The 2021 Dacia Duster now on sale in Ireland
The 2021 Dacia Duster now on sale in Ireland

The Dacia Duster is back with a comprehensive suite of updates to keep Dacia’s bestselling compact SUV at the top of its game. Caroline travelled to Paris, France, to drive the latest Duster.

The Duster has been an unbridled success in Ireland and Europe since it was launched. The Duster story in Ireland begins in 2013 and since then over 14,000 of them have found homes here. The second generation model launched here in 2018, to build on the success of the first with more style and modern features.

At the launch of Duster ‘Phase 2’ in Paris, Christophe Lavauzelle from Dacia Europe referred to the Duster as an ‘icon’. True, this unlikely hero has endeared itself to millions in a few short years, with a sort of transcendent charm that seems at odds with the bare essentials beginnings of the Duster.

Dacia also unveiled a new brand identity in Paris that echoes the brand’s growing appeal among nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts. This clear direction in a market already in love with crossover-style vehicles will help differentiate the brand further among competitors. To that end an all-new Dacia Duster Extreme will go on sale in early 2022 – a top of the range trim level featuring more rugged, exclusive styling features.

The latest Duster available from €19,990
The latest Duster available from €19,990 in Ireland


Dacia say customers love the chunky, rugged design of the Duster so the facelift sees only minor changes. New light units include Y-shaped daytime running lights, which look more contemporary and seem to fit better, especially at the rear. This new shape also inspired the new 3D chromed radiator grille. Front LED direction indicators debut here for the first time in the Dacia range. There’s also a new colour – Arizona Orange – that really makes the Duster pop. Duster’s aerodynamic performance has been improved with the simple design of the new rear spoiler and 16/17-inch alloy rims.


The main change to the interior of the latest Duster is a new 8″ touchscreen with more modern graphics and a glossier finish, replacing the old 7″ unit. It lifts the cabin though the Duster interior is still very much a hard plastic affair in line with the brand’s more budget position in the market. The USB ports have moved to a neater location further down in the centre console so the cable no longer dangles across the touchscreen. The cruise control buttons have been moved to a stalk on the multifunction steering wheel. There’s also new upholstery and new slimmer headrests. Some models also get a new high centre console with a wide retracting armrest housing over one litre of storage and two USB charging sockets for the rear passengers.


Dimensions have not changed but the Dacia Duster’s boxy shape still makes it great value for the money. Duster will seat five, with the rear footwells offering more space than many more salubrious rivals in the B-SUV segment. The high roofline gives loads of headroom, adding to that feeling of space. The boot is also a good size with up to 478 litres available in two wheel drive models, and 467 in four wheel drive Dusters. Isofix child-seat mounting points are fitted to the outer rear seats.

The interior of the 2021 Dacia Duster
The interior of the 2021 Dacia Duster


The new Duster is available in Ireland with petrol, diesel and bi-fuel (petrol-LPG) engines. The range kicks off with the 1.0-litre TCe 100 hp bi-fuel engine, which Dacia Ireland pitches as a petrol car – but with the benefits of having an LPG tank. LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is sold cheaper at the pump than petrol from some fuel stations around Ireland. The capacity of the LPG tank on the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel Duster has been increased by 50 per cent, to nearly 50 litres in this latest version. Combined with the petrol tank, the range of the car is 1,225 km! This entry model is two wheel drive only and uses a six-speed manual gearbox. The LPG tank is fitted beneath the floor of the boot, in place of the spare wheel.

There’s also the 1.5-litre dCi 115 hp diesel available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox.

With a bit more power, Duster is offered with a 1.3-litre TCe 150 hp petrol, which is two wheel drive only and combined with a six-speed dual clutch automatic EDC gearbox.

The 2021 Dacia Duster in Arizona Orange
The 2021 Dacia Duster in Arizona Orange

Driving it

On the road the Duster is pleasant and confident. It ticks the boxes for the segment – the seating position is high, the ride is comfortable, the steering is light. Duster’s all-electric power steering has been recalibrated on medium and high speed driving so from 70 km/h, the steering becomes slightly harder. Still it’s not the sharpest performer with lean in corners and rather loose steering but it never really wanted to be, nor does it have to be. All the engines we tested offered plenty of power and adequate performance, with even the entry level bi-fuel option offering a smooth and cohesive drive matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox, defying its somewhat lacklustre performance figures. The automatic also does well with its 150 hp offering a more powerful, confident drive.

