In April 2022, Dacia reached a historic figure, which is 10 million vehicles produced. It all started in 1968, in Romania, with the Dacia 1100, a Renault 8 produced under license from the diamond car manufacturer. Since then, Dacia has come a long way. Launched on the automotive market in 2010, the Duster will exceed, at the beginning of 2022, the bar of more than 2 million copies sold worldwide. Destination Morocco, in the Agafay desert, to test drive the Dacia Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4 in the “Journey” finish.
Who has not encountered Dacia Duster on the road, especially in town? However, Duster satisfies everyone, knowing that it is, on a daily basis, for workers, professionals and other households living in the mountains and in the countryside, a “faithful companion”. Proven to be a versatile SUV, is the Duster really capable of traveling further? To answer this question, we took the wheel of the only 4×4 version of the cheap SUV. Head to the Agafay desert, with its many traps, to test drive the Dacia Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4.
Before embarking on an adventure in the Moroccan desert, it should be noted that a “brand new and beautiful” Dacia Duster is expected for 2024, or even 2025. Launched in 2017, the current generation of Duster will soon be replaced. However, Dacia takes care of its bestseller as the Duster has been the subject of the first and logical restyling in 2021. Today, the Duster mainly incorporates the new visual identity, the “Dacia Link”, the emblem present in all production of Dacia. .
This is why we can consider the arrival of “Dacia Link” as the second restyling for Duster. To go back for a moment to the developments made on the Duster in 2021, the SUV develops especially in terms of ergonomics, thanks to the presence of a larger touch screen (8″), more “upscale” upholstery and the Apple CarPlay /Android Auto compatibility.
Let’s go for the test of Dacia Duster in the desert. After our road trips in South Africa (2016), in the depths of Russia, around and on Lake Baikal (2017 – photo above), as well as, recently, in Guyana (2020), we hope to continue. an adventure. Humbly but, as experts, we pushed the Duster 4×4 to its limits.
Leaving Marrakech, the bitumen on the Duster’s rear-view mirrors gradually fades to give way to sandy tracks. As the first difficulty, on a descent, ruts… There is nothing easier to overcome for the very balanced Duster! In town, the Duster can be described as an SUV capable of “climbing” speed bumps. In the desert, the Duster is clearly a true 4×4. Surprisingly, the Duster quickly instilled us with confidence behind the wheel.
The Dacia Duster even provides obvious pleasure. Only the lack of consistency in its direction dampens our enthusiasm, the fault of an electric assist typed too comfortably to thrive in the desert. After crossing a crossing, a formality for the Duster, you enter a little further into the Agafay desert.
This time, it’s the Duster running gear that we tested on rocky and sandy trails. GoodYear 4seasons M+S tires then grip to provide essential grip for off-road driving. The most amazing is yet to come…
In fact, we quickly realized that the Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4 can go everywhere, with the most facilities. We ignore the Romanian SUV, sorry 4×4, to such a degree. Then we enjoyed taking curves at high speed and walking over the dunes. Nothing can stop Duster.
The most surprising thing is that we rarely use the driving mode “4WD Lock”, the latter runs up to 40 km/h to get out, for example, on very steep sand slopes. The “Auto” mode, one of the three offered with “2WD” and “4WD Lock”, is therefore effective enough. We hold, on this last point, one of the strong points of the Dacia Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4. You drive and the Dacia Duster does almost “all the work” for you! We better understand why the Duster is recognized in France, Europe and elsewhere. The SUV/4×4 really does go anywhere.
Well… let’s face it our test Duster’s 4-cylinder 1.6 l diesel lacked a bit of momentum, its 115 hp available at 3,750 rpm and its torque of 260 Nm between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm . This did not prevent us, once again, from having maximum pleasure during the Dacia Duster dCi 115 4×4 test. This has a lot to do with the reduced weight of 1,439 kilos empty of our “desert companion”. Another mechanical delight was credited to the Dacia Duster Blue dCi 115 4×4 in our test, especially its perfectly presented manual gearbox (6 speeds). Add to that the tight braking that offers a sense of calmness, and you have an almost perfect 4×4.
Finally, charged from €16,990 (Duster “Essential” finish) on the Ego-G 4×2, the Duster is available from €24,700 with the “Journey” finish and the diesel engine of our trial version . It’s worth taking a selfie, right? In other words, in the era of inflation and the current energy crisis, the Dacia Duster will clearly overshadow other more prestigious SUV models. Moreover, in 2022, in our country, exactly 31,648 Dusters (source: CCFA) were sold, placing the SUV in ninth place among the best-selling new passenger cars. Dacia Sandero is in third place in the same ranking (64,293 units).
Finally, one last thing, in the title of this article, we took the name of the song when you are in the desert (1979) by Jean-Patrick Capdevielle.
Text and essay: Frédéric Lagadec
Photos: Dacia (Adrien Cortesi) and LesVoitures.com