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Dacia Duster 4x4 2013 review

Overall towcar rating


Attached Image: DSCF1244 - Copy.JPG

Key information

  • Transmission: Manual
  • Year of manufacture: 2013
  • Fuel type: Diesel
  • Engine size: 1.5litres
  • Solo fuel economy: 53 miles per gallon
  • Towing fuel economy: 40 miles per gallon
  • Kerb weight: 1294 kg
  • Nose weight: 75 kg
  • Body type: SUV

Towcar summary

What's good?

Cheap to buy, tried and tested components from Renault/Nissan. 1.5dci engine is used in Nissan/Renault and Mercedes models. Cheap insurance groups, Cheap servicing, Good MPG. 4x4 system is Nissan X trail derived and very good. Good boot I can get my awning in with extra equipment. Nice high driving position. High ground clearance at 210mm

What's bad?

cheap plastics used in the cockpit, however as it is 10,000 cheaper than its rivals that can be forgiven

Would you recommend it?


Towing performance *****

How well does it tow?

I tow with a lightweight caravan 900kg MTPLM and I find the torque from the 1.5 dci engine is excellent. It more than keeps up with the flow of traffic giving confidence to overtake slow moving traffic. It has a very low first gear to circumvent the need of a low ratio gearbox, this first gear cog can be used for off roading but most importantly is excellent for setting off with the caravan on the back especially on a gradient.

Solo performance *****

What's it like without the caravan?

its a very nice drive the suspension is softer than your normal 4x4 car, it soaks up the bumps with ease. The turning circle is excellent making parking a doddle. All round visibility is good and it is a very cheap 4x4 to live with.

Reliability *****

Anything to look out for?

very early UK models suffered with water ingress from the door seals due to the wrong seals been fitted. The electronic fuel gauges can go faulty.

Practicality *****

Is it easy to live with?

Some dials are awkward to see and use whilst driving, they have been obtained from the Nissan/Renault parts bins. The electric wing mirror adjustment is under the handbrake.
Plenty of space in the boot for the size of the car. It is deceptive as it is about the same size as a ford focus.
Plenty of leg room for passengers in the back, full 5 seater. Diesel Engine has plenty of pep.

Buying experience ****

Did you buy it new or used?


Where did you buy it?

Franchised dealer

What was the seller like?

the Renault dealer was excellent however Dacia could have a bit more proactive with the demand and supply chain.


All opinions, facts and figures are those of the reviewer. Caravan Talk accepts no responsibility for accuracy of the content.


Jul 31 2013 10:16 am
I like these for a small caravan with the 4x4 and 108hp and very good price you can't go wrong . All they need now is a auto to cover all bases. Dave

My daughter has one, great no frills motor.

They do an auto version for the Brazilian market and it is badged  as a Renault Duster. It's  speculated that cruise control may be added in the face lifted version in September.The diesel engine produces 240Nm of torque, it won't pull a double axle but paired up to a 85%  weight ratio to a caravan and you cannot go wrong.

Jul 31 2013 08:55 pm

They do an auto version for the Brazilian market and it is badged  as a Renault Duster.


Trouble is that Xtrail auto's have a very low tow limit because the autoboxes are weak and can't take the torque to pull a caravan of any weight.


Trouble is that Xtrail auto's have a very low tow limit because the autoboxes are weak and can't take the torque to pull a caravan of any weight.



With the Duster's kerb weight, a caravan that's towed within its weight limit shouldn't be a problem. The Dusters are excellent vehicles for the money and I have driven many of them,  They have almost have a Cult following on the Continent and the Russians luv'em, even North Africans are loving them.  Its also powered with a 2 litre petrol with an Auto box and badged as a Renault Duster.




Good to hear that owners are happy with them.

I have the 2014 4x4 Duster Laureate and I tow an Avondale Rialto (MTPL 1180)


The listed kerb weight of the car is 1294kg as in the review above but this is not realistic as to the actual minimum towing weight - when you add driver, towbar and in my case, chrome bars body kit the minimum the car will weigh when I am towing is just over 1400kg (weighbridge). If, like me, you believe the actual weights to be relevant, then a ratio of 85-90% will indicate a max tow of around 1200kg.


I live near Portsmouth and in August wife and I towed the Avondale to Scotland (CCC Glencoe site):

Stability - no issues despite gusty conditions on return trip (10th Aug Bertha weather).

Fuel consumption - 37 (cruise control mostly at 55mph) although this consumption reduced to low thirties in the Highlands leg of the trip.

Sometimes necessary to drop to 5th gear on sustained motorway inclines (particularly around Shap).

Awning and poles in car (back seat/footwell) - caravan loaded to approx 1100kg (calculation).

Two people in car (wife and I).


I am new to caravanning (though driving 35 years) so I tend to play it safe:

I always load low and over axle.

I always check noseweight/tyre pressures etc.

I never exceed 60mph (though on it a few times overtaking lorries uphill).


My verdict on the Duster would be that the pros well outweigh the cons.

    • vulcan7 and Eriba320 like this