It’s been another work-man like month, with journeys the length and breadth of the country, and the car sailing past the 10,000 mile mark.
The wet weather has continued to batter Devon, and so the Duster has largely been pressed into service by my wife, Sarah, for her commute to and from the hospital. The taller stance of the Dacia and its four-wheel drive means it provides the safest option through our wet and wild lanes.
It’s easy to forget just how useful having four-wheel drive can be, and earlier this month I travelled up to Cannock for the 2014 British Mini Fair and being in something other than a Mini, I was relegated to parking on the grass. Throughout the day, visitors were warned about how to pull off of the grass and to leave with care. Thankfully it was a doddle for the Duster. A simple flick into four-wheel drive and I was on my way, not before offering to help drag out several cars who had not been so fortunate, I might add!
One thing that does continue to confuse me about the Duster, though, is its hesitance to start. Regular readers will know that prior to the Dacia’s arrival I ran a Renault Megane with essentially the same 1.5-litre dCi lump tucked away under its bonnet. The Megane would start without fault every time, regardless of how cold the weather got. Not so with the Duster. Sometimes it will turn over four or five times before starting, other times it will start, run briefly and then cut out. Quite why it does this is beyond me, so I’d be interested to hear from other Duster drivers to see if their cars behave in a similar manner. Other than the odd difficulty to awaken it from its slumber, the Duster’s mechanics have been without fault. The sticking door handle issue has also been resolved thanks to a good dose of WD40, which has freed up the mechanism, allowing the door to shut and lock correctly.
Despite these occasional, niggling faults, the Duster continues to impress. Over the course of its seven months in my care, it’s done everything I could have asked of it and as the engine’s unwound, fuel economy has improved. It’s still a way off the official figures, but it is improving.
The Duster’s few foibles come part and parcel with its low-end price point and they are a small price to pay given just how much car you get in return. The Dacia’s a car you can’t help but like – yes it’s cheap, and with it, it’s certainly cheerful, too.
|Whats Hot:||Four-wheel drive has proved increasingly useful in this seemingly never-ending winter.|
|Whats Not:||The 1.5-litre dCi engineís occasional resistance to start can really grate.|
|Date arrived:||5th August 2013|
|Mileage to date:||10,276 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||53.3mpg (official combined)
42.8mpg (on test)