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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are some Dusters travelling around the country allowing people some short test drives, anyone done one yet? Let us know your first impressions
 

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Hi Nick,

I test drove one about 3 weeks ago at my chosen dealer, Mackie Motors in Brechin, North East Scotland. I was impressed. I don't really have anything to compare it to because I've not actually driven any other SUV or 4x4 before, but it felt great to drive. It was a diesel model and I've actually changed my order to a diesel since.

Graham
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's interesting to hear you swapped from a petrol to a diesel. Was it nippy? How did it handle? I'm going to test drive both a petrol and a diesel once they are released, I want a petrol, but am a little worried it might be a bit too gutless.
 

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I drove the 105 1.5 dci in German Spec at the Goodwood Moving Motorshow and it drove very well. I didn't exactly drive it like I would if I was on my own and it isn't about to outrun or outrun my neighbours A4, but it certainly didn't feel as low rent as the critics might imply. The ride / handling was sharper than I expected, and it certainly wasn't slow to the point of feeling discomfort in town or city traffic. I wasn't too impressed with the "explosion in a Renault switch factory" interior or the turd brown plastic vent surrounds - but the UK spec is a little sharper (or so I hope). It did convince me that I'd made the right call by ordering one!
 

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I drove an LHD Laureate today and liked it. I've posted my obs on another thread, but it is a very good car. But don't kid yourselves this a cheap car. The basic Duster is too basic by far, the Ambience is fine, but without A/C it is a total no-no, for me at least, and the Laureate comes without ESP as standard, so by the time ylou have fitted the essentials you have a well priced car, but not a cheap one.

I'd need to drive it at speed to get true idea of what it is like, and I'm not really sure about the low geared steerring or the slow getaway from a halt, but my view is generally very positive so far. And I like the continental interior, it felt perfectly smart, but then the brown has become piano black
 

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hello to all.

First of all I would like to point out that I do NOT own a duster or any dacia car. However , I have driven all Dacia models. starting from the communistic classic dacia's to the modern duster , sandero , logan , lodgy. I am romanian , but I live in the uk.

My first impression of the duster was about 1 year ago , while visiting home. I have driven the 4x4 1,6 litre petrol. It was the most expensive trim level with leather seats and ESC.

interior: not the best in class obviously . The leather seats were very nice , but I must point out that the seating position and the FORM of the seats could do with better logic as sometimes the seats fell a little bit to lairy. The dashboard is "good for the money" , the dials on the gauges are easy to read and provide very fast accomodation. infact the instrument pannel is the same or very similar as many renaults. the plastic on the dash is not the best quality , but has nothing to do with low quality crap chinese cars or classic american junk. it s acutually the same plastic as you find in the clio or early meganes.
the boot space is quite big and if rear seats are folded it s damn right huge. not once I have seen farmers in Romania filling their trunk with all sorts of heavy and long "crap"... I have even seen one having about 10 sheep in one. (so that s consumer info for you if you live on a farm). What I did like about the interior is that everything is solid... it would not break very easy , and if it did you can probably fix it with your bare hands as most of the dash buttons on the center console are somewhat clipped on in plastic , so there is no need to worry about a button failing.

exterior: this is a matter of taste.I for one like the duster very much. infact , the duster and the logan (second gen) are the only 2 dacia cars I like design wise. I really recommend to buy the underbody protection for the duster , expecially if you plan to use the car on a farm. (and most I think would do). Infact the duster is very popular in it s home country for it s ruggedness and coping with the bumps and holes on crappy roads or on farm roads.

technical: engine (whitchever) is bulletproof. it s an older generation renault engine... most of the glitches have been sorted out years ago. I liked the petrol 1.6 16 valve very much , it pulls great (the car is NOT heavy) and it revs rather fast. The diesel (witch I also drove but for a small amount of time) is good as well , some say better than the petrol because of the high torque at low revs. It does not matter whitch of the 2 you get , the engine is great.
The gearbox is good as well , especially because it s 6 gear (compared to the sandero and logan's 5 gears). it s also a prooven renault reliable part.
suspension is rather good , I was happy to see that even cheap cars like the duster get independent suspension on all 4 wheels (unfortunatelly not posible for the logan and the sandero). it copes with bumps great , I have not felt most of them on the road. However , must point out that the suspension is nothing to be compared with dedicated 4x4's.

divewise: ride is ok , the suspension is soft so if driven from a to b it s great. however , sportiness is something that the duster lacks. it does rev , it will outperform most super mini cars as raw power , but as handling it s still an suv. so don t expect very pointed steering response or active steering as it does not exist.

