Faulty sensor means a spell in a different Duster - 6th March 2019
"Petrol or diesel?” You know when you’re in the pub and that drunk bloke stooping at the end of the bar knows you’re into cars and keeps asking you the same generic question? Yeah, that’s not what I’m doing here. And no, I’m not about to settle decades of over-regulated red tape that has been the publicity plaything of politicians and policy makers alike.
Rather, I want to talk specifically about the engine options in the 2019-model-year Dacia Duster. That’s right: buckle up. But seriously, the dynamic differences between the two are significant. And unfortunately, it’s a question I’m answering rather sooner than I hoped.
During my tenure of the budget SUV, I’m running the Blue dCi 115 Comfort 4x2, which in plain English is the front-wheel-drive diesel. In terms of refinement, the engine is pretty good for any price point, let alone this bargain one. It pulls nicely from low revs, doesn’t make all that much noise and, my oh my, the range.
I don’t know why a decent range feels like such a luxury in 2019, but it’s a lovely feeling to not have to stop at a fuel station for weeks at a time. Over the festive period, I managed the annual London-to-Manchester-in-laws-odyssey and back on one tank, as well as a good chunk of local pootling in the north-west. I know there are a fair few rangey diesels out there but I am loving it.
It’s a decent cruiser on such journeys. It accelerates briskly enough and sits well at motorway speed, floating around the 50mpg mark on cruise control.
“This will be just perfect for me (the Autocar cameraman) and my load-lugging miles”, I thought, until… the dreaded warning light. After a month with the car, a little orange cloud popped up on the dashboard with the message ‘Check AntiPollution System’. How, I wondered? When the magnifying glass and a hammer didn’t get me anywhere, Dacia kindly and quickly reset the AdBlue sensor that was playing up and returned the car to me.
Those couple of days when I sent the car back gave me the opportunity to try the SCe 115 Comfort 4x2, which in plain English is the lower-powered front-wheel-drive petrol version.
What you immediately notice is the significant difference in torque. The petrol peaks at 115lb ft at 4000rpm compared with the 192lb ft that the diesel pulls on from just 1750rpm. This means you have to stamp on the throttle like an arachnophobe dispatching of a tarantula to make any progress in the petrol variant. The other main difference in the drivetrain is the gearbox, as the petrol has a five-speed rather than the diesel’s six. The five-speed simply doesn’t have as much length, so you have to fizz along using noticeably more revs on the motorway.