So after ten months and 15,000 miles, my time with the Duster has come to an end, with the Dacia now making an appearance on the driveway of one of the other members of the Diesel Car road test team.
Summing up my time with the Dacia is a difficult process – while the car has certainly impressed, it has also had the power to frustrate. The car was impressively rugged and put up with everything our family could throw at it, and throughout the wet and wild winter we all endured, the Duster ploughed on, undaunted. From tyres to shopping, and dogs to car panels, the Dacia hungrily swallowed up whatever cargo I needed it to carry. The hard-wearing trim managed to cope with half-eaten fruit and snacks from the smaller members of the family, while equipment such as the Bluetooth, which supported telephone and media streaming was most welcome, and to be honest, unexpected on a car at this price level.
For all its charm though, the Duster wasn’t without its flaws. From the moment it arrived, the driver’s seat wobbled and since my local dealer was unable to rectify it, the car had to return to Dacia UK. They had more success, resolving the issue for good. Then, after 8,000 miles, the driver’s door handle failed, sticking open, requiring me to take extra care each time I got in or out of the car. A good soaking with some WD40 seemed to resolve it though. Then of course there was the issue with the service light, which came on after the car was serviced at 12,000 miles and the inaccurate fuel gauge that almost left me stranded on the hard shoulder of the M5. The Duster made another trip back to Dacia UK when the roof began leaking – it turned out that the aerial seal had failed, allowing water into the car via the Bluetooth microphone. Seal replaced, the car was watertight once more and back to its best.
While each of these problems were only minor, each one would have required a trip to the dealership – it’s these kind of niggling faults that can really take the shine off of the ownership experience, even the budget one offered by the Duster.
Fuel economy was fair, if not fantastic, but I did find the Duster’s 1.5-litre dCi unit a willing performer, if not always particularly keen to start on the first turn of the key. My ten months or so with the Dacia on the whole have been highly positive, the car had a simple, unfussy charm to it – it was tough and hard wearing and did everything we could have asked of it.
Would I recommend one to a friend? For all its plus points, I can’t help but wonder how the Duster would fair after two or three year’s average family use. That said, there’s genuinely a lot to like about the Duster, thanks to it offering impressive value for money and delivering a lot of character.
The Duster proved to be tough and rugged through some of the wettest winter weather in history.
Niggling faults took a little of the shine off the ownership experience.
|Date arrived:||5th August 2013|
|Mileage to date:||15,211 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||53.3mpg (official combined)
44.5mpg (on test)