2021 Dacia Duster facelift launches with new tech and styling

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Dacia Duster has been facelifted for 2021 with subtle design tweaks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen.

Dacia has opened orders for its facelifted Duster SUV, continuing the brand’s budget-focused pricing strategy while adding more kit.

Renault-owned Dacia is planned to arrive in Australia once the local arm sorts out the finer details, though a lineup is unclear at this point.

The updated Dacia Duster crossover sports a few styling changes and improved interior tech, which the brand hopes will keep the car ahead of other more affordable offerings, such as the MG ZS.

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Dacia’s simple range structure consists of three trim levels – Essential, Comfort and Prestige – and just two optional extras across the line-up. A spare wheel can be added and also metallic paint.

The entry-level Duster Essential features 16-inch steel wheels, black roof bars, automatic headlights and LED daytime running lights. Inside, there’s an adjustable steering column for rake and reach, cruise control, a DAB radio, air-conditioning and an on-board computer.

The Comfort spec brings 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, hill descent control and heated, electrically adjustable door mirrors. Body-coloured door handles and black mirror caps are also added.

The biggest improvement is inside, however, with upgraded upholstery, adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat, a leather steering wheel and electric rear windows.

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On the tech front, Comfort cars benefit from Dacia’s new eight-inch infotainment system, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a rear-view camera and parking sensors.

Heading the range is Prestige trim. It brings a raft of styling upgrades and additional interior tech. Larger 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted, along with privacy glass and Grey Quartz door mirrors and roof bars.

Keyless entry also features, alongside automatic air-conditioning and heated front seats. Prestige trim also includes a multi-view camera, front parking sensors and a blind-spot warning system, as well as on-board navigation and wireless smartphone connectivity.

Styling updates for the new Duster include a new radiator grille and some fresh headlamps, which share the same Y-shaped LED daytime running lights as the latest Sandero. There’s also a new rear spoiler and redesigned alloy wheels.

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Dacia says all of these updates have been designed to make the revised Duster slightly more aerodynamic than its predecessor. They’re coupled with some efficiency tweaks, (such as lower friction wheel bearings and new tyres), and contribute to a 5.8g/km reduction in CO2 emissions on the four-wheel drive model.

The Duster’s interior has received a more noticeable redesign, with Dacia introducing new upholstery and slimmer headrests, which Dacia says are more ergonomic and allow better visibility. There’s also a new centre console, which features a pair of USB sockets, a 1.1-litre storage bin and a retractable armrest.

Dacia has also fitted a new eight-inch infotainment system. On Comfort-spec models, it features a DAB radio, bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition and a pair of USB sockets. Prestige trim adds an integrated sat-nav set-up and wireless smartphone connectivity.

Dacia hasn’t altered the Duster’s engine range much. It’s still focussed around the brand’s TCe turbocharged petrol motors, starting with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder TCe 90 (66kW) and the 1.3-litre four-cylinder TCe 130 (95kW). Both units come with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.

The range-topping petrol is the 110kW TCe 150, which shares the same 1.3-litre unit as the TCe 130. It’s also front-wheel drive, but is only available with a new six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

There is still a diesel option in the range – the 84kW 1.5-litre four-cylinder dCi 115. It’s available with a six-speed manual gearbox only, but buyers get a choice of either front or four-wheel drive. Dacia will also continue to offer the car with an LPG-compatible powertrain, called Bi-Fuel.

It’s based on the firm’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and features front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox. The set-up now comes with a larger gas tank than before and when filled with both petrol and LPG, the Bi-Fuel offers a range of more than 1200km. It also produces slightly more power than it’s pure-petrol stablemate, offering 74kW.

Yousuf Ashraf

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