The new Dacia Duster is a no-frills crossover we can get behind

The new Dacia Duster is a no-frills crossover we can get behind

Most mainstream crossovers are more about appeal (whatever that means) than utility, but the Dacia Duster has always been a little different. There’s nothing amazing about it, but that’s exactly the point – it offers most of what you need and nothing you don’t, at an affordable price.

Now there’s an all-new version, and it promises to be tougher, more versatile, and more comfortable than ever, with the same value-oriented approach to pricing.

Given that the Duster is Europe’s best-selling SUV, Dacia hasn’t tinkered with the formula for this third-generation model. The stocky proportions are familiar, but the Duster gains thicker body cladding and new underbody armor, with Y-shaped running lights and horizontal grille bars inspired by other new Dacias.

There are big changes under the skin, with the Duster moving to Renault’s CMF-B architecture. The improved packaging of the new platform means that the Duster offers more cabin and luggage space than before, along with superior dynamics, comfort and isolation.

Dacia hasn’t progressed into electric car production (its first one is scheduled to be released in 2024) due to its status as a budget brand, but Duster is offering some form of electric car. The standard TCe 130 model uses a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 48-volt mild-hybrid assist, produces 128 horsepower and drives through a six-speed manual gearbox

Then there’s the Hybrid 140, which combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a high-voltage starter generator for 138 horsepower. The hybrid is automatic only and can drive in electric mode 80 percent of the time in cities, according to Dacia.

Finally, there’s the dual-fuel model, which comes with two fuel tanks (one for LPG and one for petrol) that hold 100 liters between them. Dacia remains one of the very few companies to offer LPG compatible cars from the factory, but there is no information on whether Bi-Fuel is intended for the UK.

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Customers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive, and there are a selection of drive modes – including Snow and Mud/Sand – for improved traction control and an off-road ESC system.

The heavy-duty theme continues inside, where the Duster features washable upholstery, rubber floor mats and heavy-duty plastics to go along with a host of new technologies. The technology in question includes a 7-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.1-inch dash-mounted touchscreen, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Pricing for the new Duster has not been announced, but Dacia promises to offer the “best value for money” in the family SUV segment. Given the new platform, electrified engines and updated technology, expect a rise from the outgoing Duster’s starting price of £17,295.

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