Long term report: Dacia Duster #1

Dacia Duster
Blackball Media

When the email came through from Renault HQ that they would be offering us a brand-new, delivery-mileage Dacia Duster, in replacement for our much loved (and long-gone) Zoe EV, it wasn't met with much sadness in the office.
That's not because we didn't love the Zoe, far from it – it's a cracker of an electric car after all –but nobody could charge the ruddy thing.

Only editor James had the requisite charging point installed in their garage, and we were getting fed up with him bleating on about how wonderful it was to drive... and definitely starting to feel as though we were missing out.

Now we have a diesel 4x4 that everyone can use. But that in itself presents problems, because if you want to drive one of the cars on the AOL fleet you have to get in quick before the keys 'mysteriously' disappear from the key cupboard.

So I hopped in first and I was rather amazed. Up until now my only Duster experience has been with the UN-spec bargain-basement Access model. But this Laureate version has alloys, air conditioning and even a radio.

Long term Dacia Duster
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Long term report: Dacia Duster #1

That's not to mention the glovebox light, piano- black trim, chrome bits around the air vents and a cool '4WD' sticker on the tailgate.

It's so snazzy it's the automotive equivalent of a Duster Access having won the lottery – an immediate glitzy transformation - though one that, on our car at least, has ballooned the asking price to over £16k, from the £9,495 entry point.

Our car does come with £885-worth of options too (that's a lot in Dacia's world), but you could say it's all the better for it.

The knowledge

Model: Dacia Duster Laureate dCi 110 4x4
Price: £16,380 (as tested)
Engine: 1.5-litre, turbocharged diesel
Power: 109bhp, 240Nm
Max speed: 104mph
0-60mph: 12.3s
Emissions: 137g/km
Mileage this month: 421

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Waving goodbye to an electric car and getting the keys to an SUV powered by good old diesel
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