car news car tests

Dacia Duster (2024) – The king of ‘value for money’?

November 29, 2023

The Dacia Duster is a success story. In 2010 the first generation of the model entered the market, now – two generations on – the production number already stands at 2.2 million and grew to become the best-selling SUV in Europe across all segments by 2022. The Duster is also very popular in the Netherlands, ranking third in the sales charts. Just to further illustrate how popular the Duster is: at Dacia’s factory in Pitesti, Romania, about a thousand examples of the Duster roll off the assembly line every day. That’s almost one per minute!

A budget Defender?

‘The essence, without artificiality’. This philosophy of Dacia applies to all models and thus also to the new Duster. From the sharp and vertical front design to the chamfered wheel arch guards, large tailgate and side windows that extend almost seamlessly from front to rear. With that, the 2024 Dacia Duster looks a lot more mature than its predecessors. Furthermore, the new Duster is protected by a stylish “band” around the car. The bottom side protection is connected to that of the wheel arches, which in turn are connected to the bumpers.

About that protective layer around the car, Dacia has thought carefully. This is because the front and rear bottom guards are made of colored material and therefore not painted in one color. Not only does this save paint, but any scratches will not affect the color of the part. Of course, that’s handy when you’re off the beaten path.

But there is more: the side floor guards, wheel arch guards, parts of the front bumper, front and rear (extra) protective parts and the rear protective part are made of a robust material called Starkle®. This material, designed by Dacia engineers and LyondellBasell chemists, was first seen on the Manifesto concept car and consists of 20% recycled material. The composition contains white particles that create a mottled look, which Dacia prefers to highlight rather than cover under a layer of paint.

Interior considerably improved

The robust feel of the new Duster is also reflected in the large, tall and vertically arranged dashboard. The shape of the vents refers to that of the wheel arches and provides a consistent whole. Like the exterior, the interior offers the essentials. This means that each part has a purpose. Great attention has been paid to ergonomics, including the central 10.1-inch display that is tilted 10 degrees toward the driver. In addition, the new automatic transmission controls are very user-friendly. The smaller shifter gives more space in the interior, but a large, robust shifter would certainly not have been out of place in the new Duster as far as we are concerned either.

The use of materials in the Duster has also improved, but you will still find hard plastic, especially in the doors. Yet this does not bother us: after all, Dacia is not about using “premium” materials. As we take a seat in the back, we notice that adult space is more than adequate. You can put your feet well under the front seats, and the rear seat offers good upper-leg support. Rear passengers also have two USB-C charging points. There are also some charging ports in the front and you can charge your phone wirelessly.

Dacia Duster 2024 also as hybrid

The new Dacia Duster is on the CMF-B platform. This platform plays a central role in Dacia’s strategy. This competitive and highly flexible platform was first used for the current Dacia Sandero, Logan and Jogger. The platform offers all the versatility Dacia needs to best execute its ambitious product plans.

Despite having become only fractionally longer, the new Dacia Duster offers more space for occupants and luggage thanks to the CMF-B platform. The advanced platform should also offer greater comfort while driving thanks to less vibration and noise, while driving pleasure and connection with the road surface has been raised to a much higher level, according to Dacia. Moreover, the CMF-B platform of the new Dacia Duster is suitable for the use of (mild) hybrid propulsion, which the brand is taking immediate advantage of:

Duster Hybrid 140: This powertrain that Dacia first introduced for the Jogger in early 2023 also comes in the new Duster. The system uses proven Renault Group technology and consists of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 69 kW (94 hp), two electric motors (a 36 kW (49 hp) drive motor and a starter/generator) and an electric automatic transmission.

Duster TCe 130: This 48V mild hybrid powertrain is completely new for Dacia and combines a new generation 1.2-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine with a compact electric motor that supports the gasoline engine during starting and acceleration. The new Dacia Duster TCe 130 comes to market with a six-speed manual transmission and a choice of two- or four-wheel drive.

Duster ECO-G 100: Dacia is the only automaker to supply all its fuel models with a gasoline-LPG engine under the ECO-G label. The new Duster is also available on LPG. The two tanks have a combined capacity of 100 liters – 50 liters of gasoline and 50 liters of LPG – good for a range of up to 1,300 kilometers (WLTP). Moreover, the LPG tank is placed under the luggage compartment floor, so it does not take up luggage space.

Also well suited off the beaten path

The off-road capabilities of the new Dacia Duster are unmatched in the 4×4 market for models without a close-ratio transmission. Fans of the brand can enjoy their outdoor adventures carefree with the new Duster. The new Dacia Duster is available with a 4×4 Terrain Control transmission, with five settings:

The ground clearance of the 4×4 version is 217 millimeters, the largest in the segment. Moreover, the Duster has quite generous approach and roll-off angles: up to 31° at the front and 36° at the rear (4×4 version). If you order the Duster with front-wheel drive only, you will have 209 millimeters of ground clearance. Also, the new Duster has an assist system to descend at controlled speed. The system primarily uses the brakes to control the Duster’s speed, at speeds between 0 and 30 mph. The system activates automatically and also works when reversing. The driver can leave the accelerator and brake pedals alone and concentrate fully on steering.

YouClip: a unique accessory

Along with the new Duster, Dacia is also introducing the new YouClip accessory system. This is a system developed by Dacia for easy attachment of certain accessories in specific areas of the interior. Depending on the version, the new Duster features four or six YouClip handles (on the dashboard, on the passenger side of the center console, behind the center console, two on either side of the luggage compartment and in the tailgate).

The YouClips accommodate a tablet holder, a storage pouch, a smartphone holder with induction charger or a 3-in-1 cup holder, bag hook and movable lamp. This 3-in-1 system is standard for the Duster Extreme, and all YouClip accessories are available through the Dacia dealer network.

In addition to the YouClip system, you can also get a range of other cool accessories for the 2024 Dacia Duster. What about the Sleep Pack, which we now know from the Jogger? Dacia now supplies the built-in bed for the Duster as well.

Dacia Duster 2024 price

Today, about 70% of Dacia customers choose the higher and more luxurious trim levels. That is why the new Duster is available not only as Essential and Expression, but also in two different but complementary top models: the Duster Extreme for lovers of outdoor activities and intense driving, and the Duster Journey that focuses on unobtrusive elegance, comfort and well-being. Both top models are available at similar prices. These are not known at this time, but at the European level, the Dacia Duster will soon be available from around 20,000 euros. So in the Netherlands, count on a starting price of between 25 and 30 grand. So that still makes the Duster relatively affordable.

The main standard equipment: