• The sweet little Dacia Duster belongs in the USA


    2011-dacia-duster-001
    Good looking – right? This is the Dacia Duster and it’s only available overseas. Bummer.

    What is this the Dacia Duster? It is a remarkably simple SUV that has good off road capability while being a easy everyday driver. The Dacia Duster has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder gas engine that puts out 105 horsepower and (about) 109 lbs-feet of torque. There is an optional four-cylinder diesel capable of 110 horsepower that makes around 147 lb-ft of torque. The Dacia Duster comes only with a five or six-speed manual transmission – which is kind of awesome – and it’s dependent on the model you purchase.

    It’s about the size of a Honda CR-V.

    Dacia-Duster_08

    The Dacia Duster is cheap as chips with a UK price of £8,995 for a Dacia Duster Access 1.6 16v 105 4×2. For UK price reference – a base model Ford Fiesta costs £9,795. What’s so impressive is that this Romanian-built trucklet is an award winning, solidly-built machine that could fill a void in the U.S. market left by the withdraw of Suzuki.

    Seriously.

    dacia-duster-dci-01

    “In just over seven years, the Dacia brand has become a genuine global success story. In 2010, 350,000 people bought a new Dacia in 35 countries worldwide, making us the fifth-bestselling passenger car brand in France (in 2011), as well as market leader in Romania and Morocco.

    Duster4x4As a brand of the Renault Group, Dacia uses clever sourcing and proven technology to ensure its cars are reliable, robust and affordable. From the Sandero hatchback to the Duster SUV, Dacia cars are simple to use and affordable to own. That’s why German customers voted Dacia their second favourite manufacturer in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey, in 2010, just behind Audi and ahead of Mercedes-Benz.” – – Dacia UK

    Think about it this way, a slick little 4X4 like the Dacia Duster could be sold in the United States as a Nissan. Renault is partnered with Nissan AND Nissan worked with Dacia on the Duster’s 4X4 system. So, there may be a business case for bringing’s the Duster to our shores!

    I know, it’s a long shot.

    There are a lot of people in the United States that miss vehicles like the Suzuki Samurai, Sidekick, Grand Vitara and other cheap off-road capable vehicles. As The Fast Lane Car constantly demonstrates, crossovers can move through the dirt, but a proper SUV with decent ground clearance and a locking differential make a huge difference on the rough stuff.

    The Dacia Duster has this and it has a rather easy to live with, utilitarian interior too!

    DusterIt did well in Europe’s NCAP and the Dacia Duster has performed well in racing. It placed 3rd in the Unlimited Class at its 2011 debut at the Pike’s Peak hill climb. That ‘s not too shabby. It’s participated in various rallies, races and competitions around the world including winning the Andros Trophy driven by F1 ace, Alain Prost.

    There’s a lot to like about this little truck. I happen to think it’s very handsome and its proportions are ideal for folks who are squeezing pennies. Small, frugal, cheap – AND it can go off-road. Sweet.

    Here’s our last Suzuki video… which is kind of sad.

    I truly think the Dacia Duster could replace the void that Suzuki left behind. What do you think?

    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum.  His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    12 thoughts on “The sweet little Dacia Duster belongs in the USA

    1. U have seen how TopGear UK pans this vehicle, right? Personally, for me, anyway, cars produced in countries run by former dictators trouble me a bit, and reliability is ???? For big, American highways? I distinctly remember my Renault Fuego turbo…with rubber parts made so well squirrels ate them.

      Also, honestly, how much money could Nissan make on importing them, the new parts network to support it, et all?

      Thank you for the oddball entry ‘tho, Nathan…this rox.

      -j

      1. There is no issue of reliability for any Dacia at all. My company has three Dacia Logan since 2008. They are virtually bullet-proof. Comparing to Chrysler Grand Voyager (town and country) of the same year or Jeep Grand Cherokee of the same year, which I personally still drive, then Dacia had never go to service besides regular oil changes. It is now one of the best selling cars in Europe for a very good reason.

        Ducia is sold under Renault brand in Russia and South America. I do not think that they would have big problems to find ways, how to serve one more country. I simply do not believe that there will be big enough demand for diesel Duster on USA market. The gasoline car is too weak.

    2. Seems like quite a bit of goodies for under $14,000.

      IF it could be brought over here without too much inflation (tariffs), it could do fairly well.

    3. Duster is smaller then CR-V. I guess that Duster is somewhere close in terms of size to Jeep Patriot or original Jeep Cherokee XJ. I have driven diesel and gasoline Duster with 4×4. It is a very good car, but gasoline Duster is too weak. In fact, the gasoline version is so weak, that I do not think that it could work for USA.

