The Czech Dacia Duster price list currently has three equipment lines: the basic Expression, the middle Journey and the top Extreme. And the aforementioned access to two available all-wheel drive motorizations is of course reflected in the prices. The diesel Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4 costs at least 517,500 CZK, the petrol model TCe 150 4×4 then 567,000 CZK. However, the price step is not only a difference in equipment, the diesel Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4 is cheaper than the petrol four-wheeler even in the same Journey version – it costs CZK 556,000. The petrol version represents the peak of performance and offers significantly higher power compared to the Blue dCi: 110 compared to 84 kW.
Now you might be thinking that 567 thousand crowns is a lot of money for a Dacia – even if it has all-wheel drive. Duster has been increasing in price in recent months, but it was not alone, so compared to the competition, it still represents a very interesting offer. You won’t get a compact SUV with a four-wheel drive so cheaply from another brand. And the Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey also adds decent equipment.
Before we describe it in more detail, I would like to remind you that Duster, like other models of the brand, received a modified face last year associated with the new identity of the Romanian brand. The car received a new radiator grille with white elements and, above all, a fresh logo of the car company, which combines the stylized letters D and C. The tested car also boasted a new additional paint, Dusty green will cost 15,700 CZK.
An interesting change occurred in the cabin. And I don’t mean the newly styled Dacia inscription on the steering wheel, which replaced the old brand logo, but the redesigned dashboard with angular air conditioning vents. Previously, the exhausts were round. And the new feature is automatic folding exterior mirrors, which Duster could not have before.
Simplicity above all
Power-folding mirrors are part of the mid-range Journey. In addition to these, it includes, for example, 17-inch light alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, rear parking camera, Media NAV infotainment with 8-inch touchscreen, navigation and smartphone mirroring, audio system with 6 speakers, cruise control with speed limiter, height and length adjustable steering wheel, LED daytime running lights lighting, LED dipped headlights, fog lights, height-adjustable driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support, light and rain sensor or modular roof rails. The Journey version also includes gray exterior mirrors and specific seat upholstery.
In addition, the tested car received several additional features: in addition to the already mentioned Dusty paint, it is a Multiview camera system with front, rear and two side cameras (for 7,000 CZK), a hands-free card for keyless access and starting and 2 USB (6,000 CZK), spare bike (4,000 CZK) and heated front seats (6,000 CZK). The price of our piece has already exceeded 600 thousand crowns.
Dacia Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey
We have described the interior of the Duster several times in the tests, so I will allow myself only a brief summary. But I have to start with getting in and out. The Romanian SUV in the current generation received significantly inclined A-pillars, which affect the roof line in its front part. The line is relatively low, so taller people have to watch their head when boarding. It also applied to me, and I measure a not-so-glamorous 182 centimeters. When getting out, the uncovered thresholds are a nuisance, you can easily get your pants dirty on them.
Of course, the cabin is dominated by ordinary plastics, which of course do not affect the function, “only” they do not look very good. In short, Dacia is not trying to hide the fact that the Duster is supposed to be the most affordable option. And it is also known in the concept of comfortable equipment elements. As we already know, Romanian SUVs offer several of them, but the automaker has approached them in a “thrifty” way.
The automatic air conditioning is only single-zone, the seat heating can only be turned off and on, forget about setting the intensity. The simple on-board computer also has a similar effect, the seats are average and the image from the camera system is not impressive either. But it’s still better than nothing, of course.
However, it was an unpleasant surprise for me to find out that the Duster does not warn about running out of liquid in the washers. I only found out that it was missing in my car when I needed to clean the windshield.
In other areas, Duster deserves more praise. The cabin is pleasantly spacious, the position behind the wheel is pleasantly elevated, the car has a nice view and the ergonomics of the controls are also excellent thanks to the physical controls. The simple infotainment then pleases with its clarity.
I could perhaps imagine a greater range of adjustment of the steering wheel in the longitudinal direction and a longer backrest at the back. The luggage space in a car with all-wheel drive will offer a standard volume of 411 liters (according to the VDA methodology, Dacia also gives a figure of 467 liters including the space under the floor), after folding the seats we get up to 1444 liters.
It doesn’t dazzle on paper, it pleases in practice
Under the designation TCe 150, Dacia hides a turbocharged petrol four-cylinder with a volume of 1332 cubic centimeters, providing a maximum power of 110 kW between 5250 and 6000 rpm and a maximum torque of 250 Nm between 1700 and 3250 min-1. Although the manufacturer offers a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for this engine, you can only have a six-speed manual with all-wheel drive. The machine can only be ordered with a front wheel.
