Regardless of the actual fact Dacia launched in UK lower than a decade in the past, the Duster requires little introduction. It’s nonetheless the most affordable new SUV on sale, with costs ranging from simply £9,995.
If you would like the area, rugged styling and raised journey top of a 4×4, however with out the luxuries and value premiums related to costlier crossover rivals, nothing comes shut. We love the Duster, and are at present working a front-drive diesel on our long-term check fleet.
• Greatest 4x4s on sale proper now
However how does the identical Duster fare with UK-friendly, winter-ready all-wheel drive? We’ve pushed one – within the UK, no much less – to search out out.
The diesel engine is impressively clean for one thing unashamedly billed as a finances SUV. The handbook field is comparatively nice, too, which is useful given how typically you’ll be altering gears. The 4×4’s quick ratios are designed to spice up traction on slippery surfaces, whereas additionally enhancing low-down torque for towing.
You’ll quickly get used to setting off in second; familiarise your self with this and it’s gutsy sufficient by way of city. However that quick gearing means you’ll be sitting in sixth at 40mph, with loads of turbo lag in case you attempt to hurriedly push it as much as motorway speeds.
More often than not, the Duster runs in 2WD mode. You may change to the automobile’s ‘Auto’ setting through a dial on the centre console, which additionally contains a ‘Lock’ mode for actually tough circumstances. There’s a built-in 4×4 monitor, too, which provides the driving force visibility of the automobile’s slope angle in actual time.
This isn’t a quick automobile, nevertheless, so it’s not typically you want the additional grip in on a regular basis driving. Power it to run utilizing all 4 wheels and also you’re extra prone to discover the gas gauge dip than you might be to sense the additional traction. A Suzuki Jimny is lighter and more proficient off-road, too, so except you recurrently tow heavy hundreds or often undergo by the hands of hostile climate, the usual two-wheel drive Duster is a greater wager.
That’s notably obvious if you have a look at possession prices. The 4×4 system will set you again a full £2,000 regardless of which trim you go for, whereas gas financial system takes successful, too. For reference, the 4×2 model can handle as much as 9 miles extra for each gallon of diesel you place within the tank. The Duster’s CO2 emissions undergo, too, with the 4×4 mannequin sitting one Profit-in-Sort tax band greater than the front-wheel drive automobile.
Elsewhere, nevertheless, the Duster stays a tricky and reliable SUV. Whereas it’s not the final phrase in luxurious, it feels constructed to final and comes loaded with package – particularly in mid-range Consolation trim. These fashions get a seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to a DAB radio and a reversing digicam.
As ever, the Duster makes most sense within the low to mid-range trims; we’d avoid the flagship Status automobiles, which add nice-to-have however largely unessential luxuries like keyless entry and local weather management – for an additional £1,300.
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