The new Dacia Jogger Hybrid

Dacia Jogger Hybrid Review

Read Caroline's Dacia Jogger Hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Dacia's first hybrid car in Ireland.

The Dacia Jogger arrived in Ireland in 2022 and it was big news at the time because it was the most affordable seven-seat car on sale in the new car market.

The Sandero and Duster sell in greater numbers, but the Jogger has still managed to establish a presence on Irish roads.

At launch the range was quite limited with just a petrol manual available. Now Dacia Ireland has introduced the brand's first hybrid car, the Dacia Jogger Hybrid.

It promises more efficiency, more power and if you're looking for an automatic Jogger, this is the one you will want.

It does cost a bit more to buy than the petrol Jogger but is still available from just €31,440, which sounds like exceptional good value for such a spacious and practical car.

The new Dacia Jogger Hybrid
The new Dacia Jogger Hybrid

What's so special about the Dacia Jogger Hybrid?

Opt for the top of the range Extreme model for just €32,940 and Dacia will add a host of extras such as 16-inch black alloy wheels, copper brown wing mirror caps and numerous equipment features like heated front seats, reversing camera, automatic air conditioning, keyless entry and start, blind spot monitoring and cruise control.

The Jogger is not the sexiest car in the world but its mixture of estate car, MPV and rugged styling cues of a crossover is very functional.

It sits a teeny bit higher off the ground than the average hatchback. Cladding around the wheel arches, skid plates and roof bars give it an adventurous, outdoor look.

It also features LED headlights with Dacia's signature Y-shaped illumination. It now wears the new Dacia logo, just like the latest Sandero and Duster.

But it's the sheer amount of space inside the Jogger that makes it special...especially considering the price.

The cabin of the Dacia Jogger
The cabin of the Dacia Jogger

Inside the Dacia Jogger

Just like the petrol version, the Jogger Hybrid offers a lot of space and flexibility. Seven seats across three rows are included as standard. The two seats in the very back can even fit adults in reasonable comfort, with space under the seat in front for feet. They can also be folded down, tumbled forward and even removed altogether.

In the second row, there is seating for three across the bench with a reasonably flat floor removing the competition for legroom. The tall roof also means headroom is generous. There are few amenities but there's nothing much else to complain about.

Even with the seven seats in place, there is space for a few bags or small suitcases positioned upright. But once the two extra seats are tumbled forward or removed altogether, there is truly van-like amounts of boot space. It is worth noting the boot lid is quite large and can be awkward to open in car parks.

Up front, the Jogger has a solid feeling cabin with plenty of hard plastics for its budget price but softer materials too and nicely finished seats in the Extreme model with brown contrast stitching. There's a digital speedometer in the driver display and a large touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Tactile dials and buttons are aplenty and it's generally a cleanly laid out, practical cabin.

The automatic gear selector is a little clunky however and can be awkward when trying to move quickly between forward and reverse.

The Dacia Jogger Extreme is very well-equipped for the money
The Dacia Jogger Extreme is very well-equipped for the money

Driving the Jogger Hybrid

Dacia offers the hybrid in two trim levels - Expression and Extreme. The petrol in the equivalent spec is available from €27,240 vs €31,440 for the hybrid.

So is it worth the extra? Well, the hybrid has a few advantages. With the help of a battery and electric motor, it won't consume as much fuel as the petrol model. In fact, it's as low as 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres and not far off that in real world driving. And that's without any requirement to plug it in and charge it.

With more power (140hp), it doesn't feel as under pressure either when you want to join a motorway or overtake - though 0-100km/h is still a leisurely enough 10 seconds.

It's also the only option in the Jogger range if you want an automatic and is easier to get around in as a result.

The drive is still quite soft and wallowy, which means it's not particularly sharp to drive but it's comfortable for what it is. Less appealing is the amount of road and wind noise that gets into the cabin, particularly at high speeds on the motorway.

Two extra seats in the Jogger's third row
Two extra seats in the Jogger's third row

The hybrid system itself is mostly a smooth affair and offer a B mode to increase regenerative braking and an Eco mode to make it most fuel efficient.

The Extreme model also gets an 'Extended Grip' mode as standard, which can increase traction when off-road on loose gravel for instance.

Did you like it?

The Jogger Hybrid is not without its foibles but it does offer an incredible amount of car for the money. It's hugely spacious and versatile, while being a comfortable and pleasant drive.

The hybrid now adds even more efficiency to the mix and is ideal for town and city driving where it can make the most of having a battery and electric motor to run more cleanly.

It's neither a very sharp or impeccably refined drive but it is good enough and has a charm of its own.

Dacia has come a long way on design, quality and technology, as the new Jogger Hybrid demonstrates very well.

The Jogger is a great value family car
The Jogger is a great value family car

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The new Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster Review (2024)

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 4x4.