I have driven the car: for about 3000 km (2000 miles) on city roads , farm roads , forrest roads (bbq ing) , and paved roads. not one issue during my drive. the petrol engine provides ok fuel economy but it s not special. the diesel I have driven for only about 150 km (90 miles) and found that it's more fuel efficient , doing 5 liters of fuel to 100 km compared to the 1.6 petrol on witch I averages 7,5 liters per 100 km. Also to point out that I have used the duster as a normal car , not giving it professional off roading.

Someone in my family works for a dacia/renault dealer in a city about 60 miles away from the city where the dacia is being made. I have driven (as new test drive cars) most of the dacia's. the sandero (old model , not for sale in the uk) , the logan (old model , not available in the uk) , the lodgy , the sandero stepway (old model) , the new logan , the new sandero , older dacias as well (not worth mentioning).

If any questions about the duster please ask. I hope that I can help you. also very important for you to know it s that I am not a proffesional reviewer of cars so for sure I have missed a lot of things and that is the reason I welcome your questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the detailed review! So you didn't think the petrol was underpowered then? It is a light vehicle as you say (1250kg I think), so it shouldn't need a massive engine to get brisk progress. Would sooner like a 2.0 petrol in there though!
 

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hello to all.

If any questions about the duster please ask. I hope that I can help you. also very important for you to know it s that I am not a proffesional reviewer of cars so for sure I have missed a lot of things and that is the reason I welcome your questions.
Hi as you will see in my other post this is the question which is bugging me most. How do you feel the drive between the Duster and Stepway compare - the 2 reviews I have read mention a lot of roll in the Stepway.
Also very interesting to see that you have mentioned that the 1.6 duster is not underpowered and revs well
 

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Well I'm delighted to report that I have test driven my own Dacia Duster Access 4x4 today at Evans Halshaw in Sunderland. I was able to negotiate an excellent trade-in deal and will collect my new car when my personal number plate has been transferred, probably in 7-10 days.
Firstly, to introduce myself, so that my comments below can be read in context. To be honest I'm a bit of a boring old fart these days. Think James May and you will have an insight into my motoring philosophy and driving style. I almost always adhere to speed limits and cruise on the motorway at an indicated 65mph (actual 60mph, just fast enough to keep out of the way of HGVs). I've never lusted after fast or powerful cars, don't see the point of them on British roads. However I've driven a wide variety of 4x4s, most of them in serious off road conditions. My present car is a Fiat Panda Cross, a rather rare diesel-engined version of the Panda 4x4. It's no ball of fire and has a rather bumpy ride but fits into the tiniest gap and is a whole lot of fun on snow and ice!
My first impression of my new car was of a smart, gleaming white vehicle reflecting the snow off its surroundings. I was delighted to see white-painted bumpers, matching the bodywork. I was expecting to unlock the car by turning the key in the lock but found it had a remote button on the key. Opening the boot, instead of a flimsy fabric boot cover there was a nicely made solid cover in a pale grey colour. I slid into the driver's seat and immediately felt comfortable with minimal adjustments. I was surprised to find a height adjustment on the steering wheel.
The engine started easily and made little noise at tickover or on pulling away. First gear is low, certainly and I suspect a well run in car could set off on level ground in second gear. However, it isn't a problem to slip into second gear as soon as the car is moving. I found that I needed to wait until 3000rpm before changing up a gear, usually I change up at 2000rpm, but the gearbox was slick and easy to use. The car does not have swift acceleration but keeps up with normal traffic and is relaxing to drive and not at all frantic. Cornering is safe and predictable. The ride is excellent. I specifically drove on a route that included speed bumps which I crossed at 30mph in comfort. It reminded me of the original Renault Megane which has always been my benchmark for ride comfort, very French!
We took the car onto the dual carriageway and accelerated up to just over 70mph. The previously reported wind and road noise was muted, conversation at normal vocal volume quite easy. My 23 year old son was sitting in the rear seat and liked the legroom, the comfort and he found the car quiet. I felt totally relaxed at all times and could have easily driven down from Sunderland to Somerset (over 300 miles and a drive I frequently do).
The interior was a very nice place to be. I can't really expand on that, it just felt right, durable, comfortable. Arriving back at the dealers I deliberately chose to reverse into a parking space. It was a little more difficult than in my present Fiat Panda and I did stop the car a couple of feet short of where I really wanted to be. I found reversing was best judged using the door mirrors but I'm comfortable with that having had past experience driving vans and light trucks. The mirrors are plenty big enough and well-positioned.
A word now in praise of my dealer. They have communicated well with me since I placed my order in June 2012 and have always been honest and straight. I feel that the lack of information about delivery of the Duster lies with Dacia themselves. The salesman let the car sell itself. All aspects of the deal I made were fully explained and there was no hard sell of any extras. I feel I have found an absolute bargain of a car which I will thoroughly enjoy owning and driving.
Now, can't wait to pick up the car and install a radio, speakers, mats, roof cross bars. I love tinkering!

Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Brilliant, thanks for sharing Chris! You must be one of the first people in the country to take ownership of one
I'm glad to hear the wind and road noise wasn't an issue. How long before the plate is transferred do you think? We want some photos!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looking good!! The white bumpers look much better. When you pick it up, I'd be interested to see what protection is provided from stonechips within the wheelarch. The German one I looked at was just bare paint! A few stone chips and that'll rust surely.
 

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Forgive me, but am I the only one who thinks that Chris's description of his Duster is like the blokes equivalent of '50 shades of grey'?

Brilliant review, Chris and thank you.

I can only dream of driving a RHD Duster at the mo.
 
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Or any car for that matter!


Oh the melodrama
 

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Forgive me, but am I the only one who thinks that Chris's description of his Duster is like the blokes equivalent of '50 shades of grey'?
Were you reading it one handed then Tony


Excellent review by Chris and a good refelction of what it's like in the real world.

Haven't seen mine since mid November but back to Greece at the end of Jan so will get to drive it again soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Now, can't wait to pick up the car and install a radio, speakers, mats, roof cross bars. I love tinkering!
Hopefully you'll be kind enough to take plenty of photos! I'd like to expand on our tutorials we've already got, with some guidance text and photos as well.
 

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Thanks for the detailed review! So you didn't think the petrol was underpowered then? It is a light vehicle as you say (1250kg I think), so it shouldn't need a massive engine to get brisk progress. Would sooner like a 2.0 petrol in there though!
the 1.6 is enough for the duster. it s no sports car but it enough. i don t consider it as underpowered. at all. the old logan and sandero with the 1.4 litre 75 hp engine were underpowered. the 1.6 16v is not.
 

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Hi as you will see in my other post this is the question which is bugging me most. How do you feel the drive between the Duster and Stepway compare - the 2 reviews I have read mention a lot of roll in the Stepway.
Also very interesting to see that you have mentioned that the 1.6 duster is not underpowered and revs well
the stepway is just a taller sandero. , and that s it. the duster it s another car all together. I am not a particular fan of the stepway. I drove the old one and besides a different collor dashboard and a different gear shifter knob could not see the difference (apart for the taller stand of the car).
 

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the 1.6 is enough for the duster. it s no sports car but it enough. i don t consider it as underpowered. at all. the old logan and sandero with the 1.4 litre 75 hp engine were underpowered. the 1.6 16v is not.
We're a bit obsessed with power in the UK, aren't we. As if we really need a lot of power to get up to 70mph or reach the next traffic jam!
 
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