SUV FOR SUPERMINI MONEY: DACIA POISED TO CLEAN UP WITH SHOCKINGLY AFFORDABLE DUSTER SUV FROM £8,995

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Dacia Duster

  • SUV for supermini money: “Shockingly Affordable” Duster range to start in UK from only £8,995 on-the-road.
  • The UK’s most affordable new 4x4 at only £10,995
  • Duster available to pre-order from 28 June at dacia.co.uk
  • Simplicity is key-three UK trim levels: Access, Ambiance and Lauréate
  • Up to two thirds of sales expected to be flagship trim level, in line with other Western European markets
  • Two engines: 1.6 105hp petrol and 1.5 110hp diesel. 1.6 petrol on entry-level versions, diesel engines on upper two trim levels. 4x4 versions available with either engine.
  • Two options: ASR traction control/ESC and metallic paint
  • Four accessory exterior packs to customise Duster
  • 127 Dacia Retailers around UK have static left-hand-drive car in showrooms from tomorrow
  • Dacia Store on dacia.co.uk accepting pre-orders online from tomorrow, ahead of first deliveries in January 2013

Dacia Duster

The UK car industry might never be the same again after today’s announcement by Dacia that its first model on sale here, Duster, an SUV, will be priced from only £8,995 on-the-road.

After an anxious wait, from tomorrow at Dacia Retailers across the country, British buyers will finally get to see for themselves just what all the fuss has been about in recent years when it comes to the Dacia phenomenon, which continues to take the motoring world by storm.

To tie-in with its UK pre-launch activities at the Goodwood Festival of Speed which starts tomorrow with the Moving Motor Show, Dacia has confirmed UK pricing and specification for its eagerly-awaited Duster, offering an SUV for supermini, or in some cases, even city car, money.

Since its resurgence under Renault Group ownership, international demand has been so high for the Dacia value brand, including the Duster SUV, that right-hand drive production has not been possible. Until now. By the end of 2012, the all-new Renault-Nissan Alliance factory in Chennai, India will be producing Britain’s most affordable SUV. Versions reaching UK shores will also benefit from several changes, including improved interiors and facelifted exterior touches. Shortly afterwards, the all-new Sandero supermini will also join the fray, giving Europe’s fastest-growing automotive a two-pronged assault on the UK car market, both new and used.

Aiming to mirror its unprecedented success in other Western European markets, including France and Germany, Dacia will offer a simple three trim level Duster line-up in the UK, in both 4x2 and 4x4 guises.

Everything that Dacia does is centred around simplicity and eliminating the unnecessary. Its model range for the UK reflects this strategy, giving customers the ability to buy exactly what they need and nothing more. In spite of eye-catching entry model prices, contrary to what one might expect, a significant proportion of Western European buyers tend to treat themselves. Most tend to plump for top-of-the-range versions such as the Laureate, which offers alloy wheels, air conditioning and electric windows and mirrors, all for the price of a mid-range supermini.

Kicking off Britain’s most affordable new SUV range is the Access, starting at £8,995 on-the-road (4x2). The 4x4 version costs a jaw-dropping £10,995, the cheapest 4x4 SUV by several thousand pounds. Available with a 105hp 1.6-litre petrol engine in either 4x2 or 4x4 guise, the entry point to Duster ownership offers a compelling proposition. Standard exterior features on the five-seater include, 16” steel wheels and longitudinal roof bars, while on the inside, the high-selling model offers electric front windows, four airbags, height adjustable steering wheel and ISOFIX points on the outer rear seats. An emergency spare wheel is also fitted free-of-charge to 4x4 versions. ABS and Emergency Brake Assist, plus remote central locking are also core features, together with radio and speaker pre-wiring.

Moving up the range brings value-seekers to Ambiance. Prices for the likely second best-selling trim level in the UK start at £11,495, rising to £13,495. Naturally, the £2,500 price walk gives customers a heightened specification as well as the enhanced performance and economy of a diesel powerplant. Among its biggest draws are a 4x20W radio/CD with AUX, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and steering-column mounted fingertip controls, plus body coloured bumpers, 60/40 split folding rear seats, front fog lights and height adjustable driver’s seat.

The flagship of the Duster range in the UK, and the expected best-seller accounting for around two thirds of orders, will be Lauréate, although costing only £12,995 to £14,995, buyers could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a pricing error.