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 4x4 option, which is quite rare in its segment. The new Duster is available with 4x4 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 4x4 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


The Dacia Jogger is now on sale in Ireland

Dacia Jogger Review

Read Caroline's Dacia Jogger review for everything you need to know about buying Dacia's new family car in Ireland.

The Dacia Jogger is Dacia's new seven seat family car that goes on sale priced from a budget-friendly €24,590. Yes really!

There's demand in the market for seven seat vehicles and the Jogger offers just that at an affordable price. So how have they done it and is it any good?

It's fair to say that Dacia is a brand that is growing with confidence. Cars like the Dacia Duster and Sandero are popular with Irish car buyers, and known for offering good value for money.

On a wider scale, the Dacia brand has recently revealed a new logo and brand identity that sees Dacia inch ever closer to the fashionable outdoors market. Seeking a vehicle that says you're a dynamic outdoors type who likes to climb mountains and paddle board at weekends? Then Dacia might have the car for you and the company is now in a better position than ever to convince you to buy one.

The Dacia Jogger is now on sale in Ireland
The Dacia Jogger is now on sale in Ireland

What's so special about the Dacia Jogger?

The brand's latest creation is the actively named Dacia Jogger, which is actually based on the humble Sandero. When you look at it, you'll see a familiar gaze from the front. But to fit in seven seats, the Jogger boasts some serious length and a bit more height compared to the Sandero supermini.

It's miles cheaper than all the other seven seaters on the market. In fact you would have to go to the used car market to find a seven-seat family car like this for less than €25,000.

There are three trim levels and one petrol engine for now. All versions come with seven seats, with the extra two able to fold flat when not in use.

It's not bad-looking either. The Jogger is styled somewhere between an estate car and an MPV, but with rugged SUV-inspired looks. Make what you will of that but it has a pretty good attitude when you meet it in the metal. Particularly if you go for the top of the range Extreme SE version (from €27,490) with 16-inch black alloy wheels and black wing mirror caps.

But even entry models look fierce enough with that elevated ride height a must-have for any crossover wannabe, as well as tuff-lookin' roof rails, plastic cladding around the wheel arches and a skid plate front and rear.

The Jogger is always ready for adventure.

The Jogger is Dacia's first seven seat car
The Jogger is Dacia's first seven seat car

Inside the Jogger

Inside the Jogger's interior borrows heavily from the Sandero, which is a good thing as it's a new generation Dacia interior and probably the brand's best yet. The layout is simple and clean, with a nice modern infotainment system as standard on Expression and Extreme SE models with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as two USB ports.

There are a lot of hard plastics but it's not bad at all and softened by some fabric trim on the dashboard and doors. Fancy for a Dacia! Standard equipment also includes air conditioning and cruise control. The mid-range Expression model (from €25,990) gets equipment upgrades including reversing camera, keyless entry and automatic climate control.

As well as a visual upgrade, Extreme SE also adds heated front seats and even wireless smartphone mirroring.

When it comes to building a usable seven seat car that still feels compact behind the wheel, Dacia has done a stellar job with the Jogger. It's the longest Dacia on sale at 4.5 metres and the brand's first seven seater. Up front it feels spacious, while there's enough room for two adults to sit comfortably in the rear. It will be tighter for three across the back seat but it's not impossible and there are Isofix anchors on the two outer seats.

The interior of the new Jogger
The interior of the new Jogger

But what about the third row? Are the two extra seats a token gesture or actually capable at all?

Well, the length of the car and tall roof line mean that Dacia has created a remarkably spacious seven seat car. The second row of seats tumble forward easily, so access is simpler than some. Once seated in the third row, it's surprisingly comfortable, even for adults. Certainly children will be fine.

In five-seat mode, you will get all the benefits of a large, family-friendly boot. But with the seven seats in place, there's just room for a few bags.

It's worth noting that the Jogger received just one star in the Euro NCAP safety tests out of a maximum of five stars. To keep the costs down, the Jogger does go without some of the more advanced safety features like lane keeping assist. It was also scored down for missing seatbelt reminders in the third row.

Two extra seats in the Jogger's third row
Two extra seats in the Jogger's third row

Did you like it?

The Jogger range is very simple at the moment because it only comes with one engine and it's a 1.0-litre turbo petrol with a modest 110hp and a six-speed manual gearbox. If you want an automatic, you will have to wait until next year when the Jogger hybrid arrives.

This small petrol engine does better than what you might think in the Jogger. That's because the Jogger is light and weighs only about 1200kg. So the engine will rev happily and feels pretty sprightly under your right foot. The steering and controls are light so it's simple to drive as opposed to fun to drive. But it's not a bad family car to drive and is comfortable for the most part too.

It's not going to cost the Earth to run either. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.9 litres per 100 km.

