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Dacia Duster Extreme SE UK review

What is it?

The Dacia Duster is the ultimate example of the Romanian firm’s ability to tap into relevant market segments with affordable, practical cars.

Launched in 2018, it was updated last year with a sharper design, better efficiency and a spruced-up interior. Now Dacia has added the crème de la crème of Dusters: the Extreme SE.

This plays to its desire to be seen as an outdoorsy, adventure brand. Plus, not many customers opt for the base trim, so Dacia believes it makes sense to feed the upper end of the Duster market, adding a specification based on its highest trim level, Prestige.

The special edition receives 17in black alloy wheels, exclusive Urban Grey paint and grey and orange detailing on the door mirrors, front grille and roof bars. Inside, the orange theme continues on the vents, centre console, stitching and more.

The engines remain the same: here we’re testing the mid-range 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol with a manual gearbox.

What’s it like?

It’s surprisingly sprightly, ambling comfortably around town but also no slouch on motorways.

The steering is light and a little indirect but not upsettingly so. In this sense, it has more feel than the Citroën C3 Aircross.

Those inclined to chuck it around corners would discover considerable roll, but this is so far from the Duster’s intended purpose that it’s largely irrelevant. The ride is mostly comfortable and squishy but gets unsettled on shabbier surfaces. Another foible is jarring wind noise at higher speeds.

Inside, the Duster plays to its audience with hard-wearing finishes and all the tech most would want. The Extreme’s equipment list includes keyless entry, a multi-view camera, blindspot warning, heated seats and an 8.0in touchscreen with sat-nav, all of which work effortlessly.

Should I buy one?

The Extreme bolsters the Duster line-up, building on its strengths by adding even more mod cons for a reasonable budget. It might seem pricey for a Dacia, but very few SUVs can offer such good value and overall appeal.

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