Duster’s polished job!

Motor 1IT almost defies logic that a car-maker can offer a respectable-looking 4×4 for under 10 grand – and keep churning them out, to satisfy new buyers.

But that’s exactly what Dacia, now the EU’s fastest-growing car manufacturer, have done. Well, to be strictly accurate, what The Renault Group have achieved since spotting the company’s potential in 1999 and buying the firm.

Dacia were founded in 1966 and, thanks to shared technology and production methods, Renault have helped Dacia become a global icon in their own right, selling just under 350,000 vehicles worldwide in 2011 and over 1.8 million since 2004.

It is an astonishing success story, and Dacia have production facilities across the globe, including Romania and Morocco. And UK versions of the highly-popular, classy-looking Duster are built at a Renault-Nissan Alliance factory in India.

The big question with a budget car-maker is always: “Are their cars reliable? The answer in this case is a simple “Yes”, because their cars use only useful and proven technology from the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

And that is surely why they finished second, just behind Audi, in the 2010 JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey in Germany.

A year later, the company were voted “Europe’s Most Reliable Car Brand” in a survey of 29,000 car-owners across five European companies.

And that is why Dacia/Renault have no hesitation in updating their famous Duster 4×4, with prices starting from £9,495 for the entry-level compact SUV, rising to £15,495 for the flagship Laureate model.

What’s new is the chrome front grille, made up of two layers of four intakes, as well as “Duster” branded roof bars for all trim levels – finished in chrome for Laureate spec.

Round the back, there’s a Duster-badged black tailgate bar, while top-spec variants also get 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and dark, metal wing mirrors.

There are five new metallic colours for Ambiance and Laureate as well – Mercury, Khaki, pearl Black, Slate Grey and Cinnamon – offering customers an alternative to the standard-fit, solid Glacier White.

Inside, every Duster gets new upholstery and seats, including Hassium cloth for Access trim and Osmium cloth for Ambiance, while Laureate gets Rhodium cloth with Duster lettering.

As well as the three trim levels passing over, Dacia are again offering a choice of two engines, and both two- and four-wheel drive layouts.

The entry-level Access model gets a 105bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine only, but Ambiance and Laureate versions are powered by a 1.5-litre dCi diesel, rated at 107bhp when paired to front-wheel drive Dusters and 109bhp for the 4x4s.

Highlights for Access spec (£9,495-£11,495) include remote-locking, electric front windows, ESC and traction control, plus body-coloured bumpers and a tyre pressure monitor.

Opt for Ambiance (£11,995-£13,995) and you get 16-inch Matterhorn steel wheels, satin-chrome door handles, a radio/CD player with USB and Bluetooth, plus front fog lights and a 60/40 folding rear seat.

Topping things off is Laureate (£13,495-£15,495), which gets the new Tyrol alloys and chromed roof-bars, alongside manual air-con, electric mirrors and windows all round, cruise-control with a speed limiter, and a leather-trim steering wheel.

Take a good look if you spot a stationary one anf marvel at the workmanship.– the proud owner won’t mind, that’s for sure!



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Posted by on Sep 26 2014. Filed under Motoring. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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