The premium for the top-seller brings several key draws. Among them are 16” alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric rear windows, leather steering wheel and 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. In the cabin, piano black detailing adds a touch of class throughout, specifically on on the door handles, centre console surround, plus steering wheel and door panel inserts.

As well as its tempting equipment feature, as a compact SUV, Duster naturally provides plenty of passenger and load space. Its well-proportioned boot gives a 475-litre space (408 litres in 4x4 with spare wheel), while optimum load space once the rear seats are dropped climbs to an impressive 1,636 litres. More than enough for several dogs, a sizable amount of leisure equipment, or even the kitchen sink.

Duster – Options and accessories

The Dacia philosophy is to make an enemy of the unnecessary. One prime example of this relentless focus on keeping costs in check is option availability and paint colours on its vehicles.

By limiting the number of options and colour palette choices available on its cars and vans, the brand can reduce production line complexity, thereby passing the savings onto its customers through lower list prices. Duster is no exception. In the UK, this leads to an easy-to-fathom options list incorporating simply two items, ASR traction control and ESC on diesel-engined versions for £350, and metallic paint. All trim levels have non-metallic white as standard. The choice of four metallic paint finishes on Ambiance and Laureate are Argentum Silver, Caspian Blue, Granite Grey and Mariana Blue, priced at £470 including VAT.

Although factory option complexity is deliberately toned down, unsurprisingly as an SUV, Duster lends itself to plenty of customisation. Customers seeking to enhance its rugged looks can choose from a set of four accessory packs.

The first pack, Adventurer, includes door sill protective mouldings and front and rear wheel arch protectors, at £445 including VAT. The second, Styling, costs £655 and brings daytime running lights and chrome for the side and front bars and exhaust tailpipe. The penultimate, Protection, as befitting its name and undoubtedly a boon for city dwellers, pet owners or the odd mud-plugging adventure, offers an alarm, rear parking sensors, tailgate protection, bootliner and front and rear mudguards at £575. The last, Touring, costs £555 and should prove ideal for outdoor types, boasting a towbar and transversal roof bars, plus a front centre armrest for increased comfort on the longer journey.

Duster – range overview

Trim levelVersionInsurance GroupOTR Price
Access1.6 105 4x27P£8,995
1.6 105 4x47P£10,995
Ambiance1.5 dCi 110 4x210P£11,495
1.5 dCi 110 4x410P£13,495
Laureate1.5 dCi 110 4x210P£12,995
1.5 dCi 110 4x410P£14,995

Dacia expects UK sales to be predominantly 4x2. However, with 4x4 versions starting at just £10,995 on-the-road, nothing else in the market offers the same size, price and equipment for the money.

Based on Renault-Nissan Alliance four-wheel-drive technology, Duster is not your average urban soft-roader. More than capable of tackling the rough stuff, all 4x4 versions feature selectable three-mode, four-wheel drive as standard (2WD, Auto and Lock), plus a useful 210mm ground clearance and impressive clearance angles of 30°(approach), 23°(ramp breakover) and 36°(departure).

Duster – engines and transmissions

In the UK, Duster will be available with a choice of two tried and tested Renault Group engines, the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5 dCi diesel. The former gives fuel economy of 39.8 mpg (35.3 in 4x4) andCO2emissions of 165g/km (185g/km 4x4).

Renault Group’s best-selling diesel engine, the 1.5 dCi 110, is put to effective use in Duster, particularly given the car’s sub-1,300kg kerbweight. Giving the best CO2 performance in the range, in 4x2 models it offers 130g/km, as well as an impressive 137g/km in 4x4, together with a wallet-friendly 56.5 mpg (53.3 in 4x4).

In 4x2 models, the 1.6 is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. 1.5 dCi 110 versions, are paired with a six-speed manual, as are 1.6 4x4 versions. 4x4 versions also boast a short first gear ratio for greater traction over rough ground. Italso helps to maintain grip when starting on a slope, tackling steep descents or accelerating under load, such as when towing.

Dacia– UK warranty

All new Dacia’s come with a 3 year/60,000 mile warranty (whichever is reached sooner). Rather than forcing buyers to pay a premium for a longer warranty they might not want, the new brand will be giving customers the option to extend their warranty to a five- (60,000 miles), or seven-year (100,000 miles) policy, for £395 or £850, including VAT.

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