Dacia’s arrival in the UK couldn’t be more spectacular, with the manufacturer announcing prices for the forthcoming Duster SUV model will start from an astonishing £8,995.
To put that in to perspective, that’s just £200 more than a Ford Ka will cost. For that you’ll get a mid-size SUV that’s similar in size to the Nissan Qashqai.
Whilst the Duster has been available in Europe for some time, demand has been such that right hand drive production for the UK wasn’t possible. However, by the end of 2012 the all-new Renault-Nissan factory in Chennai, India will be producing UK specific models, benefitting from several changes with improved interiors and an external facelift being the most obvious change.
Shortly afterwards, the all-new Sandero supermini will also join the fray, giving Dacia a two-pronged assault on the UK car market.
Keeping things very simple, and therefore keeping prices down, Dacia will be offering the Duster in just three trim levels; Access, Ambiance and Laureate. The latter is expected to be the most popular in the UK, with the combination of size, luxury and price being unbeatable on the UK market.
The Access trim level, starting at that headline grabbing price of £8,995, comes with a 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 105 bhp (107 PS) that still returns as much as 39.8 mpg and emits as little as 165 g/km of CO2. Fitted with 16 inch wheels, roof bars, electric front windows, Emergency Brake Assist, ABS and remote central locking as standard, the only decision to make is whether to pay an extra £2,000 for the four wheel drive version. At £10,995 this is the cheapest 4×4 SUV on the market by several thousand pounds.
One area where Dacia have cut corners is on the audio department; the Access model comes with radio and speaker pre-wiring only.
Ambiance spec adds £2,500 to the asking price, but does add a radio and CD player with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, folding rear seats and front fog lights. The power unit also changes, the 1.6 litre petrol unit being swapped for a 1.5 litre diesel lump producing 110 bhp (112 PS), which manages up to 56.5 mpg with a CO2 emissions figure as low as 130 g/km.
The top Laureate spec adds another £1,500 to the list price, bringing it to £12,995 for the two wheel drive option or £14,995 for the 4×4. This sees the addition of 16” alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric rear windows, leather steering wheel and a trip computer. The styling inside and out also moves up a notch, with satin chrome for the roof bars, scuff plates, side sills and door handles. Body coloured, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors also appear, while piano black detailing adds a touch of class throughout the interior.
All models have plenty of space thanks to the Duster being 4.3 metres long, with the boot providing up to 475 litres of capacity. Fold the rear seats down and 1,636 litres becomes available, more than the Nissan Qashqai.
To keep things simple and, again, to reduce costs, options are limited to just two choices. ASR traction control and ESC on diesel-engined versions is available for £350, while a choice of four metallic paint options are available on Ambiance and Laureate models for £470. Four external accessory packs can also be ordered, tailored for individual needs.
All new Dacia’s come with a 3 year/60,000 mile warranty with an option to extend that to a five- (60,000 miles), or seven-year (100,000 miles) policy, for £395 or £850, including VAT.
For those wishing to be amongst the first to own a Duster, the Dacia Store open tomorrow where you’ll be able to pre-order a car with a £100 deposit. The Duster will also be making a significant appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with test drives on the Thursday. All 127 Dacia dealers will have a static display model in their showrooms from Thursday 28 June.
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