I managed to get hold of the keys to our long-term Dacia Duster recently and I have to say I was impressed, for the most part. Particularly admirable was the way the car has coped with a recent cold snap.
My only complaint, however, would be that the screen heater/dryer seems to struggle a little bit when it comes to the task of blasting away the condensation on the inside of the car, resulting in some unseemly peering through the gaps you've managed to wipe into the windscreen.
That said, it's not too much of an issue, it's just a question of spending a bit more time on my driveway than I normally would.
Once the Dacia and I are on our way, however, it's plain sailing and driving it for the first time, I was impressed with how much bang you get for your buck. With a decent audio system and easy-to-operate sat-nav, there are plenty of convenient mod-cons included as part of the package.
Yes, perhaps the engine is a little noisy, but that's probably just a question of sound-proofing rather than anything else, and yes, of course much of the interior trim is plasticky and not exactly of the highest quality, but the car has so much going for it in other ways that I hope it won't be too long before I'm behind the wheel again.
Model: Dacia Duster Laureate dCi 110 4x4
Price: £16,380 (as tested)
Engine: 1.5-litre, turbocharged diesel
Power: 109bhp, 240Nm
Max speed: 104mph
Mileage this month: 678
This month's highlight
Experiencing for the first time the charms of our long-term Duster.