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Review – Dacia Duster (2022): New face, same recipe

January 11, 2023

New logo for Dacia

The Dacia Duster is one of the first cars to wear Dacia’s new logo. That new logo consists of an opposing “D” and “C” that meet in the middle. According to Dacia, the new logo stands for “simplicity,” “authenticity” and “robustness. Words that seem to fit the down-to-earth brand. The new logo is now on all Dacia models. Yes, including the electric Spring.

Dacia Duster (2022) – New face, same recipe! – REVIEW – AutoRAI TV

Minimal external changes

To accommodate the new logo, Dacia is changing the layout of the Duster’s grille. The L-shaped inserts from before give way to horizontal inserts that match the logo. In our opinion, a successful change, although the Duster’s front end was not ugly before either. In addition, the silver insert in the front bumper has a slightly darker shade than before. By the way, the same goes for details like the insert in the rear bumper, the roof racks and the side mirrors.

At the rear, “Dacia” is henceforth written out large on the tailgate. The model designation moves to the lower left and the lower right reads “4×4. Yes indeed, we are dealing here with the all-wheel-drive variant of the Duster. More on that later.

Interior gets extra attention

Whereas Dacia changes the Duster’s exterior only at the detail level, the brand goes a bit more rigorous inside. For example, the vents are no longer round, but rectangular. Also, the vents have more louvers, allowing you to regulate airflow better than before. Another important change is the electronic handbrake. The Duster always still had a conventional handbrake, but it now gives way to a small button. The result is a more tidy center tunnel, although a conventional handbrake again comes in more handy off-road.

Of course, Dacia’s new logo cannot be missing from the interior. The steering wheel has “Dacia” written out in full in the new font, as does the tailgate. Otherwise, Dacia is keeping the line it previously took with the facelifted Duster. We drive the most expensive trim level, the Journey, and that means things like a comprehensive infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and a light and rain sensor come standard. Indeed, forgoing in a Dacia is no longer necessary.

Ride like a size bigger

Climb aboard the Dacia Duster and you almost feel like you’re in a car one size bigger. The high seating position gives you a good overview and you can see the hood well from the interior, giving a kind of “king of the road” feeling. In refinement, the interior does not necessarily excel, but there are no rattles or creaks to be heard and the whole thing feels robust. The seating position is also good, although it would have been nice if the seats offered just a little more support for the upper legs.

In practice, the 150-hp powerplant is a fine match for the six-speed manual transmission. Never does the Duster feel sluggish, and you actually always have torque available. On an intermediate sprint from 80 to 120 mph, for example, you can leave the transmission in sixth gear just fine. However, the test did note that the transmission shifts a bit jerky, especially in first gear. Eventually you can compensate with some nimble footwork, but it doesn’t really feel smooth. It could be due to the novelty of the test car, which had less than 1,000 kilometers on the clock when we got it.

Besides the choppy shifting, it takes some getting used to the fact that the transmission of the first gears is rather short. You have to shift up to third gear fairly quickly when accelerating, after which the gears actually lengthen again. Handy off-road, of course, those short first gears, but for public roads they could have been longer. However, these points need not be dealbreakers. Overall, the new Duster just drives well and, above all, you have a comfortable travel companion in it.

Prices and versions Dacia Duster 2022

At the time of writing, the redesigned Dacia Duster is available starting at 20,950 euros. Then the compact SUV hits the sidewalk as a TCe 100 Bi-Fuel Essential. Things like LED headlights with light sensor, remote central locking and a radio with Bluetooth connectivity are standard in that case. Air conditioning is not on it then, that is only standard from the minimum 22,650 euro Expression. On that trim level, you also get cruise control, rear parking sensors, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and 16-inch alloy wheels. Given the relatively modest additional price, we think that version is definitely worth considering.

Above the Essential and Expression is the Journey, which we were on the road with. The Journey costs a minimum of 24,250 euros, but then you immediately have things like a rearview camera, automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor, electric folding door mirrors and the exterior details shown in the photos on board.

If the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel offers just too little power for you, you can opt for the TCe 130, which then immediately leaves the factory as an Expression, for a minimum of 25,390 euros. In fact, the basic Essential trim is only available in combination with the base engine. The all-wheel drive TCe 150 4×4 has a substantially higher starting price of 29,990 euros, but as we drove it, it costs more than 32 grand. All of the above engines of the Duster are mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Prefer an automatic? Then leave 29,350 euros with Dacia for the TCe 150 EDC with six-speed automatic transmission.

Conclusion Dacia Duster 2022

With the new logo, Dacia freshens up the look of the Duster slightly in 2022. The new logo makes the Duster look a bit tighter on a detail level, but the sum of the changes is not very large. The Duster remains a tremendously versatile car with a tidy price, both in absolute and relative terms. It is not the most sophisticated car, but it has character. That’s worth a lot in today’s car market, too!