Highlights of the Dacia Duster

The Dacia Duster is a subcompact crossover SUV that is also sold as the Renault Duster in some parts of the world. It is now in its second generation, with a facelift as of 2021 reflecting some of Dacia’s new design philosophy. There are multiple engine choices, two gearbox variants, and a front-wheel-drive or on-demand all-wheel-drive option.


Dacia Duster front three-quarter


Model Overview: Trims and Changes

Dacia offers three trim levels for the Duster: Essential, Comfort, and Prestige. The options vary massively from the base trim to its best trim, with the base trim missing many options as standard to keep the cost down. The facelift included fresh headlight and taillight designs that were done to keep the Duster in line with the current Y-shape pattern that Dacia employs.

Exterior Styling

With the facelift, Dacia also changed the daytime running lights, with them now utilizing LED technology. There are seven color options available: red, blue, orange, two shades of gray, black, and white. Each trim gets different wheel options, with the Essential trim having 16-inch steel wheels while the other trims featuring 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, respectively.

We are greeted with a modern but subdued look, with curved but defined lines that step away from the current boxy look offered by other manufacturers. Roof rails are available as standard, enhancing the car’s practicality further. You can also get certain accessories, such as a sidestep to bolster the SUV look and to aid you in loading the roof, or illuminated door sills.


Dacia Duster profile


Interior Styling

On the inside, each trim gets different material choices in the entire cabin. The Essential trim gets low-density cloths, recycled plastics with few chrome accents, and no cloth lining apart from the roof. The Comfort trim gets improved materials throughout, contrast stitching, chrome accents, and a leather steering wheel. However, the doors still are not lined with cloth or ecological leather. Lastly, the Prestige trim gets embroidery on the seats, differently shaped headrests, and ecological leather door panels and central armrest, and natural leather lined front seats.

The cabin presents physical switches for the air conditioning control (and radio for the Essential trim), all while being simple, rugged, and spacious. The trunk is generous, having around 450 l (15.9 cubic feet) of volume with the seats up, and around 1,600 l (56.5 cubic feet) with the seats folded down, depending on the drivetrain. On the Prestige trim, you get heated front seats as standard.

Technology Highlights

As standard, you have 12-volt sockets front and rear, an audio jack, and a USB port in the front for connectivity. Further, Dacia includes Bluetooth, front electric windows, and manual-controlled air conditioning.

On higher trims, you get an 8-inch infotainment system, 6 speakers, DAB Radio, front and back electric windows, rear reading lights, and even automated air-conditioning and keyless entry on the Prestige trim level. Electric side windows are available as standard equipment on the Comfort and Prestige trims.

Safety Features

The Dacia Duster comes only with the safety systems mandated by the European Union as standard, such as an anti-lock brake system, electronic stability control, emergency brake assist, front, shoulder, and side curtain airbags, along with a tire pressure monitoring system.

Higher trims enjoy blind-spot warning, parking sensors, and a rearview or multi-view camera. Cruise control is standard, and the same can be said about hill descent control but only for four-wheel-drive layouts.


Dacia Duster rear view


Engines and Transmissions

There is a myriad of engine choices available. A turbocharged gasoline or bi-fuel 999cc (1.0-liter) in-line three-cylinder engine with 90/100 hp and 160/170 Nm (118/125 pound-feet) of torque, a turbocharged gasoline 1332 cc in-line four engine with 130/150 hp and 240/250 Nm (177/184 pound-feet) of torque, and a turbocharged diesel 1461 cc in-line four engine with 115 hp and 260 Nm (192 pound-feet) of torque.

All of them are mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, apart from the 1.3L 150 hp variant that comes with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT). The Duster powers the front wheels as standard, while the diesel 1.5L and the 150 hp 1.3L can be mated in a four-wheel-drive configuration. Other regions of the world also enjoy other engine choices, but they aren’t available in Europe thanks to EU’s pollution standards. F

The fuel economy ranges from around 5L/100km (47 mpg) with the diesel engine, 7L/100km (40 mpg) with the in-line three, 6.5L/100km (36 mpg) with the in-line four, and 6.9L/100km (34 mpg) with the in-line four in a four-wheel-drive configuration, according to Dacia. The Duster weighs in at around 1,300 kg (2,866 pounds), depending on the powertrain choice and trim level.

Competitive Set

There is plenty of competition in the subcompact crossover utility vehicle. Among the Dacia’s chief competitors are the Volkswagen T-Roc and T-Cross, the Peugeot 2008, Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X, and the Honda HR-V. Other rival models, especially from a budget standpoint, are the Suzuki Vitara and Skoda Kamiq.


See AlsoHighlights of the Dacia Sandero

Photos copyright Dacia 2017 – 2022.

Author: Cristian Puscasu
Cristian Pușcașu started loving cars and wanted to become a “racing driver” thanks to some computer game that lit the fire almost two decades ago. Since then, he came to his senses and decided that becoming an automotive engineer is more sensible, and pursued such a degree in his home country, Romania. Cristian decided to try writing about what he learned, in an attempt to correct certain misconceptions and to use his soon-to-be degree a bit unconventionally.

2 thoughts on “Highlights of the Dacia Duster

Leave a Reply