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"Little Legend" Dacia Duster Fights the New Land Rover Defender, It's an Off-Road Showdown

Can the new Dacia Duster with its 1.5-liter engine defeat the mighty Land Rover Defender and its three-liter power unit? It all boils down to which SUV manages a set of six challenges the best. You might already guess the winner, but that’s not the whole story. Here’s how it all went down and what important conclusions can be drawn from this off-road test.
Dacia Duster vs. Land Rover Defender Off-Road Test 8 photos
2022 Land Rover Defender2022 Dacia Duster vs. 2022 Land Rover Defender2022 Land Rover Defender2022 Dacia Duster2022 Dacia Duster2022 Dacia Duster vs. 2022 Land Rover Defender2022 Dacia Duster vs. 2022 Land Rover Defender
This Dacia Duster comes in at £22,590 ($27,750). Given the times we are currently living in, the SUV is an attractive proposition for drivers that want added practicality, reliability, and cheap maintenance. The tested vehicle is equipped with a 115-hp diesel engine that sends its power mostly to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and weighs just 1,405 kg (3,097 lb). But it can turn into a four-wheel-drive vehicle just by pressing a button or it can happen automatically when there’s slipping detected. That’s also when the 260 Nm (191 lb-ft) of torque can be properly used.

On the other side of the aisle sits the well-known Land Rover Defender. This good-looking adventurer boasts 300 hp and 650 Nm (478 lb-ft) of torque. All this power is dynamically sent to each wheel via an eight-speed automatic gearbox which is very well managed with the help of multiple assistance systems and two locking differentials. Moreover, being a better-equipped model, it comes with all-terrain tires and air suspension that can level itself by the route the driver follows. All these goodies come at a cost, though. More precisely, this proper British explorer is priced at £84,200 ($103,380) and weighs 2,340 kg (5,158 lb).

At this point, you might already guess which car is going to win. The surprising aspect however, is that the Duster doesn’t completely lose. It manages to keep up with the Land Rover and does almost everything the British SUV can do. Keep in mind that the cheaper SUV is also a manual!

Carwow’s Mat Watson took both vehicles out on a test track and put them to a test comprised of six challenges. The Duster ends up with a little bruise at the end after the host scuffed a small plastic protection piece, but the simpler and less heavy construction comes as an advantage. The cheap Dacia ends up winning one of the challenges. The rest of the five go to the Defender.

“What a little legend!” said Mat Watson as the Duster managed to successfully climb the path. The cheap SUV can be safely described as such because it also did the entire competition on all-season factory-supplied tires.

In the end, the Land Rover Defender didn’t lose its crown to an almost four times cheaper SUV. But, when all is taken into consideration, the Duster unofficially won. It rose above expectations, it didn’t fail to complete any of the tests, and it’s a less stressful vehicle to throw around! You can see for yourself in the video down below.

Dacia doesn’t export the Duster to the U.S., but you can buy the Nissan Rogue (known as Qashqai in Europe). It’s a more stylish crossover that uses a similar recipe. Granted, its looks are controversial, but the price point is not.

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