So there you have it. Ireland's most affordable seven-seat car. The Jogger is not sexy but it is a hugely practical and versatile car. Dacia has stayed true to their roots and brought a good seven seater to market at less than €25,000. Of course you can spend more on your Jogger and get a few nice features. But the fundamentals of this car are fine and at that price you will have grabbed yourself a huge bargain.

Dacia is a brand on the up and while there are some compromises because it's a budget car, they're really are not many at all. The Jogger should follow in the footsteps of Duster and become a household name.

The new Jogger makes a great family car
The new Jogger makes a great family car

Model tested: Dacia Jogger Extreme SE
Price: 
€27,490
Engine:
1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 110hp
Torque: 200Nm
Top speed:  183km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 11.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
131g/km
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

 


The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

Dacia Duster Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Dacia Duster review for everything you need to know about buying Dacia's popular compact SUV in Ireland in 2022.

The Dacia Duster has been a huge success in Ireland since it was first launched back in 2013. Over 14,000 Dusters have found homes in Ireland since it first went on sale.

Now in its second generation, Dacia has updated the Duster again for 2022.  Duster gets more modern features to keep it competitive in the compact SUV segment.

Dacia is truly carving out an identity for itself beyond the brand's budget beginnings. 2021 saw the launch of the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway, with this model securing the title of Continental Tyres Irish Compact Car of the Year.

2022 will also see the launch of the brand's first seven seat model, the Dacia Jogger.

The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Dacia Duster?

But the Duster is a brand-defining car for Dacia, the one that really put the brand on the map here. It's perfectly placed to make the most of a market in love with the SUV.

It's available with petrol, petrol/LPG or diesel engines, with 4WD available as an option too.

Priced from €21,190, the Dacia Duster remains one of Ireland's truly affordable new cars.

The Duster is now very recognisable on Irish roads for its chunky, rugged design. You don't mess with an icon! So the Duster facelift has been minor. 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.

Dacia says Duster’s aerodynamic performance has been improved with the simple design of the new rear spoiler and 16/17-inch alloy rims.

The Duster goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,190
The Duster goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,190

Inside the 2022 Dacia Duster

Inside, the cabin of the Duster is lifted by the addition of a new 8″ touchscreen with more modern graphics and a glossier finish. It replaces the old 7″ unit.

The USB ports have also moved to a neater location further down in the centre console so the cable no longer dangles across the touchscreen.

The cabin is composed almost entirely of hard plastic in line with the car's budget positioning in the market. But Duster somehow gets away with it. It's reassuringly basic. The new infotainment system certainly helps improve the cabin feel.

The cruise control buttons have been moved to a stalk on the multifunction steering wheel. There’s also new upholstery and new slimmer headrests.

Dimensions have not changed but the Dacia Duster’s boxy shape still makes it very practical and 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 Dacia Duster
The interior of the Dacia Duster

What are my options?

The new Duster is available in Ireland with petrol and diesel engines in 2022, as well as a petrol/LPG 'bifuel option' by special order. All wheel drive is available on diesel models.

The range kicks off with the 1.0-litre TCe petrol engine with 90 hp and a manual gearbox at €21,190. There's also a new petrol/LPG option priced the same, with 100 hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

It can run on petrol alone, but benefits from having an LPG tank fitted beneath the floor of the boot, in place of the spare wheel. LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is sold cheaper at the pump than petrol from some fuel stations around Ireland.

The diesel option in the Duster range is the familiar 1.5-litre dCi with 115 hp available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox. Four wheel drive Dusters are available from €26,140. They are extremely capable off-road for a small SUV, as I found out driving the Duster 4x4 in France.

With a bit more power, Duster is offered with a 1.3-litre TCe 150 hp petrol engine. It's sold as two wheel drive. It is the only engine in the range offered with an automatic gearbox.

Rear seating in the Duster
Rear seating in the Duster

Driving the Dacia Duster

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. It's said to give a 10 per cent reduction in rolling resistance.

The Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi is a reliable companion for the Duster with a good return on economy. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 5.3 litres per 100 km. Performance is adequate for this class of vehicle, with the diesel offering a healthy amount of torque to keep the Duster moving competently from town to motorway.

Behind the wheel, the high driving position gives the Duster the surprising feeling of an authentic off-roader. The diesel can get noisy under acceleration but it's simple to drive, with light controls and good agility.

Duster’s all-electric power steering has been recalibrated on medium and high speed driving. So from 70 km/h, the steering becomes slightly heavier but the Duster is not the sharpest performer in its class with more body roll than some competitors. Yet it’s comfortable where it matters over long distances and copes with rougher surfaces on rural roads and in town reasonably well too.

The Dacia Duster is a great value small SUV
The Dacia Duster is a great value small SUV

Anything else?

In Ireland the Duster is available in three trim levels: Essential, Comfort and Prestige. There's also a limited edition Extreme model.

