A right Dust up
ANYONE looking for a reliable secondhand crossover has a huge array of vehicles to choose from these days.
They all have their plus points – and few have anything against them – but none come cheaper than the Dacia Duster.
There is nothing wrong with the way it drives, and it’s very family friendly and easy to live with.
It might seem a little utilitarian up against some others, but then all you have to do is compare prices and you immediately realize that it’s a huge bargain.
It has been available since 2014 with two petrol engines and a single diesel, each of which is available with two or four wheel drive (4WD).
They’re all well-known units from parent company Renault’s stable and start with a 1.6 petrol which has 105 or later 115bhp.
Higher order cars come with the Renault 1.2 turbo boasting 125bhp, and this has slightly lower CO2 emissions.
The single diesel is the 1.5 turbo also used by Renault and Nissan, and this has an output of 110bhp.
The 1.6 petrol returns 44mpg in 2WD form, and 41.5mpg in 4WD, while the 1.2 turbo manages 46.3 and 44.
The excellent diesel – which has been the majority seller - is by far the cleanest and most economical engine in the range, with a best of 64.2mpg in the 2WD and 60mpg in the all wheel drive.
Emissions range from 115g/km to 123g/km and strangely, it’s the only unit available with an auto box. The rest all have six speed manual trasnmissions.
Performance is fair in all models, and the 4x4 versions all have a revised fi nal drive ratio, making fi rst a crawler gear for off-road work and using the other five on the road.
The engines are reasonably subdued in use and willing enough when pressed. But overtaking on two lane roads is an acquired skill.
4WD models have three settings – auto, 2WD and 4WD. Most people will probably leave it in auto, because that means drive is to the front wheels most of the time, only adding the rears when traction is lost.
Comfort is very good over all surfaces and long travel suspension means it takes speed humps better than most!
Despite some roll, it also takes the corners easily and quickly, holding the road strongly even on poor surfaces.
I have enjoyed driving different models and found they brought plenty of fun.
Entry Access models have steel wheels, roof bars, electric front windows, four airbags, emergency spare wheel, heightadjustable steering wheel and remote locking.
Pay about £6,700 for a ’13 13-reg 1.5 dCi Ambiance 2WD, or £9,750 for a ’15 15-reg Laureate dCi 4WD. PETER HAYWARD A COUNTRY road in Scotland has been named as the UK's most retirement-friendly.
The route, a 66-mile stretch from Lochgilphead to the Glen Coe mountains, was voted by retired drivers as their favourite in a survey conducted by insurance firm LV.
The survey, which quizzed 1,085 motorists aged 65 about their confidence behind the wheel, revealed 74 per cent of drivers reduced the amount of driving they did after retiring, with 22 per cent considering themselves a 'nervous' driver.
Respondents blamed overcrowded roads, health-related concerns and worsening eye sight as reasons for losing confidence on the roads.
In a bid to help older drivers with their confidence, LV has nicknamed the road from Lochgilphead to the Glen Coe mountains 'Route 66', to give it a relaxed vibe.
Selwyn Fernandes, managing director of car insurance at LV, said: "We're thrilled to name this beautiful section of road as the most retirementfriendly in the UK.
"Most drivers who have retired have decades of experience behind the wheel, but as our research shows they increasingly start to feel less confident on the road.
"By creating a 'Route 66' in the UK, we're helping these drivers feel more confident by providing a special stretch of road just for them."