Dacia Duster, the proof: with the restyling comes a new engine and double clutch gearbox

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With almost 2 million units sold since 2010, the Dacia Duster is one of the most successful models in Europe and Italians have always shown their appreciation as they have bought 250,000 in recent years. During this period the Romanian SUV has evolved, freeing itself from its original nature as a low cost product, constantly improving the mechanics, finishes and equipment. The restyling of the second generation that we tried in the countryside around Paris confirms this evolution. Compared to the model it replaces, the measurements are unchanged and the aesthetics change only in the details “a precise choice to preserve the value of the old Dusters in the second-hand market” explained Lionel Jaillet, Product Director of Dacia. The changes concern above all the optical groups, updated with the ay design of the LEDs typical of all the new Dacia, and small details in the plastics of the grille and of the lower part of the bumper.

Then there are other secondary innovations such as the rear spoiler and alloy wheels with a new design, but the major ones are concentrated inside. What immediately catches the eye is the new infotainment system, with an 8-inch touch display. It is much more sensitive and easily usable than the previous one, it has greater functionality also with regard to navigation and connects wirelessly with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Ergonomics improves thanks to the sliding central armrest, even if the driving position always remains too collected and in the long run tiring for the tallest. On the technological side, then, the headlights with automatic ignition, the backlit steering wheel controls, the blind spot sensor and the parking assistance make their debut. As for the engines, however, the main novelty is represented by the 150 bhp 1.3 turbo petrol engine combined exclusively with the 6-speed double-clutch automatic transmission, already seen on several Renault Group models.

It is a powertrain that takes the Duster to a previously unknown level of performance. The peak reaches 199 km / h and the sprint from 0 to 100 km / h takes 9.7 seconds. At the wheel it is the recovery that impresses the most, especially in motorway contexts, where the 250 Nm of torque are felt, making you accumulate speed in a very short time, also thanks to the mass contained within thirteen quintals. However, it is better not to overdo it, because the set-up is very soft, more like an SUV than a road crossover; therefore both the pitch and the roll are considerable and to have proof of this, you just need to brake with a little more decision than normal or tackle a curve with light joy. Although the new power steering calibration makes the steering wheel more substantial starting from 70 km / h, precision is certainly not a reference in the category. In other words, the most powerful engine in the range would need a suspension adjustment more suited to its cavalry.

In this sense, the 100 HP LPG engine appears more balanced, while not having any awe in terms of performance. Furthermore, it has greater operating economy and the autonomy of a true traveler, given that the capacity of the LPG tank has risen from 34 to 50 liters, guaranteeing over 1,200 km of travel in bi-fuel mode. Considering that this version starts at 13,450 euros, that is only 500 more than the base with the same engine (which also has 10 hp less), it is understandable why two out of three Dusters in Italy are LPG. Furthermore, with the restyling, sixth gear was added which makes the difference on the motorway, significantly lowering the engine speed of the in-line three-cylinder. The engine, therefore, is barely heard but is dominated by a series of other noises, such as the rolling of the tires or the aerodynamic rustles coming from the side mirrors. In any case, this is an acceptable level, especially given the prices of the car.

Dacia Duster, the card
What is that:
the restyling of the second generation of the Romanian SUV,
Dimensioni: length 4.34 meters, width 1.80 m, height 1.69 m, pitch 2.67 m
Trunk: 445 liters
Engines: 1.0 TCe turbo 3 cylinder with 100 HP, petrol-LPG – 1.3 TCe turbo 4 cylinder with 150 HP
Exchange: 6-speed mechanical – 6-speed double-clutch automatic
Traction: front
Advantages: consumption, sturdiness, value for money, luggage compartment
Defects: trim too soft (1.3 TCe), uncomfortable driving position for tall people
Production: Pitesti, Romania
Prices: the range of the new Dacia Duster starts at 12,950 euros and goes up to 22,150 euros

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