Dacia Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey
The Duster TCe 150 4×4 drives a maximum of 180 km/h from rest and accelerates to 100 km/h in 10.4 seconds. The numbers aren’t exactly dazzling, but in practice this car feels unexpectedly alive. You just need to be a little patient with supercharging. The engine manifests itself in the way that it seems a little sleepy at the lowest revs, but around two thousand it “breathes”, suddenly pulls strongly and then does not let up until six thousand. At suitable revs and after the turbocharger kicks in, which takes a while to pick up after pressing the right pedal, the engine goes beautifully behind the gas. The Duster TCe 150 drives very nicely and can easily cope with overtaking or long climbs.
Refinement is not bad either, at least under low load. At higher revs, the four-cylinder can be heard, but that is perhaps to be expected. Worse is that small vibrations regularly penetrate the interior from the engine. It’s nothing terrible, but you’ll probably notice. When accelerating, the shift lever also vibrates. And that brings me to a ranking that is not the most accurate. The operation of the shifter is so uneven, jerky. In addition, the individual qualities sometimes do not fit easily.
The transmission is also specific. A very short first gear replaces the function of a reduction gearbox, which is useful in the field. In normal operation, this solution enables a comfortable start on two.
And consumption? In Prague in heavy traffic, the Duster drove for 7.8 l/100 km, outside cities and highways for 6.3 l/100 km, on the highway for 8.8 l/100 km. I believe that it will not be a problem to keep a long-term average between 6.5 and 8.5 l/100 km.
On the road and off-road
The tested specimen rode on seventeen-inch wheels shod in all-season tires with a very reasonable size of 215/60. Even thanks to the tires with large sidewalls, the Duster feels pleasantly comfortable, it copes especially well with smaller bumps. However, the Romanian SUV does not offer perfect flexibility, you can safely recognize the characteristics of the surface under the wheels in the cabin – even by hearing -, just as you will know about every sharper pothole you hit. Unfortunately, the chassis sometimes doesn’t know how to deal with large bumps, and hitting them with a car shakes with a bang.
The cornering performance isn’t bad either, just don’t expect miracles. You will quite easily come across understeer, which is vehemently tamed by the stabilization, and more pronounced body tilts. The overpowered steering with a slow transmission during aggressive driving is also not very convincing, and the car could definitely use better brakes – even the top engine has drums at the back. The front discs have a diameter of 280 mm.
At really high speeds (from about 170 km/h), the Duster has minor stability problems and requires regular steering wheel corrections. There is also aerodynamic noise.
It’s just a ride with compromises. The good news, however, is that the compromises are mostly about “non-standard” handling. As long as you use the Duster “reasonably” and for what it was designed for, you should be satisfied.
In addition, you don’t have to worry about trips to more demanding terrain, the Duster can travel a lot. In addition to all-wheel drive with an inter-axle clutch and a short first gear, representing a reduction, it offers a ground clearance of 214 mm, a front approach angle of 29°, a crossing angle of 18° and a rear approach angle of 29°. And all-season tires help with traction.
I’ll admit that when I fished out the specification of the tested car from the compartment after sitting in the interior for the first time, I was a little surprised that the price exceeded 600,000 crowns. I asked in my mind if it wasn’t too much for the Dacia Duster. But a look at the offers of competing brands reveals that this compact SUV still maintains a great “price/performance” ratio. The price lists of most similar cars have changed significantly in recent months, but it is still true that you can get the “es-ú-vé” lower middle class with all-wheel drive at the cheapest price from the Romanian car manufacturer. You will then have to put up with certain concessions in the interior, but what the Duster has to do, it does well. In addition to the four-wheeler, you also get a pleasantly lively engine, a decent chassis and quite nice equipment.
However, the price difference between the tested version of the Journey, which is the “entry level” for the TCe 150 4×4 Journey motorization, and the best-equipped Extreme variant is interesting. It amounts to 21,600 CZK, which is not exactly a big step. But of the really useful features, you only get the Multiview camera system, you’ll still have to pay extra for heated seats and a spare wheel. Personally, I would probably stick with the Journey and add heated seats, cameras and a reserve.
Dacia Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey
- Starting equipment
- Price performance ratio”
- Field skills
- Live motor motor
- Nice chassis
- Decent spaciousness
- Ergonomics and ease of use
- There is an emphasis on low prices in places
- Noise at higher speeds
- Inaccurate sorting
- Overpowered steering
|The cheapest version of the model||410,500 CZK (Dacia Duster TCe 90 Expression)|
|Base with tested engine||567,000 CZK (Dacia Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey)|
Tested car without extra charges
|567,000 CZK Dacia Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey)|
|Tested car with equipment||605,700 CZK (Dacia Duster TCe 150 4×4 Journey)|