it still undercuts its rivals by quite a lot, and residual values are
pretty good. The diesels cost more to buy than the
petrols, and if you go for four-wheel drive, they also cost considerably more. Our advice is to avoid the headline-grabbing
“Access” model and go instead for the “Essential” trim, which adds: air conditioning, split
folding rear seats, and stereo controls on the steering
wheel. Higher up trims add more luxury, but also
cost more, so be wary of spending too much. Unfortunately, safety kit is where
the Duster feels well off pace, you get six airbags, but there’s no option to add
Automatic Emergency Braking, and you only get blind spot monitoring on top of the
range “Prestige” models. Overall then, the Duster doesn’t feel
like the most sophisticated car to drive, but it’s space, practicality, and low
price could be just enough to sway you. From plenty more on the Dacia Duster,
including our full online review, head to Whatcar.com, you’ll also find full
reviews of all of its rivals, and if you’re interested in buying one, head to
our New Car Deals section, where we can help save you thousands. But before you do any of that,
hit subscribe and never miss another video!


  1. But there is a dual clutch 6 speeds automatic gear box available and a smaller turbo charged petrol engine which way better than this one

  2. Me: I want to buy a Renault but don't have enough money to buy a Clio

    Salesman: Slaps the roof of a Duster "This ol' Ruster will give you more joy than a Boeing 747"

  3. To pay 150 a month an 140 on rd tax is excellent for a family that need space or two cars well let the rich or people that need to pretend their sergeant majors size is imp.me am a working man an would feel on top of the world driving around in this

  4. Lol i have a 1.2 tce petrol turbocharged engine with 125 bhp so i dont understand why there is only a 1.6 petrol and a 1.5 diesel

  5. This is not cheap in Romania, Dacia duster 2018 is very expensive in romania, for that money you can buy a newer opel in Romania.

  6. dont expect plush inside like your more expensive rivals – is this woman mental? – No i expect it to be like a Rolls fecking Royce. Can you get a proper reviewer and not this dunderhead?

  7. I don't agree with one thing. The bashing of the quality of interior plastics. They are an upgrade from the previous version, but the way more expensive competition does not offer better plastics nowdays either. The T-Roc for example is a hard plastic horror inside, the Vitara, same hard glossy plastic that always makes cracking noises over bumps or if you touch it, the Ateca, although much more expensive, still has comparable plastics in many places.

  8. I've heard this false statement too many times: 'Dacia is based on the old Renault Clio platform'. Really?
    And now of course Dacia Duster is based on Renault Clio platform. I am waiting for the new Dacia Lorry based on you guessed it …Reanult Clio.

  9. I think the bigger question is, will people prefer to buy a slightly older SUV from a quality brand? The duster has a lot going for it if you were ONLY interested in a brand new car but I can't think of any reason why someone wouldnt instead go for a 2015/16 competitor. Better quality, better engines. And some have manufacture warranties that extend to 5+ years.
    This is a biproduct of having massive market depreciations in the car values.

  10. This review is much better than carwow. An honest review of what it is, rather than comparing it to something it clearly isn't.

  11. No one need more then what the Dacia offers. The simple fact is that you don't need the f electronic gizmo's that other offer – they are useless and offered only to take the money out of you pocket!!!

  12. Starting this fall, the Duster and Sandero will have a new MediaNav system which comes with Apple/Android Car so you can listen to your Spotify or watch Youtube.


  14. If you have a farm somewhere or you spend a lot of time in the countryside. This is your best bet. For cheap as well. Love the French for seeing the potential in the brand. Thank you for that !

  15. yes next year is coming the 1.3 tce petron engine with 130 and 150 hp 🙂 like on mercedes-benz (a200 for example)

  16. I have owned the previous generation diesel 4×4 for over a year. Goes anywhere, does everything you want and more, for half the price of rival manufacturers equivalent models. Hard, easily cleaned, plastic panels are great in a workhorse vehicle. An additional bonus is that Dacia do not restrict four wheel drive to only their most prestigious trim levels. You get what you pay for and you need only pay for the options you want. Other manufacturers should take note. Quite simply, the only option for many buyers to experience owning a brand new car with exactly the specifications they want.

  17. Always like them regardless of cost so went and borrowed a new one thanks to a dealer in Brighton (Hendy). I was really impressed with it. Simple in nature and does not pretend to be something it isn't. I love the styling and it drove way better than expected. It's spacious, practical and has charm of it's own. Frankly for those of us who prefer to own their own cars (rather than leasing one) the way the market is moving towards the future, it seems silly dropping £30-50k on a premium car when soon all 2nd hand values will fall off a cliff. I'm going to wait for the 1.3 TCE with updated infotainment coming in the new year and use it for weekend adventures without worrying about leaving it parked up.