The Duster Essential (from €21,190) has steel wheels, automatic headlights, and black roof bars. Inside there’s a height and reach-adjustable steering column, cruise control with speed limiter, on-board computer, DAB Radio and manual air conditioning.

The Comfort (from €23,390) is more desirable for 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 has upgraded upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, leather steering wheel, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors with rear camera, and the 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The Prestige trim (from €25,290) adds 17-inch alloy wheels, grey door mirrors and roof bars, dark-tinted rear windows, and an acoustic windscreen. Inside there’s automatic air conditioning, keyless entry, multiview camera, front parking sensors, blind spot warning system, heated seats, on-board navigation system and wireless smartphone connectivity for Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The Duster Extreme (from €25,590) has 17" black alloy wheels, orange inserts on the front grille, side-mirror housing, roof rails, and tailboard, and inside on the air-vents, door panels, and centre console. There’s also special fabric/TEP upholstery with orange stitching. There's an exclusive colour too - Urban Grey.

The Duster holds a 3-star Euro NCAP safety rating with some safety equipment like lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking still absent.

The new Dacia Duster Extreme limited edition
The new Dacia Duster Extreme limited edition

Did you like it?

The latest edition of the Duster gets a smartening up all round with a timely upgrade to the infotainment. This goes a long way to lift the cabin, though it is still on the more austere side compared to more expensive models.

Duster is the lovable rogue of the B-SUV class. It looks great with a tough utilitarian look. Even basic models have a simple rugged charm to them.

Clearly the Duster is not the one to get for cutting edge technology. Power still comes exclusively from combustion engines, keeping the price accessible in the Irish market. Though the Duster Bi-Fuel that can run on LPG is an intriguing option at a time when fuel prices are at their highest.

The Dacia Duster offers a lot for a five seat SUV. With that sort of pricing, it's impossible to ignore in today's market for cheap and accessible motoring!

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

Model tested: Dacia Duster dCi 115 Comfort
Price: 
€25,190
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 
260 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.5 seconds
Top speed: 
179 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
111 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year


The new Dacia Sandero Stepway on test for Changing Lanes!

Dacia Sandero Stepway Review

The new Dacia Sandero Stepway on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Dacia Sandero Stepway on test for Changing Lanes!

Read Caroline's Dacia Sandero Stepway review for everything you need to know about buying the budget small car in Ireland. Recently crowned Continental Tyres Irish Compact Car of the Year.

In 2021 the new Dacia Sandero and Dacia Sandero Stepway arrived in Ireland. It's the crossover-inspired Sandero Stepway that's the subject of this review!

With pricing starting from €12,990 for the Sandero and from €15,990 for the Sandero Stepway, these twins remain truly affordable in today's new car market.

With a new platform, there are now more features for the Sandero including new engines including a Bi-Fuel LPG option, a new automatic transmission and new six-speed manual.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is the more adventurous of this duo with standard features including a raised ride height, roof rails, skid plate and lashings of plastic cladding - mandatory for any hatchback masquerading as an SUV!

What's so special about the Dacia Sandero Stepway?

In truth we love the look of this new Sandero Stepway. Especially in a bright hue like the Desert Orange of the test car. The raised ride height gives it more visual presence whether on the road or in the car park. It has a sort of plucky, robust charm that belies its budget beginnings. In fact the Stepway is already Ireland’s favourite version of the Sandero. It represents over 60 per cent of all sales of the model in Ireland.

Exterior dimensions are similar to the previous generation of the car. But there is a wider track and more pronounced wheel arches, a lower roof, sloped windscreen and smoother lines throughout. All versions feature LED lighting with a new Y-shaped LED signature at the front. And LED-effect four-element lighting signature at the rear. How glam!

The Dacia Sandero Stepway goes on sale priced from €15,990 in Ireland
The Dacia Sandero Stepway goes on sale priced from €15,990 in Ireland

What are my options?

In Ireland the Sandero Stepway is offered in three trim levels - Essential (from €15,990), Comfort (from €17,790) and Prestige (from €19,290).

All models feature automatic headlamps with improved visibility from the LED light units. Other features include emergency brake assist, hill start assist, blind spot warning and park assist.

Standard equipment includes cruise control, manual air con, DAB radio with steering wheel-mounted controls, display integrated into the dashboard computer screen, smartphone holder on the dashboard, 2 front speakers and Bluetooth® connection. While the Prestige model on test had soft feel steering wheel, front fog lamps, power mirrors, keyless entry, automatic wipers, 8″ touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, automatic air con and 16" diamond effect alloy wheels.

Engine options include a 1.0-litre TCe petrol with 90 hp and a CVT automatic gearbox. Or a 1.0-litre TCe BiFuel version (100 hp) with a petrol and LPG tank for even better value when it comes to running the car.

