THE FIRST CUSTOMERS won’t take deliver for another three months, but over 1000 Dacia Duster SUVs have already been ordered.
What makes that really remarkable is that none of those 1000-plus car buyers has driven a right-hand drive, UK-spec car. It’s quite a leap of faith, although the modest £100 refundable deposit Dacia has been asking must have made it easier for many to sign on the dotted line.
It looks like Dacia has found a gap in the market to exploit. Not so long ago you’d have called Hyundai and Kia budget brands, but when the Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage both start from £17,300, the Korean car makers are now pricing much closer to mainstream rivals. Even the Ssangyong Korando starts from £16,995.
The Duster? The entry-level two-wheel drive is priced at £8995. Around one sixth of buyers have preordered the bottom-spec car, but Dacia reports high demand for the well equipped Laureate and 4×4 versions.
The new Sandero supermini may not be such an obvious potential tow car, but with a price tag of £5995, it’s the cheapest new car on the market – bar none.
Dacia quotes a kerbweight of 1160kg and a legal towing limit of 1200kg for the 1.6 petrol 2WD model. So this version is suited to ultra-light tourers and trailer tents rather than your typical family caravan. The top-spec 1.5 dCi Laureate 4×4 has a kerbweight of 1294kg and a legal towing limit of 1500kg, so it should be able to cope with the the likes of the Adria Altea 390 DS and the Elddis Xplore 304.
I haven’t driven the Duster yet, but I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel early next year. In the meantime, here’s what our colleagues on What Car? think of the Dacia.