What came to my attention: of the Dacia Duster, the simplest and most affordable off-road vehicle on the market, the majority order the most luxurious version, baptized completely un-Daciaas ‘Prestige’. Do they have the Romanian budget SUV for 25 mille yet beautiful with multimedia and navigation.

Do I hear, oh horror, about a blind spot sensor? A hands-free card for boarding without a key? Was this a cult car or not?

Whoever treats him to such prosperity cures has not understood his spartan charm. He must be clumsy and clumsy. In a dull color and with steel rims, much nicer than the attention-grabbing light metal of the Prestige. This shouldn’t be a pathetic dress-up Max people crossover for the suburbs. With the LED daytime running lights, a regrettable reaching out to the modern consumer, Dusterpuritans will have to learn to live.

Therefore immediately a binding purchase recommendation. The basic model Essential of 19,280 euros is not included: no four-wheel drive. It will be the same bare chicken with 4×4 for three grand more. We take it in uni black that costs nothing extra and order a manual air conditioner for 595 pop at most, that’s that. For 23 grand there is a sweat-resistant crisis terrain vehicle that does not attract the wrong attention, does not arouse envy and has no equal in this price range. Shockingly affordable – no advertising slogan was ever so true.

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You hardly see that it is a new model. Only the connoisseur keeps the old and the new apart. The grille has been widened, the aluminum-coloured protection plates under the bumpers at the front and rear have been enlarged, but the compact exterior dimensions have fortunately been left untouched. Yet it has been drastically improved and modernized. Eastern European faithfully, the brand reports on the work performed. I am delighted to read about the “improved kit finish and plugs” and the “extra storage space in the center console”. I am completely happy with the generous, 2.8 liter large trash drawer under the passenger seat. Touchingly, Dacia promises that the “newly developed rear headrests” offer a better view to the rear “when there are no rear passengers”. You will never find such humble progress reports in the megalomaniac press kits of German manufacturers, who are too busy with appearance and dynamics. When assessing the new seats, I should have remembered what the old ones were like, but they fit well, so the Dacian zeal seems to be well in this area too. However, the dashboard has become a bit too beautiful, the proud plastic grayness is gone. The digital temperature display in the thermostat knob is almost Audi, hu.

Dacia no longer offers the Duster with a diesel engine, which would have become too expensive due to the BPM surcharge. He has to make do with one four-cylinder petrol engine, the 1.199 cc turbo with 125 hp. A slightly weaker biofuel variant will follow this year, which runs on both gas and petrol. The lively engine has no problem with a car of less than 1,300 kilos. He is tired quickly, the six-speed gearbox shifts excellent, the interior noise is civilized, the luggage space is generous with 478 liters and 1,623 with the rear seats folded down. After an hour of cruising under the smoke of Nijmegen, I am happy with the car. I don’t have to cover it with that worn cloak of mothering love. It’s really damn good!

On an off-road course in Valburg, the little Romanian turns out to be quite a man. With the selectable four-wheel drive, it plows tirelessly through the winter mess. It slopes sideways to 42 percent without tipping over. With Hill Descent Control you can make it descend a slope in a controlled manner without touching the accelerator pedal. A 360-degree camera provides a comprehensive overview, useful in the terrain, of the wild lands that he will conquer. Excuse me, which is reserved for the multimedia package that we do not let its purity be tarnished. Then keep an eye out for yourself, the beautiful, authentic dents will naturally appear, which will give it an even more lived-in appearance. It will not lie on the headrests.

All in all, the Duster represents the rare phenomenon of the useful car in its genre. Most terrain creatures are pure show transport. Yes, there are men who buy a leaky, unreliable, uncomfortable, noisy used Land Rover Defender for the same amount. I understand their sadomasochism well. They buy a style icon that can move mountains, and probably has more to offer than the Dustertje. But that difference in skills weighs less in this flat country. Their image would certainly not suffer from a watertight, modern and cheerful four times four that does. The Duster is a sweet, unfashionably practical protest against that horrific crossover hedonism.