Dacia has launched a new van version of its no-nonsense Duster SUV, which arrives with a price tag of £12,795 plus VAT. Officially known as the Duster Commercial, the new variant is based on the latest-generation passenger car and boasts a 1,623-litre load bay, plus a payload of more than 500 kg.
To achieve that, Dacia has done away with the rear seats and seatbelts altogether, making the Duster Commercial a pure two-seater. The seats are separated from the load bay by a mesh bulkhead, while the floor has been covered with completely flat wood and the back windows have been covered with opaque film to prevent prying eyes peering in.
Aside from that, though, the Duster Commercial shares much with the latest-generation Duster on which it is based. Forward of that mesh bulkhead, the cabin is much the same, while the exterior is more or less indistinguishable from the standard SUV.
Customers are being offered a choice of four different engines and two trim levels, although those choosing the Duster for its off-road capability might want to make sure they choose the sole all-wheel-drive option.
In exchange for your £12,795, you'll get the entry-level Essential trim level, which comes with LED daytime running lights, body-coloured bumpers and 16-inch steel wheels. You also get air conditioning, cruise control and DAB radio with Bluetooth and USB connections.
If you want more, the Comfort version starts at £15,245 plus VAT, which pays for 16-inch alloy wheels, a chrome front grille and black-painted door mirrors. It also comes with a rear-view camera and parking sensors, as well as an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration technology.
No matter which trim level you choose, the basic engine is the 1.0-litre TCe 90 petrol engine, which serves up 89 bhp and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. That unit returns 45.6 mpg, but it takes just over 13 seconds to get the Duster from a standstill to 62 mph.
That's the cheapest of three petrol engines in the Duster Commercial range, with the 1.3-litre TCe 130 and TCe 150 engines joining the pack. They produce 129 bhp and 148 bhp respectively, with the more powerful of the two offering a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Then there's the sole diesel engine: the 1.5-litre diesel dCi 115. As standard, it comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and, like the petrol engines, it drives the front wheels alone. However, if you choose the automatic version, you’ll get all-wheel drive thrown in for good measure.
Every variant of the Duster Commercial is available to order now, with prices starting at £12,795 plus VAT.