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Dacia Duster gets total makeover – and keeps £9,995 price tag

By Paul Connolly

Dacia has announced the UK price and spec for its popular Duster SUV: and it’s retained the eye-catching sub-£10k price tag.

The second generation of the Duster gets crisper looks, a more sophisticated cabin, a wider wheelbase and bags more tech than the outgoing model.

There is no change to its uninspiring three-star Euro N-Cap rating, however, unless you buy an optional safety pack, which is predicted to bring it to a more respectable four stars.

Reports also suggest there will be no seven-seat version, despite previous suggestions.

The Duster, produced jointly by the French manufacturer Renault and its Romanian value-based brand subsidiary Dacia, has been with us since 2009.

The Dacia range is famous for its price – and its “shockingly affordable” motto.

You’ll recognise the new generation Duster by its brand new exterior styling - not one body panel is carried over from the previous car, according to the manufacturer.

New 17-inch wheels with black wing arch trims give it a more assertive personality. A new  grille extending to the head lights, making the car look wider, a look which is also helped by that slightly wider wheelbase.

A new lighting signature, including LED daytime running lights divided into three sections and Dacia’s rear lighting signature – four red stacked squares – has been adapted for the new model.

New sculpted crease lines on the bonnet also that lend a more rugged appearance.

The windscreen has been brought forward 100mm and is more steeply raked, which gives the cabin the appearance of being more spacious.

The cabin has been completely overhauled, says Dacia, for “comfort and quality” including the reposition of a new driver-focused MediaNav multimedia touchscreen.

The seats have been completely redesigned with denser foam for improved comfort and support. Dacia claims to have halved the level of cabin noise with better insulation.

Boot capacity remains the same - 445 litres for the 2WD version and 376 litres for the 4WD version – but storage capacity in the cabin has been increased by 20 per cent to a total of 28.6 litres.

The initial engine choice is rather disappointing, with just a choice of one petrol and one diesel engine at launch: the SCe 115 (2WD and 4WD versions) and the Blue dCi 115 (2WD) both equipped with manual transmission.

Whilst no Land Rover, the Duster does have some terrain ability, particularly in higher-spec 4WD mode. Ground clearance is 210 mm, with approach and departure angles of 30 and 33 degrees respectively.

Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist are present, and for off-road enthusiasts, the 4X4 monitor incorporates a compass and notifies the driver of the vehicle’s angle in real time.

There are no surprises with trim levels, with Dacia keeping good to its promise to keep things simple with just trims: Access, Essential, Comfort and Prestige. 

Standard across the range are LED daytime running lights, height-adjustable front headrests and seat belts, ECO mode and Stop and Start, gearshift indicator, a Thatcham-approved engine immobiliser, automatic door lock, ABS and Emergency Brake Assist, ESC/ASR (Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control), new full length curtain airbags and ISOFIX points in the rear.

Access trim, available from £9,995, also features 16-inch steel wheels and electric front windows.

Essential trim, which costs from £11,595, adds 16-inch 'Fidji' steel wheels, body coloured front and rear bumpers, manual air conditioning, heat adjustable driver’s seat, DAB radio with steering-column mounted controls and Bluetooth connectivity.

Comfort trim, available from £13,195, adds new 16-inch ‘Cyclade’ alloy wheels, front-seat armrest, leather steering wheel, graphite cloth upholstery, rear parking camera and sensors, electric front and rear windows, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, MediaNav 7" touchscreen multimedia system (Satellite navigation, USB and AUX connection points) and a 7-function on-board computer, all as standard.

The top-of-the-range Prestige version, costing from £14,395, adds more luxuries like brand new 17-inch ‘Diamond-cut’ alloy wheels, multi-view camera, blind spot warning, climate control and keyless entry.

The car is on sale from 11 June, with first deliveries beginning in July.

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