THE DACIA DUSTER took the ‘Best Budget 4×4’ award at the 2013 Tow Car Awards. From just £13,495, which is less than you’d pay for the tiny Kia Rio three-door, the five-seat 4×4 is a bit rough and ready in places, but it’s undeniably a bargain.


It makes a decent tow car, too. Our testers said they’d “be happy to tow on long motorway journeys with the Duster.”


A short first gear made easy work of the hill start, and the Dacia was almost as comfortable reversing up a slope as it was going forwards.


Our testers did, though, have some reservations, such as a shortage of standard safety equipment we’ve come to expect in new cars. It does, though, have a full-size spare tyre, and fared well in our rigorous, fuel economy testing, returning a perfectly satisfactory 27.8mpg when towing a caravan loaded to 85% of the Dacia’s kerbweight.


All in all, it’s hard not to be impressed by a car that offers so much for so little.