You get the impression that the provision of decent handling and ride were not among the options presented to Dacia’s chassis engineers by the raw material at their disposal. Drive the Duster, at least the front-drive Duster with a beam axle at the back, and you can almost see the thought process that followed.

Probably correctly ride comfort has been prioritised and as a result the Duster chassis actually seems superficially quite sophisticated at first, sponging away everyday lumps and bumps like a seasoned pro.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Its suspension set-up, though rudimentary, fits the car's billing

But there is a price to be paid: while the soft springs may keep such intrusions from shuddering through the cabin, the same cannot be said of the steering which feels like it has a less-than-rigidly mounted rack.

It provides the unlikely and unfortunate combination of substantial kickback through the rim with almost zero feedback - precisely the reverse of what you might choose.

And those soft springs also affect primary ride comfort with quite pronounced roll rates evident on country roads and notable heave and wallow over crests and into dips.

Braking ability is reasonable: the pedal is a little spongy and ultimate retardation feels limited by the amount of forward weight transference created by those soft springs, but ABS actuation is sensibly delayed and the system itself is fade free in all normal use.

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