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RE: Dacia Duster - modern day Lada Niva? PH Blog

RE: Dacia Duster - modern day Lada Niva? PH Blog

Sunday 23rd April

Dacia Duster - modern day Lada Niva? PH Blog

Small and gutsy, the little Dacia will not disappoint if you want to off-road



When a modern car is compared to an esteemed forebear, the latter has usually been out of production for many years, the passage of time enhancing the elder vehicle's qualities and airbrushing its imperfections until it becomes a nearly inimitable benchmark. That can't be said about the Lada Niva, or the Lada 4x4 as it's also known. As recently as 2015 you could head to a chap in Sidcup, hand over £10,799, and drive off into the sunset in a 1.7-litre, left-hand drive import model. Nonetheless, the Niva is the yardstick by which all subsequent cheap off-roaders have come to be measured, and deservedly so.

You wait for one mention of the Niva on PH...
You wait for one mention of the Niva on PH...
Nowadays, the title of go-to budget off-roader has fallen to the Dacia Duster and at PH we have been running a fully-optioned one since January. So far it has tagged along on a shoot in the Yorkshire Dales with a Twisted Defender 110 and a Mercedes G-Class, completed the North Coast 500, and has recently returned from an extensive group test with our sister publication Autocar. There it found itself up against some pretty hefty competition, but after two days play... rigorously testing the vehicles in a former quarry turned off-road playground, the Duster left everyone pretty impressed. It scurried up steep inclines and wasn't troubled by fairly deep mud. It may have faltered on the rock crawl, but likely only because, preferring to drive home rather than return on the back of a lorry, we decided to call it quits before cracking the sump or damaging a suspension component. In other words, we gave up before the Duster did.

Just being mighty again!
Just being mighty again!
The Niva may have been more rugged than the Duster with its central locking differential, permanent four-wheel drive and hose down interior, but nowadays cars don't have the luxury of being designed to perform a single function as well as possible. Many off-roaders spend their time tackling multi-storey car parks and school runs, hardly ever traversing a dusty track, let alone massive inclines or deep mud. The Duster, with its optional 4WD system and smaller but more powerful engine, has a slightly lower ground clearance (210mm vs. 265mm) and wade depth (350mm vs. 600mm) than the Lada but it is far better suited to modern life, replete as it is with gadgets like Bluetooth and sat-nav, yet will still get you out of sticky situations when absolutely needed.

If I were to go off-roading the Duster wouldn't be my first pick, but I wouldn't be disappointed to find myself in it either. The sense being that it was the same with the Lada when other, even more utilitarian vehicles were on offer. For under £18,000, and considerably less than that in more basic guise, it sets a new standard for the cheap and cheerful, go-anywhere off-roader.

 

 

 

 

[Sources: Mark Key, Dacia]

 

Author
Discussion

IanJ9375

Original Poster:

522 posts

140 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Love the Duster does what it says on the tin!

We had one as a loaner when our Alfa company car kept leaking fuel, we had a Duster, a Focus, a Fiesta and a BMW 330d.

Since that time we've swapped to a 330d company car, I've bought a Focus RS and the outlaw Grandparents were so impressed with "Derek" they bought a brand new Duster back in 2015

Thanks Alfa you did a great job of introducing us to other brands lol

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

114 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Dacia Duster - modern day Lada Niva?


Nope not even close. Come on PH, I mean WTF. Just because the Dacia is cheapish and AWD does not make it remotely similar to the THREE door rugged compact Lada. The latter having true off road abilities, while the Dacia is just a budget variant of a Nissan X-Trail with compact crossover off road abilities to match.


Really FFS. Such a comparison is like saying is a Brabus ForTwo a modern day Lotus 7... because it has 2 seats and no roof rolleyes

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

114 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Piston Heads said:
The Niva may have been more rugged than the Duster with its three locking differentials, permanent four-wheel drive
Has the person who wrote this article actually even been in a Niva?? You may want to check some of your facts. wink

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

114 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Oh and it's good to see that much of the Lada info seems to have been lifted from Wikipedia... however you may have wanted to read some of the content a little more closely.

For starters, nobody in the UK really knows the Niva as the Lada 4x4, despite Wiki saying it was named as such from 2009.... The Niva, apart from imports (of which there are very few) was never called this in the UK. And as by 2009 they had long since stopped being sold by Lada in the UK.

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

114 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Ok, I might have been having a bit of a dig already on this article.

However on a serious note.


Piston Heads said:
Small and gutsy, the little Dacia will not disappoint if you want to off-road
I can genuinely offer an off road site and some comparison vehicles if you'd like to make this an article. Location is in Bedfordshire not far from the M1.

There is mixed terrain on offer as well as some green lane type terrain.

I could also be flexible on dates/times to suit. Let me know if you are interested.

smile
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ivantate

143 posts

92 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
I am with 300 on this one.

The thing probably has Clio control arms on it.

