Dacia Duster | PH Fleet

As a new Duster breaks cover, our time with the outgoing model is nearly up – it will be missed

By Ben Lowden / Friday, 1 December 2023 / Loading comments

It’s always enlightening seeing the positive engagement for the humble Dacia on a website predominantly aimed at performance cars. But then again, we all need a sensible daily, right? Some powerfully built directors have looked down on NG72 MKL, granted – but mostly, people have related and enjoyed sharing their own Dacia-inspired experiences.

As much as we enjoy daydreaming about the exotica regularly on display in the classifieds, many more of us can relate to eating in a Wetherspoons over a Michelin-star restaurant. And, roughly speaking, that’s ultimately what Dacia is all about: an accessible, inclusive brand for the masses with a dash of rugged outdoorsy appeal to get us out walking and kayaking, instead of just sitting at home. Pining after a 911 GT3. 

We’ve talked about some of the journeys we’ve done in our mighty Duster, and you’ve given us a pat on the back for driving a car from A to tedious B. It’s much more than just the distance covered though, it’s the ease, comfort and efficiency (still averaging 44mpg for those interested) that the Duster delivers in spades. And, just as importantly, it has wholeheartedly delivered on everything we’ve expected it to do this year.

It has transported Sunday Service gear with ease, merrily carted my family around – I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve driven up and down the M40 house hunting while relocating from Kent to the Cotswolds. The it helped during said house move, and proved a great workhorse for our PH25 event at Bicester Heritage too.

And now in the Cotswolds, I’ve been able to appreciate the soft-roader bit even more. There’s plenty of fast-flowing pot hole-ridden B roads round these parts, and the Duster glides over them with ease. Ironically I can probably make faster progress on some of these roads in the Duster than I can in my RS3, where I find myself wincing over bumps and craters in the road. 

Even in my wife’s Kia Sportage, hardly a bastion of sporting intent, my daughter will regularly shout she’s falling out (of her car seat) – but no such complaints in the Duster. So while some might criticise it for being too soft or having too much body roll in the corners, I’ve been embracing it. 

The new 2024 Duster revealed this week is a reminder of just how many other people have bought into the Dacia way. Let’s just hope that its new smartened-up appearance doesn’t translate to an overly aggressive handling dynamic; based on fondness for the outgoing model, evolution is required – not revolution. 

Elsewhere, it’s a shame to see it has lost dispensed with the manual HVAC controls and followed the mainstream herd with putting everything into a touch screen, although presumably there’s a cost saving for Dacia. Hopefully, the positives will outweigh the negatives, especially with the Duster becoming hybridised for the first time, courtesy of the new platform it shares with the Jogger. 

Fingers crossed the price point remains as refreshing as the outgoing model is today. In any case, we’re looking forward to getting our hands on one as soon as we can. And judging by the response to our previous reviews here on PH, you lot will be too.


Car: 2023 Dacia Duster Journey TCe 150 Auto 4×2 EDC
Price as tested: £23,095 comprising urban grey paint (£650) and spare wheel (£300)
Run by: Ben Lowden
On fleet since: March 2023
Mileage: 5,372 (delivered on 633)

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