From £9,1358
Dacia’s small SUV value champion gains a factory-fit LPG system that promises even cheaper motoring
Tom Morgan, deputy digital editor
24 June 2020

What is it?

It has long been a minority fuel in the UK, but liquid petroleum gas (LPG) continues to do well on the continent. So well for Dacia, in fact, that one in every three cars it sells in Italy can run on the stuff. 

Now it’s hoping to repeat that enthusiasm here by offering dual-fuel across its entire line-up – and in doing so becoming your sole choice for UK-registered, factory-fit LPG cars. 

Every Bi-Fuel model uses the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, paired to a give-speed manual transmission. The LPG system replaces the spare wheel, and adds around 35kg to the weight of the car, while promising an 11% reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions compared to an equivalent petrol model. 

Dacia expects the combination to prove popular with its value-minded customers, with a potential £1650 in fuel savings over the length of a typical PCP deal. 

We’re no strangers to LPG here at Autocar, having previously run a Dutch-registered left-hand drive Sandero Stepway on our long-term fleet, but in today’s post-dieselgate era, reduced emissions and lower fuel bills without the costs associated with hybrids and EVs have an undeniable appeal.

What's it like?

Our Bi-Fuel test car was but indistinguishable from the rest of the Duster range, until you open the fuel cap and spot the extra filler port. Interior head and legroom is the same, and boot space is identical.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Back to top

The sole giveaway inside the cabin is a button to the right of the steering column which lets you switch between fuels. LEDs show how much LPG is left, and which fuel is currently being used. The fuel indicator on the dashboard is dedicated to the petrol tank, so there’s no confusion over which tank needs filling. 

Swapping between the two fuels is smooth and instantaneous, with torque arriving slightly earlier when running on LPG, but not so much that you’ll need to adjust how you overtake or exit slip roads depending on what you’re burning at the time. The 1.0-litre engine is still fairly lifeless throughout the rev range, though, taking its sweet time to reach motorway speeds.

The reward is economy, and even with an LPG touring figure that hovers in the mid-thirties being some 8mpg less than when running on petrol, the combined range of both tanks is more than 600 miles. The UK has around 1400 LPG fuel stations now, so there’s less restriction than with hydrogen, but realistically you still need to plan your refills more carefully than with petrol or diesel.

Actually filling the tank takes a minute or two longer than with petrol or diesel, as you have to attach an adaptor to the pump nozzle. The pressurised nature of LPG means you can expect some blowback when you disconnect the pump, too, but it’ll only surprise you once.

The drawbacks of a Bi-Fuel Duster? You lose out on a spare wheel, and you won’t be allowed to drive onto the Channel Tunnel. There’s also no four-wheel drive option, but that’s about it. As it’s a factory-fit system you get the same warranty as any other Dacia, and the extra weight does little to diminish the Duster’s relaxed ride.

Should I buy one?

If you were in the market for a 1.0-litre Duster already, there’s little reason not to opt for this instead. At only £400 more than the entry-level petrol, you could break even on the extra costs in little over a year of driving. 

It remains practical, comfortable and affordable family transport, with few rivals that can match it on sheer value alone, although the lack of an all-wheel drive option may come as a disappointment to some.

Back to top

The option is unlikely to make the jump to parent company Renault’s line-up, which already includes hybrid, plug-in and fully electric options, but LPG does seemingly have a place at the lower end of the price spectrum.

While alternatively-fuelled models carry a higher price premium, we can see the appeal in reducing your carbon footprint for considerably less cash. 

Dacia Duster Comfort TCe 100 4x2 Bi-Fuel specification

Where Surrey, UK Price £15,255 On sale now Engine 999cc, 3-cyls, turbocharged, petrol / lpg Power 99bhp at 5000rpm Torque 125lb ft at 2000rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual Kerb weight 1252kg Top speed 106mph (petrol) 104mph (lpg) 0-62mph 14.4sec (petrol), 13.8sec (lpg) Fuel economy 43.3-44.1mph (petrol), 35.3mpg (lpg) CO2 145g/km (petrol) 129g/km (lpg), 32% Rivals MG ZS, Ssangyong Tivoli

Join the debate

Comments
7

24 June 2020

I'm no fan of dual-fuel LPG cars because I think it would be better to have an engine specifically optimised for the fuel ( a dual fuel model is inherently compromised since it can't take advantage of the high octane rating for LPG). But it's good to have choice and the economics look convincing in the current taxation regime. 

I'd be interested to know how this stands in respect of EU CO2 emission fines. Does the lower CO2 value on LPG mean that Dacia incurrs a smaller fine even though it obviously isn't the primary fuel? 

And just how big is the LPG tank? 

24 June 2020
I've read before that LPG conversions can cause valves to burn and as such large repair bills, I was also told this by a Subaru dealer that removed the manufacturer fit conversions and rebuilt the heads accordingly, so I do wonder how this will fare a few years and owners down the line. Those concerns aside it is a good way of helping to reduce emissions until the government increase the tax on LPG.

24 June 2020

give speed or five speed?

I'd be happier if these Dacias came with run flat tyres, eg the Bridgestones which can give upto 50 miles range.

Valve burn out is a fair point but if Dacia have been selling these on the Continent for some time already presumably any service issues have been identified/fixed?

I wonder if Dacia will come under the new Renault/Nissan emissions controversy?

Well done Dacia to offer LPG - it's surprising how many LPG garages are still around given how long ago manufacturers such as Vauxhall and Volvo stopped selling dual fuel vehicles.

24 June 2020

give speed or five speed?

I'd be happier if these Dacias came with run flat tyres, eg the Bridgestones which can give upto 50 miles range.

Valve burn out is a fair point but if Dacia have been selling these on the Continent for some time already presumably any service issues have been identified/fixed?

I wonder if Dacia will come under the new Renault/Nissan emissions controversy?

Well done Dacia to offer LPG - it's surprising how many LPG garages are still around given how long ago manufacturers such as Vauxhall and Volvo stopped selling dual fuel vehicles.

24 June 2020
Great car, although most customers don't really need an off-roader. A similar Sandero or Logan MCV would be more practical and cheaper.

24 June 2020
And looks it.
Can you honestly give me a situation when you'd say to someone, "hope in, I'll give you a lift.."
I just couldn't I'd rather say I got a cab than admit to owning Dacia Dish cloth.

24 June 2020
"hop in"

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week