Jimmy Recard

13,645 posts

103 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Cheap, 4x4 and built in a formerly Communist country = modern Niva

I'm a fan of both the Duster and the Niva, but they're quite different

Evilex

412 posts

28 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Is the Niva the right vehicle to compare with the Duster?
Suzuki Jimny, anyone? More readily available, and also some good off-road ability to boot.

Hotel India

331 posts

121 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
OT - glad you're back, 300.

On topic, and aware of (most) limitations, I love the idea of a base spec 4WD Duster. Not sure, though, I could live without AC, and think the higher spec ones just defeat the idea.

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

114 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
Evilex said:
Is the Niva the right vehicle to compare with the Duster?
Suzuki Jimny, anyone? More readily available, and also some good off-road ability to boot.
The Jimmy is an awesome vehicle, but can trace its own roots back to the 60's and really hales from inspiration of the original Jeep. Which I think was built in Japan under licence many years ago.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Jimny

Inn terms of layout and abilities the Suzuki Vitara 1st & 2nd Gens are much closer to the Niva. Small, compact, IFS, live rear.


But really there isn't anything on the market today that fills the same niche.

Off road ability boils down to things such as:

-approach, departure & ramp over angles
-suspension travel
-suspension type
-construction, i.e. Big plastic overhangs and large sills make not for a good off roader
-4 wheel drive system
-crawl speed, i.e. Low range

The Dacia is a pretty cool budget "Freelander" type vehicle and fine on sand, grass fields or mild off roading. But anyone who things it's an accomplished off roader likely has never done any serious off roading.

rockin

5,131 posts

169 months

Thursday 20th April
quotequote all
IanJ9375 said:
Love the Duster does what it says on the tin!
Exactly. It is indeed the spiritual successor of Lada Niva!

AussieFozzy

62 posts

52 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
IanJ9375 said:
Love the Duster does what it says on the tin!

We had one as a loaner when our Alfa company car kept leaking fuel, we had a Duster, a Focus, a Fiesta and a BMW 330d.

Since that time we've swapped to a 330d company car, I've bought a Focus RS and the outlaw Grandparents were so impressed with "Derek" they bought a brand new Duster back in 2015

Thanks Alfa you did a great job of introducing us to other brands lol
An Alfa company car? Where were you working, Sadist inc? biggrin

Sa Calobra

24,920 posts

135 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Niva = Suzuki Jimny

DonkeyApple

27,708 posts

93 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
So, in short, this is a cheap, usable 4x4 that will never be given a 4 inch lift, amber lights or yolo stickers?

Isn't that a massive bonus?

dsuk

92 posts

48 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Have they sorted out the rust from the factory in India yet?

I'm fairly sure the rust proofing is hand applied.

maffski

1,592 posts

83 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
IanJ9375 said:
Love the Duster does what it says on the tin!
No it does not. Made an awful mess of the dining room table, had to get the French polisher in.

FWDRacer

3,481 posts

148 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
DonkeyApple said:
So, in short, this is a cheap, usable 4x4 that will never be given a 4 inch lift, amber lights or yolo stickers?

Isn't that a massive bonus?
hehe

Forgot the essential LR sticker identification of poor social skills/personal hygiene. "One wife. Livid."

The Duster is breath of fresh air in an automotive world sold on glitz and bllox. As for it not being able to "Rock Crawl"... Seriously. When are you realistically going to drive in those conditions. I'm sure a Duster will adequately see off a pot-holed farm track.

Basic Model. Steelies. 4WD. Screw the Aircon, are wind down windows an option?


Edited by FWDRacer on Friday 21st April 09:23

marlons69

16 posts

88 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
300bhp/ton said:
For starters, nobody in the UK really knows the Niva as the Lada 4x4, despite Wiki saying it was named as such from 2009.... The Niva, apart from imports (of which there are very few) was never called this in the UK. And as by 2009 they had long since stopped being sold by Lada in the UK.
Not True; I certainly remember it as the Niva. Do a google image search and you'll find loads of images of 80's &90's RHD UK models with Niva badges - including Niva Cossacks, which was a UK dealer model.

IanJ9375

Original Poster:

522 posts

140 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
AussieFozzy said:
An Alfa company car? Where were you working, Sadist inc? biggrin
Other half's first company car - didn't want to go crazy on paying BIK so we took a Guilietta, would have gladly swapped it for "Derek" as we called the Duster when we had him smile

can't remember

490 posts

52 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
IanJ9375 said:
Love the Duster does what it says on the tin!

We had one as a loaner when our Alfa company car kept leaking fuel, we had a Duster, a Focus, a Fiesta and a BMW 330d.

Since that time we've swapped to a 330d company car, I've bought a Focus RS and the outlaw Grandparents were so impressed with "Derek" they bought a brand new Duster back in 2015

Thanks Alfa you did a great job of introducing us to other brands lol
The only brand that Alfa introduced me to when my company 159 kept breaking was Fiat. Oh the tragi-comedy of being towed back to the dealer in the Fiat less than an hour after I had been towed to the dealer in my car.