The interior of the new Dacia Sandero Stepway
The interior of the new Dacia Sandero Stepway

Inside the 2021 Dacia Sandero Stepway!

It's all looking good so far. The interior has also improved in design and quality. The new generation Sandero interior looks a lot more modern with an 8" glossy touchscreen on all but the very entry model. It's compatible with smartphones, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Quality has been improved so Sandero is looking like an even better prospect. Hard plastics feature copiously. But the addition of unique orange detailing on the air vents and orange stitching on the upholstery in the Stepway model brightens the interior. There are also some stylish fabric inserts on the dashboard. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake.

The cabin of the Sandero Stepway feels spacious for a compact vehicle. There’s an extra 42 mm of legroom in the rear. It is one of the most spacious cars in its class. The boot is perfect supermini size too! It has increased to 328 litres. Passengers also have more space to put their belongings, with up to 21 litres of storage space dotted throughout the cabin.

The Sandero Stepway has crossover-inspired styling upgrades
The Sandero Stepway has crossover-inspired styling for a more adventurous look!

What's it like to drive?

The latest Dacia Sandero Stepway sits on a new platform. It has been designed to deliver better handling, greater steering precision, more efficient engines and improved refinement over the previous model. The CMF modular platform underpinning this car combines greater resistance and rigidity with less weight. Sandero and Stepway models are fitted with a new front axle with rectangular suspension arms. They provide more effective shock absorption and enhanced steering.

Anti-roll capacity has been improved and the wheelbase extended for greater cornering stability. The track is 29mm wider on Stepway to improve handling and behaviour on the road. The new engine mount has been improved with a lighter and stiffer cradle to minimise vibrations in the cabin too.

Here’s where the Dacia Sandero Stepway gets really interesting! New engines including a three cylinder 1.0-litre TCe Bi-Fuel petrol engine with an LPG tank. It's matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Dacia is the only car manufacturer to offer LPG and petrol Bi-Fuel options across its entire range of passenger cars. The cars are converted in the factory, guaranteeing safety and reliability. The LPG tank is located in the spare wheel well and filling nozzle next to the petrol filler. LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is sold cheaper at the pump than petrol from some fuel stations around Ireland. The Sandero has 50 litres for petrol and 40 litres for the LPG tank.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway - surprise hit of the year
The Dacia Sandero Stepway - surprise hit of the year

Did you like it?

On the road the Dacia Sandero Stepway feels nippy and agile. It is softly sprung offering a very comfortable driving experience for a small car. It holds the road pretty well too. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.3 litres per 100 km.

The step up in quality and design is much welcome in the Sandero stable. The Stepway is a car that you won't just buy because of the sticker price; it looks really good too with very on-trend crossover-inspired styling cues.

Sandero and Stepway already have a loyal following of fans in Ireland who will be delighted with this new model.

The Dacia Sandero BiFuel is user-friendly despite the name and offers customers a petrol car with a good show of power and 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!

The Dacia Sandero Stepway is a charming city car with big attitude. It offers incredible value while improved design, refinement and interior quality and technology give it a much-needed boost of modernity. A surprise hit of the year.

Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway on sale now!
Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway on sale now!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Dacia Sandero Stepway BiFuel
Price: 
€19,290
Engine:
1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power:  100 hp
Torque: 160 Nm petrol/ 170 Nm LPG
Top speed:  175 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 11.6 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
130 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€270 per year


The 2021 Dacia Duster now on sale in Ireland

Dacia Duster Review

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

Design

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.

Interior

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.

Practicality

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

Engines

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 4x4 models on a special off-road course where the Duster showed off its very impressive ability to traverse difficult terrain. The 4x4 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 4x4 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

Equipment

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

Pricing

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.

Summary

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

Caroline Kidd


The 2021 Dacia Sandero has arrived in Ireland!

Dacia Sandero (2021) First Drive Review

The 2021 Dacia Sandero has arrived in Ireland!
The 2021 Dacia Sandero has arrived in Ireland!

Dacia Ireland has launched a new version of the Dacia Sandero supermini here, with pricing starting from a 'shockingly affordable' €12,990. The latest Sandero and Sandero Stepway sport an all-new design with updated equipment and technology. The more 'adventurous' Stepway with rugged crossover charm is Ireland’s favourite version of the Sandero representing over 60 per cent of all Sandero sales in Ireland. We took the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway on a nifty test drive around Dublin to find out what's new.

Enjoy the latest of our Dacia reviews below with the 2021 Dacia Sandero, on Irish roads for the first time!

Looking for something a bit bigger? Read our latest review of the Dacia Duster.

