Dacia Duster Commercial Review 2024

Dacia Duster Commercial At A Glance


+Practical and rugged, available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive, entry-level models cost less than £10,000.

-Disappointing handling and refinement, rear windows are vulnerable to damage, full-size bulkhead costs extra, pick-ups offer better payload capacity.

The Duster Commercial is built to the same blueprint as the Dacia car range, which means it's basic and cheap to buy. Prices start at less than £10,000 and all models will carry a Euro pallet and a maximum payload of 550kg. Admittedly, the Duster scores low when it comes to on-road refinement and handling, but it’s near unbeatable on value and surprisingly competent off-road. 

Dacia is no stranger to commercial vehicles – it’s been selling them in Europe since the 1970s – but 2015 marked the first time that it officially offered a factory-built van in the UK. The Duster Commercial is effectively a factory-conversion of the standard car, which means the rear seats have been replaced with a 1.4 metre cargo deck and the rear doors have been retained, along with the windows.

The Duster Commercial has just one engine - Renault's tried and test 1.5-litre dCi diesel - with 107PS and peak torque of 240Nm. Four-wheel drive versions are more expensive, but worth paying the extra for due to their impressive off-roading ability, which allows the Duster to reach rural or remote areas with ease. 

Inside the Duster Commercial is unapologetically basic, with lots of cheap and dark plastics - there's little in the way of standard equipment. The load area is practical though and will take anything up to 1.4 metres in length, while the metre width between the wheel arches allows a euro pallet to be carried sideways.  

The Duster does have a few weak points. There's no protection for the windows, the interior is prone to damage and there's no full-size bulkhead fitted as standard. The rear window also lacks cladding or cover, which allows prying eyes to see what's being carried in the back.  

The Dacia won’t win any prizes for refinement - the engine is noisy and there’s lots of road noise. The handling also lacks precision and feel, while the suspension is prone to pitching heavily in the corners, which usually results in unsecured loads toppling over in the back. Yet, despite its obviously shortcomings, the Dacia Duster is still outstanding value and an attractive choice for those who need a small van with off-road capability.

Ask Honest John

What is best alternative to a van?

"I am a kitchen and bathroom fitter and I am fed up with vans, what's the best car to use? "
Probably a commercial SUV, like the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Defender or Dacia Duster. These have two or three passenger seats in the front and a large, flat load space in the rear.
Answered by Dan Powell

Will the automatic Renault Kadjar hold on a hill with no brake applied?

"Is the Renault Kadjar automatic a true automatic? Meaning will the car hold on a hill with no foot brake or hand brake applied or would it be like a 2008 Vauxhall Corsa automatic that l once had where you had to apply the handbrake even on the slightest incline."
It's not torque converter. It's an 'Efficient Dual Clutch' (DSG/Powershift type) and only available with the 1.5-litre DCI 110 and two wheel drive. The same drivetrain is also now available in the Dacia Duster at under £15,000 new. The electric parking brake on the Kadjar is a bit irritating because though it has a brake hold function on hills, you have to apply it as if parking. It doesn't have a separate brake hold switch that automatically holds the car, as on a Honda H-RV.
Answered by Honest John

Highlands and Islands expedition - what vehicle would you recommend?

"I am planning a once in a lifetime trip around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland for when I retire shortly. I'd like to buy a new vehicle that will cope with public roads, whatever the condition, and handle any gradient. I don't want out and out luxury, but would appreciate a bit of comfort. I intend to spend months on the trip. What vehicle would you recommend?"
A new Dacia Duster 1.2 TCe 125 4x4 for £14,895 would probably handle it (+ £495 for satnav). Comes on mud and snow tyres and with a full-size spare, 6 speeds and a low first gear for the gradients. See: http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/dacia/dacia-duster-laureate-tce-125-2016-road-test/
Answered by Honest John
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