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Andy Heiron, Dacia brand manager in the UK, admits that "price is the hook" for the Duster Commercial, but insists customers will benefit from "a practical and functional vehicle".
The LCV offering is powered solely by a 107hp 1.5-litre dCi 110 diesel engine that comes in two trim levels - Ambiance and Laureate - and in 4x2 and 4x4 drive formats.
Official economy figures are 56.5mpg with CO2 of 130g/km for the 4x2, and 54.3mpg and 137g/km for the 4x4. Prices go from £9595 for the Ambiance 4x2 to £12,545 for the Laureate 4x4, all excluding VAT.
The 4x2 has a load volume of 1.15m3 while the 4x4's drops to 1.0m3. Both have a payload of 550kg and a flat cargo deck that's 1400mm long and measures 1000mm between the wheel arches.
Standard kit includes roof bars, a toughened plastic floor with two anchorage points, electric front windows, MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth, aux and USB sockets, ABS with emergency brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control, and four airbags.
We drove a Laureate 4x4, which comes with a wealth of kit for a budget model, including alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, and cruise control with a speed limiter.
Unfortunately, in-cab storage facilities are only adequate, while there is a slightly flimsy feel to the doors and you may have misgivings about the durability of the fixtures and fittings over time. Once on the road, however, the Duster Commercial is civilised and well-mannered.
The steering is light, but precise rather than skittish, and the six manual gears are well-spaced and easy to engage, making for relaxing progress around city streets. When you break out onto a faster stretch of road, though, the engine tends to rev highly and squeal disapprovingly as you work up through the changes. But once in top gear the Duster bowls along contentedly enough.
Finally, the loadbay seems more capacious from inside than would appear possible from outside.
Dacia Duster Commercial Laureate dCi 110 4x4
Price range (excl. VAT) £9595-12,545
Insurance group 1A
Service intervals 12,000mls
Load bay length 1400mm
Max load bay width 1000mm
Load bay height 870mm
Gross payload 550kg
Load volume 1.0m3
Engine size/power 1461cc/107hp
Fuel consumption 54.3mpg
Duster has more going for it than a modest price tag
Impressive specification levels
Interior build quality and in-cab storage could be better