posted 4 years ago

Dacia Duster Commended

The Dacia Duster has been crowed 'Scottish Car of the Year'.

The Dacia Duster has been crowed 'Scottish Car of the Year'. Quite an achievement considering it sounds like a cloth for removing grime from televisions. This award winner also claimed the 'SUV' and 'Budget' titles – so really cleaned-up. Sorry! But what is it? The Duster is a small – low cost – sports utility vehicle. As such, the entry-level trim costs a bargain basement £8,995. That is remarkably low for a vehicle with five doors, a large maximum cargo capacity of 1,636-litres, and a 1.6-litre 105bhp engine. Furthermore, four- wheel-drive versions start at only £10,995 and even the top-spec 1.5-litre 109bhp diesel is only £14,995. Cheaper than microfibre cloth, then. Every trim has electric windows, air- bags, and an immobiliser and the top-spec also has air-con, Bluetooth, and MP3 playback.

This raises a fascinating question... who is Dacia? The marque started life in 1966 in Romania. Here the company produced numerous vehicles including the 1100 and the 1310. However, since 1999 Dacia has been owned by Renault who perceive it as their budget brand. Basic specifications and low purchase costs are therefore, generally, the name of the game. Despite this, Dacia was the fifth best selling car brand in France in 2011, and sold 350,000 vehicles in thirty-five counties during 2010. Impressive. However, it remains to be seen whether the Duster is as popular with UK buyers as it is with Scottish motoring journalists. If not, the manufacturer will have to launch the Dacia Vacuum-Sports.