Read Caroline’s Dacia Duster review for everything you need to know about buying the new Duster in Ireland in 2024.

The Dacia Duster is one of Ireland’s favourite cars and has been for many years. The Duster is known for being a good value compact SUV. Over the years it’s got better and better.

The new generation Dacia Duster arrives in Ireland in September and I was in Malaga recently to take a closer look at it.

The 2024 Dacia Duster introduces new design, more modern interior with sustainable materials and more efficient hybrid powertrains for the very first time. It’s also promised to be more spacious and capable.

Let’s find out!

The new Dacia Duster
The new Dacia Duster is expected in Ireland later in 2024

Styling

The third generation of this Dacia classic takes the Duster’s now iconic boxy charm…and takes it to the next level. Built on a new platform, exterior dimensions haven’t changed much but it is a bit longer overall. The Duster takes on the new face of the Dacia brand, just like the latest Jogger and Sandero.

It manages to look incredibly tough and rugged next to rivals and that’s something that should continue to endear it to fans. Dacia’s Y-shaped signature features in the new lights front and rear. There’s also a variety of chunky alloy wheel designs from 17- to 18-inch. There’s lots of robust cladding around the car made from up to 20% recycled materials, which adds to the Duster’s utilitarian look but also protects it from light bumps and scrapes. Large skid plates under the bumpers protect the underbody. Roof rails add to the outdoors look and it’s all finished off with the new Dacia logo.

Trim levels include Essential, Expression and then the choice of two top trims – Extreme or Journey.

Interior

This is a car that’s been transformed inside too. The Duster’s cabin always felt quite basic and plastic though over the years the brand has added better digital technology and some plusher materials. This one feels like the most cohesive design yet and really shines for digital tech integration and more modern design. It’s not the last word in luxury but it fits with the Duster’s tough, go anywhere character. D U S T E R is proudly etched in the dashboard panel.

The cabin of the new Duster
The cabin of the new Duster

There’s also a new steering wheel, a brilliant 7-inch digital driver display, 10.1 inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a few USB-C ports dotted around. Wireless smartphone charging is also now available. Cruise control and automatic lights will be included as standard across the range, with some models getting automatic high-beam also.

Of even more importance are the new driver assistance systems added to the Duster such as automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and speeding alert, rear parking assist, emergency stop signal, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and driver attention alert.

Practicality

The new Duster is a five-seat SUV and offers a little more space inside than before. It was always quite generously sized for what it was and this one just enhances that – particularly in the width of the cabin at the front and legroom in the back (+30mm). The boxy design means that headroom is good too. The boot opening is wider and higher with a bit more space than before – up to 517 litres.

Accessories include a roof rack and a Sleep Pack, first introduced on the Jogger. This 3-in-1 box contains a double bed that folds out, a tray table and storage space.

The new Duster will be available as a hybrid or petrol
The new Duster will be available as a hybrid or petrol

Engine

The current Duster range is available with petrol and diesel engines but switching to a newer platform means Duster has now embarked on its electrification journey and can accommodate mild hybrid and full hybrid powertrains for the first time. As before, manual or automatic gearboxes will be available and the option of 4×4.

However, there’s no more diesel for the Duster, which was a big seller for Dacia in Ireland. At the launch in Malaga, I had the opportunity to drive the brand new Duster ‘Hybrid 140’, which is already available in the seven-seat Dacia Jogger range in Ireland and offers a fuel efficient drive that may make it easier for diesel Duster owners to make the switch.

It’s a standard hybrid so no need to plug in and charge to get the best efficiency from it. It’s the same set up as the likes of the Renault Clio and Arkana Hybrid with a 1.6-litre four cylinder engine at its core and a 1.2kWh battery and two electric motors. The automatic transmission makes it an effortless drive.

The good news is that it’s possible to drive it up to 80% of the time in electric mode in town driving for example. There’s also regenerative braking to boost efficiency. During my test drive, I saw consumption as low as 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

The new Duster also gets a new 1.2-litre, three cylinder petrol mild hybrid engine (‘TCe 130’) from the Renault Group, which helps boost the efficiency and smooth running of the car. It will be available with a manual gearbox and opens up the option of four wheel drive.

Boot space in the Dacia Duster
Boot space in the Dacia Duster

Driving

The new Duster is built on the CMF-B platform that underpins other Dacia models like the Jogger, Sandero, and the Clio and Captur from parent company Renault. This platform brings Duster right up to date… where it belongs! It contributes to less vibration and road noise for a more comfortable drive and passenger experience. It’s also better to drive, feeling more composed with less lean and tighter steering.

On the road, it’s an affable drive, offering decent levels of comfort and refinement for a budget-friendly compact SUV like this. The hybrid can be noisy when pushed but that’s a characteristic of most of its peers too. At a smooth pace, the Duster feels relaxed (0-100km/h in the hybrid is a languid 10.1 seconds). It’s still not a pin sharp handler but it feels capable and the new driver assistance features certainly make it a safer and more sophisticated drive than before.

The Duster has always offered a very affordable 4×4 option, which is quite rare in its segment. The new Duster is available with 4×4 Terrain Control transmission with five different setting: Auto, Snow, Mud/Sand, Off-road and Eco. It offers ground clearance of 217 mm with up to 31° approach angle at the front and 36° departure angle at the rear on 4×4 versions. There’s also a downhill speed control. A new ‘All Road Info’ system inside the car displays useful information like the lateral tilt, uphill and downhill pitch, and power distribution to the front and rear axles on the centre screen.

The Duster can trace its roots back to 2010 and has been an incredible success for Dacia
The Duster can trace its roots back to 2010 and has been an incredible success for Dacia

Pricing 

Pricing is yet to be confirmed for the Irish market. The current Duster range starts from €23,590.

Verdict 

Dacia is a brand that should see a prosperous 2024 with the arrival of new Duster and the all-electric Dacia Spring this summer.

The Sandero and Jogger offer good value in their respective segments and are now sporting Dacia’s new look and brand identity.

It’s a brand that’s found its position in the market for making honest, straightforward and affordable cars and there’s really demand for that at the moment. The Duster has been and still is the coolest of them all.

The new Duster shows a brand that’s really hit its stride. With its confident stance and rugged interior, its iconic status is secured for another generation. It’s also safer, more spacious and better to drive.

Diesel will be missed – most of the Dusters bought in Ireland are diesel. But the hybrid at least can prove to be not far off it in terms of economy while being cleaner overall – and quieter.

Duster has always offered a lot for the money. Let’s hope it stays the affordability king of crossovers.

King of crossovers? The 2024 Dacia Duster will hit Irish roads in September
King of crossovers? The 2024 Dacia Duster will hit Irish roads in September

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year