First review Dacia Duster –

What is striking about the renewed Dacia Duster (2021)?

That he is finally available with the combination petrol engine and automatic transmission. In the 150 hp version of the Duster, you can now rest your right arm, because the EDC dual-clutch transmission takes over the agitator. And the tank does that very well. Nothing to note. Twelve points from The Netherlands!

It is also striking that the best-selling version of the Dacia Duster, the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel, now has a 50 percent larger LPG tank. The usable volume goes from 33.6 liters to 48.8 liters, which equates to about 250 kilometers more driving range. According to Dacia, this brings the total range of the Duster TCe 100 Bi-Fuel to 1,235 kilometers.

Furthermore, the facelift of the Duster has little to say. There are new headlights (with LED technology for the daytime running lights), a slightly different grille and taillights with Y-shaped LEDs in them. Dacia also introduces a new color, Orange Arizona, which we find difficult to distinguish from the already available orange shade.

What’s good about the new Dacia Duster?

The Duster is a C-segment SUV for a B-segment price. To stay within the Renault group for comparison: the smaller Renault Captur is available from 25,090 euros, for the approximately the same size Kadjar you have to pay at least 29,790 euros. The fact that the Duster already starts under 20,000 euros is the thing unique selling point of the model.

Its trunk of 478 – 1623 liters is larger than that of the Kadjar (472 – 1478 liters) and in terms of interior space, the Dacia and Renault do not differ much. Even someone of 1.90 meters tall has little to complain about in the back seat of the Duster. Although you have to sit with your head slightly tilted, otherwise you will bump it against the thick roof beam above the door opening.

First review - Even after its facelift, the Dacia Duster (2021) remains sober and functional
First review - Even after its facelift, the Dacia Duster (2021) remains sober and functional

As a taller driver, you sit fine in the front. We deliberately do not write ‘good’, because it is a challenge to find a comfortable seating position. The handlebars can be adjusted lengthwise, but not enough, as far as we’re concerned. The seats in the Duster are only okay, with their thin cushions and a distinct lack of support.

During the press release of the renewed Duster, we were able to taste the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel with 100 hp and the TCe 150 EDC. Both engines run smoothly and are pleasantly quiet. The noise that predominates in the cabin of the Dacia comes from the tires and the wind.

The TCe 150 EDC four-cylinder is a delight, with its extra power and its exemplary dual-clutch automatic transmission. In the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel – a three-cylinder engine – we sometimes had the feeling that we lacked power. If you drive on petrol, you have to do your best to jump to 100 km/h in 15 seconds. On LPG it goes almost 1.5 seconds faster.

First review - Even after its facelift, the Dacia Duster (2021) remains sober and functional
First review - Even after its facelift, the Dacia Duster (2021) remains sober and functional

It’s just what you think is important. We would like to have just a little more power to keep up with the rest of the traffic. In the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel you have to work hard with the gear lever to keep the 999 cc turbo engine in its ideal speed range (4600 – 5000). The six-speed manual gearbox shifts quite nicely.

All Duster variants have electric power steering that is so light that you can’t speak of any contact between your hands and the front wheels. But again, that’s not so important. The Dacia steers neatly, has comfortable suspension and keeps its course nicely on the highway. On the other hand, the Duster leans quite a bit in corners and is searchy on bad roads.

What could be done better with the new Dacia Duster?

A favorable price tag should come from the length or the width. You can see, feel and hear that numerous parts have been saved on the Duster. The dashboard is plastic, the infotainment system is a generation (or two) behind and the EDC automatic transmission makes an audible noise when shifting in the city. Is that cheap? Yes. But it’s also down-to-earth and functional.

When will the new Dacia Duster come and what will it cost?

The Duster’s price list includes three petrol engines (Dacia no longer supplies a diesel in the Netherlands). The TCe 100 Bi-Fuel with LPG tank is the entry-level and also the best-selling variant of the Duster. Although most buyers will ignore the 18,990 euro Essential version. It doesn’t even have air conditioning.

For 20,590 euros, the Dacia Duster TCe 100 Bi-Fuel Comfort does. Plus an 8-inch touchscreen on the center console that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (not wireless). Do you necessarily want a navigation system in your 100 hp Duster, then you have to spend at least 21,990 euros on a Prestige.

The Dacia Duster with 130 hp petrol engine is available from 23,340 euros. There are two versions of the 150 hp variant: with an EDC automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (Prestige: 27,090 euros) and with a manual gearbox and 4WD (Comfort: 27,840 euros, Prestige: 29,240 euros).

What do I think of the new Dacia Duster?

Dacia is a sympathetic brand, which as an eternal underdog secretly achieves enormous successes. And that reflects on the Duster. I can only appreciate the tough looking SUV. He does what he has to do and nothing else. You don’t really need more car than the Dacia Duster, but many people do want that. And you pay for that … many thousands of euros more.

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