Dacia Duster Commercial review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Breakdown cover from just £7.95 a month*. Plus up to £150 of driving savings!

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Dacia's Duster Commercial delivers plenty of capability for not very much. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.

Ten Second Review

Dacia's Duster Commercial is more of a car than a van - but it might suit a van user very well indeed, particularly if they need all-wheel drive. It's brilliant value, stoutly built and very capable. Accept its limitations and there's lots to like here.


Welcome to the UK's most affordable 4x4 commercial vehicle, the Dacia Duster Commercial. We first saw this model as a van variant of the first generation Duster SUV, a version that sold in this utilitarian form between 2015 and 2017. When the second generation Duster design arrived shortly afterwards, Dacia took its time delivering a commercial vehicle variant, eventually doing so in 2021, then facelifting it shortly afterwards, before adding the marque's new corporate identity in August 2022.

For such a presumably niche product, there's a wide range of engine and drive choices but the most unique confection tends to be the most popular one, Dacia's 1.5-litre dCi diesel paired with 4WD. For this money, there's nothing else to match the all-round capability of that package.

Driving Experience

Cut back on cost and you also cut back on expectations. Admit it - you didn't think this Duster was going to be any good at all to drive. You might be surprised. There's a choice of two petrol engines, both mated to front wheel drive. Things kick off with a three cylinder 1.0-litre Tce 90 unit offering 90hp and making 62mph in 13.1s en route to 103mph. If you can avoid base trim, you'll be offered the alternative four cylinder TCe 150 version, which only comes as an auto. This improves those figures to 9.7s and 124mph.

If you need more grunt, you'll be directed towards the 1.5-litre dCi diesel, which puts out 115hp in both its forms - front-driven and 4WD. Both make 62mph in 10.3s. We'd recommend the 4x4 version, which uses the same Nissan-engineered three-mode system as the first generation Duster Commercial model, selectable via a rotary controller in front of the gear stick. Most of the time you'll be in '2WD', but in wet or icy conditions, there's the peace of mind of being able to switch seamlessly to 'Auto' so that extra traction will automatically cut in when necessary. For mud-plugging meanwhile, you'll want to keep all wheels turning permanently by switching to the 'Lock' setting offered with the plusher-trimmed version. All models get 350mm wading depth and a 30-degree approach angle. With the 4x4 version, ground clearance rises from 205 to 210mm.

Design and Build

The Duster Commercial starts life as an ordinary Duster SUV, then is converted by Renault Tech, the brand's in-house van conversion centre. As part of this, the rear seats are removed, the rear side windows are blanked out, a bulkhead is fitted behind the front seats and a carpeted load platform is installed, complete with four load-lashing hooks. The load space liner can be removed and it's possible to see back through the mesh bulkhead, provided nothing is loaded in the way.

The cab area is unchanged from the SUV of course, a car-like vibe a van driver might prefer. And you don't get the usual smell of industrial rubber that permeates the cabins of most conventional van models. The robustly constructed fascia is easy to understand and looks like it would cope with the rigours of everyday commercial life. But the foam-filled steering wheel isn't perfectly located in front of the driver and the windscreen feels quite small. You only get a touchscreen infotainment system if you stretch to the plusher trim level, but if you're prepared to do that, you'll find that the provided 8-inch display is easy to understand and includes 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. There's not a particularly generous level of interior storage space, but you do get two cup holders and decently sized door bins.

Market and Model

Pricing for the Duster Commercial starts from just over £19,000 on the road including VAT - or just over £15,000 without it. That's for a front-driven TCe petrol model. The Blue dCi 115 4x4 version is priced from around £23,500 with VAT, or from just under £19,000 without it. Both of those figures are for base 'Essential' trim. Add on another £1,200 and you can get plusher 'Expression' spec, which gives you a wider range of engine and drivetrain options from which to choose. With 'Expression' spec, the TCe petrol engine gets boosted to 150hp and there's a front wheel drive diesel variant as well as a 4x4 one.

As for equipment, well even 'Essential' trim gives you most of the basics. It includes black roof bars, rear parking sensors, cruise control with a speed limiter, eco-LED dipped beam auto headlights and front foglamps. Inside, there's air conditioning and a 'Dacia Plug & Radio' system with steering wheel controls. To this tally, the 'Essential' version adds 16-inch alloy wheels, smarter upholstery, power-adjustable heated silver mirrors, driver's seat lumbar adjustment, a rear view camera and an 8-inch 'Media Display' centre screen compatible with 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. With this plusher trim level, the 4x4 version also gains a centre differential lock. Across the range, there aren't many options: just metallic paint and, on front-driven versions, an emergency spare wheel.

Practicalities and Costs

You shouldn't expect a commercial vehicle that's essentially a converted car to have a particularly spacious load area - and this Dacia doesn't. You get a 1.6m3 load volume, with a loading bay length of 1,792mm, a load width of 1,247mm and a floor-to-ceiling height of up to 917mm, depending on spec. The maximum payload you'll be able to carry is 503kg and you access the cargo area either by the rear hatch or by either of the two side doors this model still has to have because it's a converted car. The parcel shelf from the passenger model is retained, complete with an extension to cover the forward part of the load area. There's not much height beneath these (337-441mm), so you'll probably keep them detached in storage most the time. Annoyingly, metal pieces around the load partition partially block side door loading access.

Running costs are of course the same as for the SUV. That means 45.6mpg on the combined cycle for the petrol models, 57.6mpg for the front-driven diesel and 53.5mpg for the 4x4 diesel. All these figures require you to activate the provided selectable eco-drive mode. There's a 3 year/60,000 mile warranty and service intervals are every year or 18,000 miles.


As we've said when reviewing other car-derived vans, commercial vehicles like this these can make a lot of sense - as long as you know what you're getting. They're compromised in terms of carriage space and payload. But they're not so prone to opportunistic theft and feel more normal to drive and to own - you may, quite understandably, not want a van permanently parked on your drive.

With this Duster Commercial, no one is going to know at a glance that you haven't opted for the trendy SUV model. Nor are they likely to guess that you paid so little. We think the 4x4 version is the most appealing proposition in the range. For a vet or, say, a service industry worker occasionally dealing with challenging conditions, it might be just about perfect.

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