NEWS:

Dacia Duster Priced From £8995

(Wednesday 27 June 2012)

Dacia Duster.

Dacia has been promising that its cars will be "shockingly affordable" when they start to appear in the UK, and the headline figure for the Duster SUV seems to bear that out. The entry-level model has a list price of just £8995, making it significantly cheaper than several superminis.

A few things to note, though. The £8995 is in the lowest Access trim level, and Access models have a 1.6-litre petrol engine rather than the more expensive, more powerful and more economical 1.5-litre turbo diesel found further up the range. And for £8995 you get front-wheel drive only. If you want a 4x4 version, it costs £10,995, which admittedly is still very low for an all-wheel drive SUV.

The diesel range starts with the Ambiance, which gets a four-speaker radio/CD player with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and steering wheel-mounted controls, along with body-coloured bumpers, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a height-adjustable driver's seat and front foglights.

Above that is the Laureate, which gets alloy wheels (the others run on steels), air-conditioning, electric rear windows, a leather-covered steering wheel, a trip computer, heated and electrically-controlled door mirrors and various interior and exterior styling upgrades.

The Ambiance and Laureate cost £11,495 and £12,995 respectively in front-wheel drive form, and as with the Access you add £2000 if you want a 4x4. Dacia estimates that two-thirds of UK customers will go for the Laureate, with the Ambiance a distant second in popularity. The Access, despite its startling price, is unlikely to do well here.

All Dusters have roof bars, electric front windows, four airbags, ABS, Emergency Brake Assist, a height-adjustable steering wheel and remote central locking fitted as standard, while the 4x4s also get a spare wheel. The spare wheel reduces luggage capacity to 408 litres - in front-wheel drive cars it's 475 litres, rising to 1636 litres when the rear seats are folded.

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