This Dacia Duster has no alloy and no touchscreen – Back to Basics

We also thought it was cool with a Defender

This Dacia Duster has no alloy and no touchscreen – Back to Basics

A new, modern SUV for less than 26 grand? That must be a Dacia. However, anyone who opts for the basic version of the latest Duster gives up a number of facilities that have been normal elsewhere for a long time.

Dacia Duster TCe 100 ECO-G Essential – €25,590

Just look at the overview page of this section: more and more basic models don’t look so basic at all. Partly as a result of what we will call the ‘Tesla model’, where the number of versions is limited to a minimum to keep (homologation) costs in check, more and more manufacturers are choosing to make cars fairly complete as standard. to make. Beautiful wheels, LED lighting all around, climate control and all kinds of driving aids are increasingly standard, while a number of manufacturers are even trying to distinguish themselves by giving cars a nice metallic coat at no extra cost.

But what about Dacia? The only real budget brand on the European market still manages to offer cars at prices that are not achieved even by Chinese brands. Yes, €25,590 is much more than the roughly €16,000 you once paid for the first Duster, but in today’s car market €40,000 is perfectly normal for a car of this size.

For the stated basic price, Dacia will hoist you into a Duster that is very appropriately called ‘Essential’. Very appropriate, because at first glance there is not much more to it than the essentials. For example, Dacia does not consider alloy wheels necessary and even hubcaps cannot be removed for the Essential buyer. No, this Duster simply stands on bare, steel wheels with – yes – hub caps, which are hidden under equally black wheel arch extensions. Bald? Absolutely, but secretly also charming. After all, this very rudimentary design suits such a powerful Dacia, and with the Land Rover Defender there was even a real hype about the (white) steel wheels that were initially supplied on the basic model. Not anymore, by the way, but disappointed Defender buyers are certainly welcome at Dacia.

The simplest Duster is white as standard and those who don’t want that can only choose from gray and the typical ‘Khaki green’ that Dacia supplies on all models for €700. The external difference with more expensive models is unmistakable. The €27,390 Expression not only has beautiful light alloy, but also painted door handles, dark gray mirror caps and dark gray accents in the front and rear bumper.

Cold shower

Dacia Duster back to basics

On the inside, the basic Duster is certainly a cold shower for those who are used to today’s luxury. For example, what other car doesn’t have a touchscreen? Still a handful of Dacias and A-segmenters, but it is unprecedented in this class. Instead of the screen, Dacia provides what it ambitiously calls ‘Media Control’, an app and holder that can transform your phone into a kind of control panel for the car. There is a radio with Bluetooth and it is operated using the buttons and the screen behind the steering wheel. Smart!

With that missing screen, the rear window cranks and the plastic that is used even more abundantly in the Essential version than in the more beautifully finished Expression and Extreme versions, the atmosphere on board completely matches such a basic version. However, not everything has been resolved. Thanks to the height-adjustable seat and the height- and depth-adjustable steering wheel, you will undoubtedly sit comfortably in the Duster, even without the center armrest. The steering wheel is also covered in artificial leather and air conditioning is standard, albeit in manual form. Central door locking and cruise control are also considered ‘essentials’ by Dacia, and not without reason.

Striking: there are no separate options for the basic Duster. Anyone who would like a screen, alloy or armrest will have to upgrade to the Expression. Dacia does offer all kinds of accessories for the Duster, such as running boards and roof racks. That doesn’t make him any less cool!

Motor vehicle tax

Finally, we have to talk about the technology, because like other Dacias, the new Duster in the Netherlands is delivered with an LPG system as standard. The 100 hp three-cylinder is not oversized for the Duster, although it will certainly work in combination with the six-speed manual gearbox. Nowadays we have to make a comment about LPG. According to current plans, the so-called G3 scheme will end on January 1, 2026, as a result of which LPG drivers will suddenly pay significantly more motor vehicle tax. Such a Duster Essential currently costs you €299 mrb per quarter in South Holland, but that will soon become €443 even with the current rates. Anyone who wants a different engine will automatically end up with a more expensive version. You can also forget about your dream basic Duster with steel wheels and four-wheel drive: for the TCe 130 with 4×4, the Expression is the minimum.

In the specific case of the Duster, there is a small disappointment when it comes to MRB: the basic version weighs 1,251 kg and therefore falls slightly into a higher weight class. Can’t we give up something to get below 1,250, Dacia? Those center caps, perhaps?

– Thanks for information from

Recent Articles

Related Stories