Styling

Styling of the Sandero twins has been updated. Both cars now look even more modern, and, dare we say it, upmarket. Exterior dimensions are similar to the previous generation of the car but tweaks include more pronounced wheel arches, a lower roof, sloped windscreen and smoother lines throughout. A wider track and flush wheels contribute to the lower, more planted appearance on the road. Machine-stamped panels provide a seamless, higher quality fit. All versions feature LED lighting with a new Y-shaped LED signature at the front, and LED-effect four-element lighting signature at the rear. The Dacia Sandero Stepway gets a more rugged makeover with extra cladding, raised ride height, unique grille with Stepway logo, roof bars and metal skid plates. It's definitely the better looking of the two. Though compact, the Stepway simply has more presence and we can see it gaining even more fans with this latest version.

The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a more rugged crossover appearance
The Dacia Sandero Stepway has a more rugged crossover appearance

Interior

The interior has been revamped with enhanced materials and a new design. The very entry models do feel basic with mostly hard plastics and few frills. But the Stepway model we tested in Prestige trim had a more colourful and plush feel. We were impressed with the new infotainment screen (from Comfort trim up) and some new soft touch materials with interesting patterns. So on the surface this one looked good. The Stepway also adds unique orange detailing on the air vents and orange stitching on the upholstery. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake.

Practicality

The Sandero has not grown in size much but it's roomier on the inside. There's an extra 42 mm of legroom in the rear and it is one of the most spacious in its class. The boot is perfect supermini size too! It has increased to 328 litres and passengers also have more space to put their belongings, with up to 21 litres of storage space dotted throughout the cabin.

Engines

Here's where it gets really interesting! New engines including a three cylinder 1.0-litre TCe Bi-Fuel petrol engine, which can also run on LPG. We tested this model with 6-speed manual transmission at the launch and with 100 hp it feels nicely powerful on the road, more than enough for a Sandero's typical 9 to 5. It's the 'quickest' in the range with 0-100 kmh in 11.2 seconds! The LPG tank is located in the spare wheel well and the filling nozzle is next to the petrol filler. Running on LPG, the new Sandero Bi-Fuel releases on average 11 per cent less CO2 emissions than an equivalent petrol engine but is also capable of travelling more than 800 miles when utilising both petrol and LPG tanks – 50 litres for petrol (the same capacity as the tank on petrol-only variants) and 40 litres for the LPG tank. The manufacturer warranty period, servicing costs and frequency are the same as the petrol versions too.

We also tested the more basic 1.0-litre, three cylinder, SCe 65 (Sandero only), which didn't have a huge amount of zest or energy, but probably does the same 9 to 5 around town pretty reliably. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission. For an indication of performance, 0-100 kmh is 16.7 seconds!

There's also the TCe 90, a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit paired with a CVT automatic transmission.

The interior of the new Dacia Sandero Stepway
The interior of the new Dacia Sandero Stepway

Driving it

With a new platform, both Sandero models for 2021 have been designed for better handling, greater steering precision, more efficient engines and improved refinement. Redesigned wing mirrors reduce wind noise and improve cabin refinement. New Sandero and Stepway models are fitted with a new front axle with rectangular suspension arms that provide more effective shock absorption and enhanced steering. Anti-roll capacity has been improved and the wheelbase extended for greater cornering stability, while the track is 41 mm wider on Sandero and 29 mm on new Sandero Stepway to improve handling and behaviour on the road. The new engine mount has been improved with a lighter and stiffer cradle to minimise vibrations in the cabin too. It's fine to drive but on first impressions it did lack some of the refinement and sophistication of more expensive models like the Renault Clio for example.

Equipment

As the first Dacia models based on the CMF modular platform, the new Sandero and Stepway benefit from more active safety features than before. All models feature automatic headlamps with improved visibility from the LED light units. Other features include emergency brake assist, hill start assist, blind spot warning and park assist.

The Sandero is available in Essence, Comfort and Prestige (Stepway only) trim.

Standard equipment includes 15" steel wheels with covers, cruise control, air con, electric front windows, DAB radio with steering wheel-mounted controls, display integrated into the dashboard computer screen, smartphone holder on the dashboard, 2 front speakers and Bluetooth® connection.

The Comfort model adds 15" flex wheels with covers, front grille with chrome, soft feel steering wheel, satin chrome trim inside, front fog lamps, power mirrors, keyless entry, automatic wipers, 8" touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and rear view camera.

The Sandero Stepway is available from €15,990
The Sandero Stepway is available from €15,990 in Ireland

Dacia Sandero Pricing For Ireland

ENGINETRIMANNUAL ROAD TAXRRP
All-new Sandero
SCe 65Essential€190€12,990
TCe 100 LPGEssential€200€14,490
TCe 100 LPGComfort€200€16,290
TCe 90 CVTComfort€210€18,290
All-new Sandero Stepway
TCe 100 LPGSTEPWAY Essential€210€15,990
TCe 100 LPGSTEPWAY Comfort€210€17,790
TCe 90 CVTSTEPWAY Comfort€210€19,790
TCe 100 LPGSTEPWAY Prestige€200€19,290
TCe 90 CVTSTEPWAY Prestige€210€21,290

Rivals

The new Dacia Sandero rivals cars such as the Kia Rio, Hyundai i20, Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.

