Value-focused SUV is now available to order with 128bhp and 148bhp 1.3-litre turbo petrol engines; deliveries in March
Dacia has released UK pricing and spec details of two new turbocharged petrol variants of its Duster SUV, on sale now.
The TCe 130 engine is available from mid-level Comfort spec and above, priced from £14,395. The new 1.3-litre unit makes 128bhp and 177lb ft of torque, enough for a 0-62mph time of 11.1sec and a top speed of 119mph.
Also available is the more powerful TCe 150, making 148bhp from a tuned version of the same unit. It does 0-60mph in 10.4sec and hits 124mph flat out. It’s only available in top-spec Prestige trim, and as such is priced from £16,295. Both variants have identical quoted WLTP fuel economy of 47.0mpg, with CO2 emissions of 137g/km.
Both variants come exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox and are front-wheel drive, with 4×4 versions of both to be added in the middle of next year. There’s no word on whether an automatic gearbox will be offered at a later date.
The Duster range contains four trim levels: Access, Essential, Comfort and Prestige. The base variant, priced from £9995, comes with LED daytime running lights, height-adjustable front headrests and seatbelts, an engine stop-start system and automatic emergency braking. It also gets steel wheels and wind-down rear windows, however.
Essential upgrades the steel wheels to a different design and adds painted bumpers, air conditioning, a DAB radio and Bluetooth for £11,595.
Comfort, at £13,195, adds all-round electric windows, alloy wheels, electric adjustment for the mirrors, a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, a rear-view camera and parking sensors.
Top-of-the-range Prestige (£14,395) adds diamond-cut alloy wheels, a multi-view camera, keyless entry, climate control, keyless entry and blindspot monitoring. This version is £680 more expensive than the entry-level Ford Fiesta.
The Dacia Duster is a no-nonsense machine that wears its bargain price tag like a badge of honour. And we can’t help liking it for that.
Access trim is only available with the 113bhp and 115lb ft 1.6-litre SCe petrol engine with front-wheel drive, which achieves 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km.
All other trims can choose this petrol engine with front or four-wheel drive (the latter with 40.7mpg and 158g/km CO2), or a 113bhp, 192lb ft diesel engine with front-wheel drive that records 64.2mpg and 115g/km. There’s no automatic transmission. The 0-62mph sprint takes between 10.5sec and 12.9sec, with four-wheel-drive versions being the slowest, while top speed is 105mph for all four-wheel-drive models, 107mph for front-wheel-drive petrols and 111mph for front-wheel-drive diesels.
Diesel and four-wheel-drive petrol models carry a £2000 premium over front-wheel-drive petrols. Metallic paint remains a £495 option, while leather upholstery costs £500.
About a third of Dacia’s UK sales are of Dusters, so it’s a key model for the brand, particularly in the small SUV segment. About 80% of Dusters will be petrol, with the front-wheel drive, petrol Prestige model expected to be the most popular, followed by the front-wheel-drive petrol Comfort.
The new Duster was revealed in full at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. Despite not a single panel being carried over from the previous car, the exterior is an evolutionary design. Laurens van den Acker, Groupe Renault’s senior vice president of corporate design, said this was down to the model’s sales success.
In addition, the Duster’s interior has been reworked substantially by Dacia to provide a more upmarket feel while ensuring that the car remains affordable and usable.
The dashboard has been redesigned, with the touchscreen moved to the upper part. That system now includes an optional multi-view camera for the first time (standard on Prestige). Other new equipment options available on a Dacia for the first time include blindspot warning, automatic air conditioning and automatic headlights — all of which are standard on Prestige.
The latest Duster sits on the same platform as its predecessor and has identical overall dimensions, although the windscreen has been moved forward slightly to improve interior space.
Dacia Day 2017: Autocar visits an owners’ meet with a difference
The car now sports a broader front grille and wider headlights, while the rear lights have been moved to the corners. The square wheel arch style of the previous Duster has been retained, with new roof bars added.
Dacia has sold more than a million Dusters since 2010 and year-on-year sales continue to rise. Van den Acker said that influenced Groupe Renault’s thinking about the new model’s design.
“The big revolution is that we’re not doing a revolution,” he said. “The Duster’s not at the end of its life. We still can’t make enough to satisfy demand. So why change a good thing? But if you get close, you’ll see that everything has been touched.”
Renault ‘surprised’ other firms haven’t copied Dacia business model
Dacia design boss David Durand said ensuring the Duster retained an unpretentious feel, reflecting value for money, was vital.
“The original brief was a white page, so we could explore everything — even if we did go back to familiar themes,” he said.
“When we are designing a Dacia, we always think about the customer. For example, if we put too many decorative chrome parts on, he will sit in it and say: ‘This has no usage. Why am I paying for that?’”
Dacia has yet to show the Duster’s new interior, but Durand said: “The car is a strategic evolution on the outside, but it’s more revolutionary inside.”
Q&A: LAURENS VAN DEN ACKER, RENAULT DESIGN BOSS
Why didn’t you increase the size of the Duster?
“The Duster has a bit of a magical size. We felt there was more worth to be created for our customers by fixing the design ‘mistakes’. If we decide we’ll need a bigger car, we’ll do it with something else.”
Did having Dacia help shape a design direction for Renault?
“Dacia helped us to push Renault in a more emotional direction. Renault has become more Latin, more emotional. Renault’s history is a little more humble than where we’ve pushed the brand to now, and I’m sure if we didn’t have Dacia, a part of the company would be saying: ‘Captur is great, but we used to have affordable cars. We need that as well.’”
Can you explain Dacia’s success?
“Dacia is a brand that established itself and maybe those are the strongest brands. The customers took ownership of it, really. Sometimes, we joke the less we manage the Dacia brand, the better it goes. If we start thinking about it, we might mess it up!” Read more Renault ‘surprised’ other firms haven’t copied Dacia business model
Renault ‘surprised’ other firms haven’t copied Dacia business model