What is it?
In a world where cars are becoming increasingly more advanced and complicated, there has always been something rather refreshing about the Dacia Duster.
Here is an SUV that, in an incredibly simplistic sense, offers you everything you need in a car - namely an engine, four wheels and a steering wheel - and absolutely nothing that you don’t. The entry-level version of the original Duster didn’t even come with air conditioning or a radio, which is certainly saying something in this day and age.
Welcome, then, to the new second-generation Duster that, in base-model specification, still doesn’t include a radio or air conditioning. However, this almost puritanical approach towards excess in the context of car manufacturing means that the Duster - indeed, the entire Dacia range - is still incredibly affordable. “Shockingly affordable”, even, if you take a look at the Renault-owned brand’s marketing material.
That suitably named Access model will set you back a miserly £9995, which is an increase of £500 over its predecessor. Aside from the new styling - which lends the car a wider, more muscular stance, despite it being almost identical in size to its forerunner - you now get electric power steering and LED daytime running lights as standard. Phwoar.
Our more luxuriously equipped Comfort test car, which sits above Access and Essential and below the flagship Prestige in the rejigged line-up, comes with a few more creature comforts. With a 113bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels (there’s also a four-wheel-drive version available, as well as a front-driven diesel), it’ll cost you £13,195.
For that sum, you get a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio, rear parking camera and sensors, electric windows all round and electrically adjustable wing mirrors. New 16in alloys, meanwhile, are suspended by MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. Talk about living the life of Riley.