2011 Dacia Duster Laurete 1.6 16V, 4WD, gasoline + LPG

Summary:

A friend that never fails

Faults:

1. Door lock and window open switches went bad.

2. Engine cover got partly dis-attached. Probably due to incompetent garage maintenance.

3. Rear amortization got broken after well over 70 km/km.

General Comments:

Well… there is a bit to talk about after making over 70k in 3.5 years, but to be short:

Good things:

Reliability due to simplicity. A simple “old school”, everyday car that gives a lot of satisfaction.

Great snow or gravel road experience from 4WD. It really gives a lot of fun and covers all the bad things. Driving around in a budget car that many dislike due to its badge, and having absolutely no problem with green light starting when the streets are covered by fresh snow and leaving all “normal” cars behind – priceless…

Good in delicate off-road. Cabin and interior plastic squeak, but I am alright with that.

Bad things:

Primitive plastic dash board, starts to squeak already after, say… 10k?

Significant outside noise level getting inside, that increases even more after getting over 100 km/h. It's not a motorway car definitely…

The car is relatively light in weight, but still it is a bit underpowered. Lucky dynamic gear lever management saves the overall result ;)

Very short gears, need to change very often, especially when starting - must use gears 2-4 fast. Usually I start from 2nd, as 1st gear is absolutely too short (it’s just for the slow off-road, or parking maneuvers). 3 years have passed and I am still unable to get used to the gears there. Getting confused about applying the right gear when turning, almost at all the time ;)

Not a very economical engine or aerodynamic cabin. The engine works well with LPG.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd December, 2014

18th Jan 2015, 06:45

I too have had a LPG Dacia model. It was the best decision for cheap and reliable motoring.

You get even better money economy than with a diesel, plus you never have to worry about expensive turbo charger or fuel injector repairs.

14th Feb 2015, 10:27

I have to agree with the extraordinary reliability of the LPG version of the K4M 1.6 engine of the Dacia Duster. I have had it for 2 1/2 years and have done 50000km now. No problems at all. Just normal petrol engine maintenance costs (every 20000km), plus a LPG gas filter every 40000km.

The engine is naturally aspirated. I am sure that with this LPG engine, it is possible to drive as many kilometres as used to be possible with the old natural aspirated diesel engines (many hundreds of KM). No need to regularly adjust the valves, because it has hydraulic lifters. It has reinforced valves, so no need to spend money in a Flashlube or any other valve saver. Besides, it has a chain cam. The engine can take cheaper non-synthetic oils like a 10W40 (of course depending on a country's weather). Overall, it has very low maintenance costs (lower than diesel engines).

However, a very important consideration is the average price of LPG in the country where you live, because the engine has a consumption of around 10-12 litres of LPG. If it is a country where LPG is totally excise free (then LPG is the cheapest fuel in the country) the Duster LPG is, for sure, one of the cheapest and more reliable ways of motoring for a family. Besides, the purchasing price difference between the petrol and the original LPG version is very small.

I found only two issues to look for:

First, the original LPG tank is too small (around 35 litres), which only allows you to drive, in LPG mode, only around 280km without refueling (OK you still have the petrol tank in case, but it's more expensive).

Second, the sheet metal of the bodywork is very thin. This means that the car can rust easily if it is not very well protected. Therefore, a very important factor is to buy a Duster made in the European Union, where standards of rust protection and paint are higher than in Third World countries. Also look very well at the bodywork of the car. But if you live in the South of Europe, in a place where there is usually no salt on the motorways in Winter, you do not have to worry about this issue.

25th Jan 2016, 21:19

The Duster LPG is fantastic if you live in a country of the European Union where LPG is excise-free like Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Lithuania, etc. I pay 0.35 Euros per litre of LPG, but in France I have paid double. The engine in itself is not economical because it is old and consumes a lot. But at that price, the costs of running a Duster LPG is much lower than the diesel version (the litre of diesel being at 0.95 Euros). Moreover, the Duster LPG version is very reliable (it is natural aspirated); much more reliable than direct injection turbo diesels. As for the maintenance costs, so far I am paying just for gas filters, because this car has self adjusting hydraulic tappets, so no need to touch the valves. Compare that with the costs of maintaining modern diesel cars.

12th May 2016, 14:30

I have to agree. The K4M engine, even when running with LPG, is more reliable than the two diesel versions. But if you live in a country where LPG is charged with excises and VAT, like France, it is not worth the hassle of running an LPG Duster. The cost difference with the direct injection diesel Duster is very small.