  18. The duster is hands down the best budget suv on the planet. Ive driven the new one and also the 2017 model. Drove 4×2 models on mountains, narrows passes, hills pretty much everywhere, it always felt like a 4×4 although it was a 4×2 model. Can imagine the 4×4 model. Top stuff… i even driven it in off roads in Italy spain… amazed and amazed my fellow passengers. Top car well done dacia.

  19. Funny, every other review I've read complains about boot space and slams the 4wd for losing even more…
    Any owners here skip the spare tyre?
    Also what size tyres does it use?

  20. Picking up our new Duster next week, and decided to go with the Essential Trim (petrol and same colour as the review). The reason we've picked the essential is because Google Maps is better than the sat nav it comes with, and also not really bothered about Cruise Contol. Looking forward…….

  21. I'm looking at replacing my 2005 Freelander soon. Would the duster feel any more modern or is it that dated I wouldn't feel like I'd bought a newer car ?

  22. There is this basic question: how much would you pay for a car? Duster is basic, of course, but for the right price. Add soft materials inside, electronic gizmos, more powerful engines and you will end paying 5-10 Thousand more. That brings Duster in the area of Kadjar and Qashqai. This brand is owned by Renault-Nissan and has its well defined place in the french-japanese portfolio. Negative comments are useless. Everything comes down to cost. If is was more sophisticated it would not have been at all.

  23. complaining about the gear stick… "the size of it" … kinda tell you everything about this review. who ever written the script, was an absolute knob

  24. I'm looking at buying Comfort version, but only work in a shop lol.
    I do at the moment have a Sandero Stepway 0.9 Laureate with 13 plate, and it's a damn cheap, but impressively made car!

  25. Listen, lady. This is THIRD generation! Not second! Please get your facts straight, woman!

    Other than that, nice review, though 🙂

  26. ~ This is a wonderful review – Well done WhatCar.  I've been delighted with my Duster bought new in March 2017. In that time I've travelled 38,000 miles in it. Next week I'll be taking delivery of the top of the range version with multi view cameras, in Desert Orange, with  the amazingly economical 1.5 diesel engine. I can't describe how delighted I am with my car .. One very happy Dacia customer here ..

  27. Many problems in Italy whit Motor 1.6 GPL



  28. It's wonderful that folk do car reviews on a new car, yes it should all work as advertised. But how about people doing car reviews on 10 year old cars. You know the cars that have been mechanically ignored by owners for years.

  29. When you talk about the radios you should really show photos of each model. Not just the infotainment for all of them, misleading.

  30. This is what many people want not paying too much for functions that they newer use. I thought the emergency breaking was mandatory?

  31. Oh my God! no option for automatic emergency braking or blind spot monitoring, Jesus…how will I manage?

  32. I think should make an updated review with the 130 tce petrol version, it is far superior to the 1.6. The was one point that were incorrect theres no front parking sensors with the comfort model, Which I think there should be as the bonnet is quite high being an SUV.

  33. Put prices of petrol/diesel up to $3 per litre …. lets stop poisoning children …. car immersions far worse than smoking but no health warnings on fossil cars…..

  34. I'm pretty sure they've expanded the Duster engine sizes since this video was made? Like the 1.2 and 1. Petrol engines.

  35. Here in Brazil, it has 120hp using ethanol, enough power. And cvt transmission. And even one 2.0 liters version reaching 148hp on ethanol. This time using an automatic transmission or 6 speed manual and 4×4 .

  36. An entry level car or not, no radio is completely unacceptable, it doesn't cost that much to put it that you can't then pass onto the consumer. Idiotic decision, shit car.

  37. Dacia become a dangerous reliable brand . They are cheap and don't break soon .I see expensive cars waiting on M25 for recovery ,now that painful when you pay 40-50 thousands

  38. It`s a practical little beast,yea I say little beast cause it got the potential for it 😉 also less electric crap inside so there`s nothing really big to be worried about that it`ll go bad in the future. This is what I can call a car. Might not be as "safe" as the latest Audi,BMW or Mercedes SUV`s but hey,it`s not here for that,it`s here for the work and mileage,if you get the diesel that is 😛 I enjoy my 2012 one,will be having it for at least 2-3 years from now on if german laws don`t get worse for diesels and such :

  39. That’s strange because my wife always finds sufficient room to rest her clutch foot 🤔

    Admittedly she’s only ever sat in the passenger side but 🤷🏻‍♂️

  40. Ordered new essential model in black. I had all the toys on my old Kuga. Don't use half of them to be honest.

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