Summary

The new Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway are maturing in the right way with enhanced quality and technology. One can simply not argue with the price. At a time when cars are getting even more expensive to buy, the Sandero remains refreshingly simple and affordable. These cars look and feel better on the road with a new platform bringing more technology to the mix. Some engines offer more zest than others and the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel is certainly one to watch! We look forward to bringing you a more detailed review later in the year.

Caroline Kidd

Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway on sale now!
Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway on sale now!

The Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

Dacia Duster (2021) Review

The Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!
The Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

Say hello to the 2021 Dacia Duster!

The Dacia Duster is maturing. Launched in Ireland back in 2012, it quickly gained notoriety as a ‘no nonsense’ budget SUV. Some canny pricing and a tough off-road look did the Duster a lot of favours. Just as the market was becoming saturated with B-segment crossovers, the Duster’s angles and honest charm wriggled its way into the hearts of more than a few Irish buyers.

That’s right, over 10,000 Dusters have found a home in Ireland. Now in its second generation, the latest Dacia Duster has the exterior sheen of the trendy suburban compact SUV to it, magnified by a glossy metallic finish! It’s come a long way. With the last significant update to the car in 2018, the Duster looks like it's ready for the Dakar Rally. Larger than life roof rails, plastic cladding and squared off wheel arches make the Duster just so…tough!

In fact, I’d missed the honest charm of the Duster. Slipping in behind the wheel, and it’s fair to say that the Duster is not trying to seduce you with sophistication. The cabin is a hard-plastic affair with some more dated switchgear than the most style conscious of the small SUVs. Superficially, you might dismiss the Duster for its lack of glossy surfaces, glittering technology, and digital interfaces. But there is a lot of substance to this car. This is why you will find a small army of Dusters already holding their own on Irish roads.

Pricing for the Duster starts from €18,795 in Ireland
Pricing for the Duster starts from €19,365 in Ireland

What are my options?

With pricing starting from €19,365, the Duster offers a compact SUV stance for supermini money. Standard equipment is basic but the Essential model includes LED daytime running lights, Emergency Brake Assist, 16-inch steel wheels and DAB radio with steering-column mounted controls and Bluetooth connectivity.

You will find a more comfortable home in Comfort trim (from €21,365) - still 'shockingly affordable' - including cruise control, 16" alloy wheels, soft feel steering wheel, trip computer, satin chrome roof bars and skid plate, manual air con, electric rear windows, rear parking camera and sensors, and the MediaNav 7″ touchscreen multimedia system.

Top of the range Prestige models like the one on test for Changing Lanes start from €23,665. Word has it that Dacia buyers do tend to go for the higher trim levels in this car for maximum goodies. The Duster Prestige looks the business, adding 17-inch alloy wheels, multi-view camera, blind spot warning, climate control and keyless entry.

Front wheel drive and four wheel drive models are available. Power comes from the trusty 1.5-litre dCi diesel or a new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine.

The interior of the 2018 Dacia Duster
The interior of the latest Dacia Duster

Inside the latest Duster

The Dacia Duster has a plain cabin with little of the glitter or glamour we have come to expect from a small SUV. That wouldn’t sit well with the Duster’s image now would it? It appears solidly built and practical. There’s a multimedia touchscreen display in the centre of the dash but the graphics do look quite dated. Yet with Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility, it’s not likely to matter too much.

Where the Duster really shines is when you consider the space available inside the vehicle at this sticker price. Duster will seat five, with the rear footwells offering more space than many rivals. The high roofline gives loads of headroom, adding to that feeling of space. The boot is also a good size at 445 litres. The Duster's boxy goodness reaps dividends. Isofix child-seat mounting points are fitted to the outer rear seats.

The Duster holds a 3-star Euro NCAP safety rating with some safety equipment like lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking still absent.

The Duster is available with petrol or diesel engines
The Duster is available with petrol or diesel engines

Driving the Dacia Duster

The driver enjoys a high seating position behind the wheel giving the feel of an authentic off-roader. Steering is light making the car easy to park and drive around town. The Duster handles the road safely though it’s not the sharpest driver of them all in its class, with more body roll than some more low slung competitors. Yet it's comfortable where it matters over long distances and copes with rougher surfaces on rural roads and in town reasonably well.

The diesel engine in our test car is a 1.5-litre affair with 115 hp. It gives a nice bit of pulling power without getting too raucous under acceleration. It returns good economy with my average fuel consumption coming in at 5.4 litres per 100 km over a week of driving. Motor tax is €200 per year for this model. There’s also a 1.0-litre petrol available with 100 or 130 hp.