We also tested diesel 4×4 models on a special off-road course where the Duster showed off its very impressive ability to traverse difficult terrain. The 4×4 Monitor as standard on these models has a number of ‘toys’ for extra security while off-road in difficult terrain; lateral inclinometer that shows the angle between the left and right-hand sides of the vehicle; pitch angle, keeping the driver informed during steep descents and climbs; compass and altimeter – a must for any Duster adventures!

The latest Duster features a new type of tyre, no matter which version a customer opts for. The two-wheel drive version is fitted with ‘green’ CO2-optimised tyres as standard, said to give a 10 per cent reduction in rolling resistance. On the 4×4 version, the tyres meet the official 3PMSFA (three-peak mountain snowflake) required performance criteria in snow testing to be considered severe snow service-rated so winter tyres are no longer necessary – not that they are ever really necessary in Ireland!

The Duster is available with petrol, diesel and bi-fuel (petrol/LPG) engines
The Duster is available with petrol, diesel and bi-fuel (petrol/LPG) engines


The latest Duster is offered in three trims in Ireland from launch – Essential, Comfort and Prestige.

The Duster Essential has steel wheels, automatic headlights, and black roof bars, while inside there’s a height and reach-adjustable steering column, cruise control with speed limiter, seven-function on-board computer, DAB Radio and manual air conditioning.

Available from €22,090, Comfort adds 16-inch alloy wheels, black-painted heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, body-coloured door handles, front fog lights, and hill descent control. The interior, meanwhile, gains upgraded upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, leather steering wheel, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors with rear camera, and an 8-inch Media Display infotainment system complete with Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

At the top of the range, from €23,990, the Prestige adds 17-inch alloy wheels, Grey Quartz door mirrors and roof bars, dark-tinted rear windows, and an acoustic windshield. Inside there’s automatic air conditioning, keyless entry, Multiview camera, front parking sensors, blind spot warning system, heated seats, and an 8-inch Media Nav on-board navigation system with wireless smartphone connectivity for Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The new Duster Extreme limited edition will be available in six different body colours: Glacier White, Pearl Black, Comet Grey, Iron Blue, Arizona Orange, and the exclusive Urban Grey. Orange inserts feature both outside (front grille, side-mirror housing, roof rails, and tailboard) and inside (air-vents, door panels, and centre console). There’s also special fabric/TEP upholstery with orange stitching and exclusive black aluminium rims.

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


Essential models go on sale from €19,990, Comfort from €22,090, and Prestige from €23,990 – all prices quoted for the entry level bi-fuel engine with 100 hp. Four wheel drive versions are available from €28,290 and automatics are available from €27,490. Motor tax ranges from €200 to €270 depending on model.


Following on from the launch of the Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway earlier in the year, now it’s the turn of Dacia’s star Duster. This is a series of timely enhancements to see Duster into 2022 and beyond.

The Dacia Duster has capably carved out its own niche in the small SUV segment – in fact there’s a certain aura of desirability around those boxy looks that is seeing the brand invest further in the off-road image with the new Extreme version due also in 2022 and the offer of genuinely purposeful four wheel drive models.

Inside the Duster gets a much needed boost in the shape of the brand’s latest infotainment system that surely lifts what is a sombre but durable cabin. Dacia Ireland is happy to be able to offer a petrol automatic in the range once again, while the Duster Bi-Fuel offers buyers an entry level petrol with the benefit of an LPG tank – if you can top up with LPG locally this is surely a route to more efficient motoring, which should go down very well with savvy Dacia owners!

Still charming, we shouldn’t like it so much, but we do. The updated Dacia Duster is on sale in Ireland now.

The Duster 4x4 off-road showing all the other SUVs how it's done!
The Duster 4×4 off-road showing all the other SUVs how it’s done!

Caroline Kidd