      Fiat could brink 4×4 Panda to USA. That could be a fan car for youth.

    4. in India, Duster has re-written the way people driven SUVs. Renault had to intimate users on delivery dates of more than 4 months. Obviously they didn’t expect that it would receive such response. In less than 6 months they sold 27000 dusters and Renault are no where near to fill the demand-Supply gap.

    5. Mine is due for delivery in 2 weeks, a small delay as I have opted for leather interior which was not an option but will be first fitted in UK. I have test driven these they are very capable and for what I am paying for a fully loaded model with 7 years warranty, I could only have got a very basic Kia Sportage.

    6. I hear nothing but good things from those who have driven the Duster (I know two in the UK and one in India who have tested Duster). I will definitely try to drive one next time I’m overseas. It is a mighty good looking vehicle and I got to see the Pike’s Peak racing Duster in person.

    7. This is a good, simple and cheap car with serious off road capability. I’m from Romania and unfortunately we have some of the worst roads in EU due to the hi level of state corruption and incompetence but we also have some of the most beautiful winding mountain roads and wild landscapes……..trust me…..this car is built to take severe punishment. No major issues so far.

      It doesn’t have many options but the 4×4 version has standard ESP. full electric windows, mirror, remote locking, manual AC, etc.
      It has 21 cm or 8.5 in of ground clearance with full independent front and rear suspension and the 4×2 about 8 inches with a semi-rigid rear axle . The 4×4 lockable system is the one on the Xtrail and other cars sold under the Nissan-Renault badge. In Russia and South America the car has also a 2.0L Renault Engine with 140 hp.Unlike many suv’s the drive shaft is higher then the body [like the Forester] and it wont hit the ground first.
      A real plus for its class [SUV] is the short first gear that acts as a low range gear.

      The negative – cheap interior design and plastic [ there will probably be a facelift shown at the Geneva motor show in one week from now]
      The price in Romania for the fully loaded 4×4 is about 18 000 eur – 23 500 $ BUT if it were to be sold in the US it would probably be cheaper. Things in America are cheaper than in EU no matter were they are built.
      Example: a Wrangler Rubicon at about 35000 $ is 26800 eur but here is sold for 36 000 eur meaning 47000 $ !!!

    8. Roman & Nathan (the new ‘Click & Clack’? minus the annoying laughter !) – Dacia Duster; my 1st thought seeing the Dial Shifter . . . wonder if THIS little gem of an SUV had any influence (get ready, here comes the diversion . . .) on the new ’14 Jeep Cherokee ?
      MASH UP SUGGESTION ! – IN-HOUSE (CHRYSLER/FIAT HOUSE); BETWEEN THE NEWEST AVAILABLE DODGE “AWD” JOURNEY and the (when available) ’14 JEEP CHEROKEE (4WD version) ! THEY SEEM TO HAVE ABOUT THE SAME SHAPE/SIZE, GROUND CLEARANCE (?), BUT THE CHEROKEE WILL WIN OUT WITH ITS REAR STORAGE WHETHER SEATS ARE FOLDED OR NOT !? I think this would be a great Mash Up for those die hard Chrysler Folks (not wanting to shame themselves into a Subaru or . . . ! Heck “ain’t no” secret the small % of Folk taking “these things” off road !
      ALSO, on the JEEP WEB AT THE BOTTOM; if you click on “SUV or Crossover” you get an interesting array of “Jeepinitions” (Jeeps Definitions) for SUV and Crossover with the Pictures of the Jeep Lineup – G.C. / Wranglers / Liberty / Compass / Patriot ! WONDER HOW & WHERE THIS NEW CHEROKEE WILL “FIT IN”? Will it depend on the Variant ?
      Wonder what Chrysler would do to the Dacia Duster Interior & Mechanicals to make it U.S. Road / Consumer “worthy” !?
      How was that for “getting back on track”? ps; Let’s not forget about that JOURNEY / CHEROKEE MASH IDEA ! Peace, Lou in Spokane.

    9. SORRY, MY BAD, LACK OF PROOF READING – THE CHEROKEE WILL NOT WIN OUT IN THE STORAGE WARS OVER THE JOURNEY. I’VE BEEN IN THE JOURNEY SEATS FOLDED AND CAN LAY DOWN FAIRLY COMFORTABLY WITH THE SELF INFLATING MATTRESS AND BAG ! THE CHEROKEE, FROM WHAT ALL ARE SAYING (EVEN JEEP), IS THAT THE REAR HAS BEEN COMPROMISED ! TOO BAD ! I WAS HOPING FOR THE BEST AND NOW AM LOOKING AT ALL THE REST, INCLUDING THE JOURNEY AWD (sad!).

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