The Duster is missing some polish but at this side of the market and at this price, it's clearly not a deal breaker.

The Duster offers great space for the money in the small SUV market
The Duster offers great space for the money in the small SUV market

Did you like it?

The Dacia Duster is the darling of the Dacia range. The Duster offers excellent value but also happens to be quite the charismatic car. The modern, squared off look gives Duster a leg up in the crowded SUV market.

Inside the Duster provides the convenience features one would expect of a compact SUV - if you avoid the very entry model - but without the gloss or sophistication of the best of the rivals. But everything works and it’s comfortable and fun to drive in a basic and authentic way.

On the road the Duster makes good progress backed up by strong engines.

No disparaging remarks are needed. The Dacia Duster is a rough diamond, but a good one.

The Dacia Duster makes a great, affordable small family car
The Dacia Duster makes a great, affordable small family car

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Dacia Duster dCi 115 Prestige
Price: 
€23,665
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 
260 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.5 seconds
Top speed: 
179 km/h
Fuel economy: 4.9-5.5 l/100 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
111 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year


The new Dacia Sandero will arrive in Ireland in 2021

2021 Dacia Sandero Range Revealed

The new Dacia Sandero will arrive in Ireland in 2021
The new Dacia Sandero will arrive in Ireland in 2021

Dacia has refreshed its offer in the compact car segment with the new Dacia Sandero and Stepway. The new Sandero range is expected in Ireland in spring 2021, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.

The third generation of the Dacia Sandero and Stepway are built on a new platform, and will offer more active and passive safety features, new engines and a new automatic transmission and six-speed manual gearbox.

In Ireland over 9,500 Sanderos have been sold since the model launched here in 2013, with the Stepway crossover style model accounting for over 60% of Sandero sales here.

There have been subtle tweaks to the exterior with a more sloped windscreen, a slightly lower roof and flowing roofline. The front and rear lights display Dacia’s new Y-shaped LED light signature. LED headlights will be offered as a standard feature across the entire model range.

According to Dacia, the new shape of the doors and wing mirrors improves the car’s aerodynamics while reducing air noise for all occupants.

The 2021 Dacia Sandero Stepway has a unique ribbed and domed bonnet, the chrome Stepway logo under the front grille and curved fenders above the fog lights. The front and rear bumpers include a metal skid plate. There is 174 mm ground clearance (an increase of 41 mm compared with the Sandero), while roof bars and wheel arch cladding complete the crossover-like design.

The new Renault Group CMF modular platform underpins the new Sandero range and combines greater resistance and rigidity with less weight. Both cars are fitted with a new front axle with rectangular suspension arms that are said to provide effective shock absorption and enhanced steering. Anti-roll capacity has been improved and the wheelbase extended for greater cornering stability. The new engine mount has been upgraded to minimise vibrations in the cabin.

There's also a new interior with redesigned dashboard features. Newly designed front seats provide greater comfort and support with height adjustable headrests and new, more premium upholstery. In the rear there is an additional 42 mm of space compared to the outgoing models. The boot of the Sandero has a generous 328-litre capacity and features a flat floor with adjustable height floor with two positions.

Engines will include the SCe 65, a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission and the TCe 90, a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit paired with a six-speed manual transmission or CVT automatic transmission.

Sandero and Stepway budget compacts
Sandero and Stepway budget compacts

Menapia Motors in Wexford has opened a new standalone Dacia showroom

Menapia Motors Wexford Opens Ireland’s First Standalone Dacia Showroom

Menapia Motors in Wexford has opened a new standalone Dacia showroom
Menapia Motors in Wexford has opened a new standalone Dacia showroom

Menapia Motors in Wexford has opened the first standalone Dacia showroom in Ireland following an investment of over €1 million.

The new state-of-the-art, eight-car Dacia showroom and workshop is located next to Menapia Motors’ existing Renault showroom on the Rosslare Road, Wexford Town. The expansion has increased employment at Menapia Motors with the addition of five new staff members.

To celebrate the opening, the dealership held an official unveiling of the new Dacia Duster with a special launch event on Thursday 6th December in the new showroom. Guests got a first chance to experience the new Dacia showroom with Christmas carols from the Wexford Light Opera Christmas Carollers.

A sales event will follow from Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th December 2018 at Menapia Motors Dacia with offers across the 2019 Dacia range. Anyone who test drives the new Dacia Duster during the sales event will also be entered into a draw to win a Meadows & Byrne gift card.

Gearing up for 191, Menapia Motors Dacia is offering 4.9% APR on all orders taken and registered before 31st January 2019 across the Dacia range.

Menapia Motors has been awarded Dacia Dealer of the Year for the last two years consecutively at the Renault Ireland National Dealer Awards.

Nearly 20,000 Dacia cars have been sold in Ireland since the brand’s arrival here six years ago, including over 10,000 Dusters.