By Wayne Gorrett
Two engines, three trim levels and two- or four-wheel-drive
Duster range pricing unchanged, from £9,495 to £15,495.
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The honest and popular Dacia Duster benefits from a raft of styling and trim upgrades for the 2015 model year, with the prices across the full range remaining unchanged.
The model line-up still consists of two- and four-wheel-drive models, across three trim levels and two Renault K-Type engines, developed towards the end of the last century. The poverty-spec Access is powered by the 105hp, 1.6-litre, 16-valve petrol engine, while the mid-range Ambiance and top-grade Lauréate versions have a 107hp (109hp on 4×4 versions) 1.5-litre dCi 110 turbo-diesel power unit. Prices start at less than £9,500 for the two-wheel-drive Access model and under £11,500 for the four-wheel-drive version.
Trim enhancements for 2015 include a more stylish chrome front grille made up of two layers of four small intakes surrounding the Dacia logo. All versions now have ‘Duster’ branded roof bars (chromed on Lauréate models), and a black tailgate trim with ‘Duster’ branding sits above the number plate at the rear. Lauréate versions now get 16-inch Tyrol alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and dark metal door mirror casings. Five new metallic colours – Mercury, Khaki, Pearl Black, Slate Grey and Cinnamon – replace the previous choices as alternatives to solid Glacier White on the Ambiance and Lauréate models.
Inside, the improvements continue with new upholstery and seats for every model. Access versions are finished in Hassium cloth, Ambiance in Osmium cloth and Lauréate in Rhodium cloth with ‘Duster’ lettering. On current industry trend, if you want a proper spare wheel with your 4×2 Duster, you’ll find it on the options list for £150 (shame on you Dacia). On all 4×4 models, it remains available as standard.
The Duster range structure is unchanged…
The base 4×2 Access model has 16-inch steel wheels, remote locking, a Thatcham-approved engine immobiliser, electric front windows, anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist, electronic stability control with ESC and traction control, a tyre pressure monitor, four airbags, an ECO driving mode, gear shift indicator and a four-speed heating and ventilation system. Body-coloured bumpers, black door handles and Duster-branded roof bars and bumpers remain standard and white is the sole colour available. The 4×4 Access has a centre differential lock with 2WD, auto and lock modes.
Mid-spec Ambiance versions are also fitted with 16-inch steel wheels (but this time a different design), satin chrome door handles, a chrome gear lever insert and instrument surrounds, a radio/CD player with AUX and USB sockets and Bluetooth, front fog lights, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a 60:40 split rear seat.
The Dacia Duster range tops out with the Lauréate models, this time with 16-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, electric mirrors and rear windows, cruise control with a speed limiter, a seven-function trip computer, a glove-box light, a passenger vanity mirror and body coloured door handles, satin chrome Duster-branded roof bars, scuff plates and side sills. Also standard are piano black interior door handles, door and steering wheel inserts and centre console surround, a leather-covered steering wheel and map pockets in the front seat backs.
Perhaps not to everyone’s motoring taste, the ‘spit-and-sawdust’ Dacia Duster is the most affordable SUV on UK’s roads – and has been since its arrival here in 2012. This looks likely to remain unchanged as significant numbers continue to find UK driveways. Production of right-hand-drive, UK-bound Dusters has recently moved to Romania, when previously they were made at the Chennai plant in India.
I’ve driven all models in the current UK Dacia line-up and can honestly say that while there is undoubtedly an element of ‘throw-back’ motoring to the cars, driving any of the current Dacia line-up is sure to surprise as you inspect the low-rent, utilitarian but brutally honest interior – and could well raise a smile or two in the process.
As before, the 2015 Duster is covered by Dacia’s standard 3-year/60,000 mile mechanical warranty plus two-year paint and six-year anti-corrosion warranty.
Dacia Duster pack options
• Adventurer Pack: £445 – available on all grades
• Protection Pack: £595 – available on all grades
• Styling Pack: £655 – available on all grades
• Touring Pack: £555 – available on all grades
• MediaNav: £300 – available on Lauréate only
• Leather Pack: £995 – available on Ambiance and Lauréate