Five years ago, the Dacia Duster came to the UK with a starting price that offered change out of £9000. We couldn’t quite believe the value for money it offered, or the fact that driving or owning one wouldn’t feel more like a wilful act of masochism.
The second-generation version feels familiar in lots of ways, but its comfort, refinement, material quality, practicality and convenience have all improved – and you can still get one for less than £10,000. While the car’s appeal may be limited in other ways, that fact alone wins it enormous credit.
Dacia has assumed that, given the choice between either a more pacey and enticing drive or significantly improved cruising manners, the average Duster buyer would take the latter, and rightly so in our book.
Moreover, by focusing on making only worthwhile improvements to this super-affordable family car, Dacia has also preserved what we liked so much about its predecessor: its rare, unaffected simplicity of character.