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Dacia Duster (2013-2018) Buying Guide

Dacia Duster (2013-2018)
Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Dacia Duster (2013-2018)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

Few people would have predicted just how popular the Dacia brand would become when it was launched in the UK in late 2012. The first model to come from this Renault sub-brand was the Duster, and it's fair to say that it ruffled more than a few feathers when it arrived. With a starting price of just £8,995 the Duster was marketed as being "shockingly affordable"; an extra £2,000 bought a four-wheel drive edition. Many assumed that cheap must also mean nasty, but nothing could be further from the truth because while these aren't the most luxurious cars around, by keeping things relatively low-tech Dacia has maintained reliability while build quality is generally better than you might think. Some early cars could suffer rust issues but if you go for the newest car you can afford, you can minimise the chances of problems later on.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Excellent value
Cheap to run
Generally reliable
Smart styling
Spacious cabin
4WD availability
Downmarket image
Early cars rust
Lacks safety kit
Outdated petrol engine
Unrefined
Base cars lack air-con
Cheap interior plastics
Key Dates 
1/13The first UK Dusters are delivered. There are Access, Ambiance and Laureate trims; a 1.6 petrol comes in entry-level form while a 1.5 dCi is offered with the two top trims only. Both engines are offered with front- or four-wheel drive.
9/14A minor refresh brings exterior design adjustments, redesigned alloy wheels and extra colour options.
8/15An all-new Euro 6-compliant 1.6-litre petrol engine arrives, rated at 115bhp (previously 105bhp); the 1.5 dCi powerplant's emissions are also cut.
6/16A 1.2 TCe petrol engine joins the line-up, along with a new range-topping Prestige trim.
10/16A dual-clutch transmission becomes optional with the 1.5 dCi engine.
Checklist 
  • 4x4 editions get a space saver spare wheel; front-wheel drive Dusters come with a tyre inflation kit instead.
  • Four-wheel drive cars have a diff lock for off-roading, or two-wheel drive mode can be selected to save fuel.
  • All Dusters come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, apart from the FWD 1.6 which gets five ratios.
  • Corrosion can be an issue on some early cars, so check all seams, under the window seals, panel edges and as many bolt holes as you can.
  • Check for waterlogged front footwells on early cars as they can leak. A poorly sealed bulkhead or badly fitted door seals are usually the culprits.
  • The 20-inch factory-fitted wiper blades aren't as effective as they should be; swapping to Lucas or Bosch 21-inch items makes a big difference.
  • The interior trim generally seems to be holding up pretty well, but seats can squeak and trim panels can rattle. Seatbelts rattle too sometimes.
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