Can the budget-friendly Dacia Duster compete with the Land Rover Defender in an off-road test? To find out the team at Carwow had a Land Rover Defender 110 X battle it out with a stripped-down Dacia Duster for off-road supremacy. Does the Dacia Duster stand a chance against the Land Rover Defender 110 X? Let’s find out.

The Dacia Duster is a budget-friendly SUV with some genuine off-road chops. American customers may not be familiar with the Dacia Duster as the Dacia brand only sells vehicles in Europe. This unique Romanian car company has a knack for building cost-effective vehicles that can punch above their weight class.

When it comes to the Dacia Duster used in this comparison test, it’s far more basic than its Defender rival. The Dacia Duster is powered by a 1.5-litre K9K 896 turbocharged inline-4 that produces 115 bhp and 191 lb-ft (260 Newton metres) of torque. This diminutive diesel is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission that sends power to the front wheels.

The Duster in this video has the optional four-wheel-drive system that can send power to the rear wheels when placed in four-wheel-drive mode. The Duster’s big advantage over the Lander Rover Defender lies in its small size and lightweight. The Duster only weighs 1,405 kilograms (3,097 pounds) and is 4,318 millimetres (170.0 inches) long and 1,821 mm (71.7 in) wide.

The Land Rover Defender is Land Rover's most off-road capable vehicle lineup. The Defender 110 X used in this competition is a proper off-roader that combines all of Land Rover's off-road tech into this practical SUV. The Defender 110 in this video uses a 3.0-litre straight-6 diesel engine that produces 300 bhp and 480 lb-ft (650 Newton metres) of torque. This powerful inline-6 is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels via Land Rovers’ clever all-wheel-drive setup.

The Defender 110 is much bigger and heavier than the Dacia Duster weighing in at 2,340 kg (5,080 lbs) with a length of 5,019 mm (197.6 in) and 1,996 mm (78.6 in) wide. 

Can the lightweight Dacia Duster keep up with the more powerful Land Rover Defender off-road?