Peer into the Duster’s cabin and while you’re not going to conclude that the Promised Land now lies before you, you're unlikely to throw your hands up in horror. The interior looks perfectly pleasant and proficiently styled, even if a little grey. We say ‘looks’ because your fingers will not be rewarded by probing away too diligently at the largely rock hard plastics of many different textures.

For a car in which right hand drive appears an afterthought – it took two years for Dacia to get around to making it – the fundamental driving position is actually quite reasonable. There’s no reach adjustment on the steering wheel which is disappointing and taller drivers will find it’s too far away, but the relationship between seat, driver and pedals is acceptable.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
Offering air-con only on the priciest models dents the Duster's value appeal

You sit high in the car in time-honoured SUV style and while the driver’s seat is height adjustable the squab itself is flat, short and shapeless providing no more than adequate comfort over longer distances.

Likewise the Dacia's side bolsters, whose lack of support is mitigated only by the fact the Duster is not a car that’s ever going to generate substantial lateral g.

Ergonomically it’s there or thereabouts. The switchgear is not pretty and the ventilation controls are set a little too low but it’s never a problem to identify and operate whichever dial, switch or button you need. All round visibility is excellent too. It’s worth remembering however that air conditioning is available only on top spec Laureate models.

Top 5 Crossover hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

And by class standards the Duster is quite spacious too. There’s room in back and front for four average adults to travel in peace. The only short straw will be drawn by the fifth person on board. Not only will he or she be perched uncomfortably on a pad between the rear seats, but the centre seatbelt arrangement, which has its upper mounting point far behind you on the C-pillar, is sub-optimal not just for you, but the person sitting to your left.

Predictably, given the price, there's not a great deal of equipment on the basic Duster model - but you do get power steering and remote central locking. Opting for the Access trim gets a bit more equipment, mainly in the shape of bigger steel wheels, electric front windows and height adjustable rear headrests. Move up to mid-spec Ambiance trims and suddenly the Duster gets a lot more modern, with kit including fog lights, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, while for 2016 the Ambiance Prime spec added a bit more luxury, including an exclusive metallic paint job and 16in alloy wheels.

The range-topping trims - Laureate and Prestige both offer 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning, electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors, and convenience lights throughout the interior as standard, while the latter also includes a 7in touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav and traffic updates, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors within the package.

The Duster also has a decent boot: there’s no clever stuff here like underfloor storage or any means of securing your shopping. If its just pure space you want, at least in the two wheel drive Duster, there’s more space than you’ll find in the Yeti, Nissan Qashqai and even the Range Rover Evoque. Seats down and load area is comparable to that of an Audi A6 Avant.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week