But let's take a step back and look at what we specifically have. We'll forgive you if you were not previously all that aware of the model range and nomenclature associated with the Duster. Being completely honest we weren't either...
As I mentioned, performance matters here at PH so we were always going to go for the fastest and most powerful motor, which happens to be the 1.2-litre TCe. This direct-injection turbocharged engine is new for 2017 with outputs of 125hp and 151lb ft of torque, the latter at just 2,000rpm. Realistically it was never going to feel fast, but so far the car has proven to be far more sprightly than we were expecting. This is no doubt helped by the kerb weight of 1,294kgs.
Originally Editor Trent had pitched the idea of us running a proper 'NATO-spec' Duster, which Dacia refers to as the 'Access' trim level. I say 'trim', but that is over selling it. Think hose-out interior, seats, a steering wheel and, well, not a lot else. Thankfully this plan was dropped when we discovered you couldn't have it with the 125hp motor. I spent a few weeks living in fear of what sort of car I'd end up with, especially since I'm going to be driving the car quite a lot, so I just went ahead and ordered the most expensive model when no one was looking.
Well, I did. So I ticked every single box on the order form. All of them. The lot. The sum total of these five aptly named option packs mean that the car is positively dripping in stuff. Full leather upholstery, centre armrest, posh mats, tow bar, roof bars, mud guards, boot liner, window deflectors, daytime running lights and a load of chrome bits. It is, as they might have once said in the motor trade, fully loaded.
Obviously such a highly specified car needed to look good too, so I also went with Pennine Green metallic paint. OK, so it looks a bit brown, but in some light conditions it looks good. And to counteract the inevitable comments, I don't mean it looks good in the dark.
At this stage I'm sure you're worrying that we've ended up with a frankly ridiculous price tag that undermines the very point of the car. Well, we haven't. Despite all this box ticking the car only costs £18,980. Looking back, the only way we could've made the car more expensive would have been by specifying a diesel engine and auto 'box, but that was ruled out grounds of performance and taste.
The car has got off to a great start and performed incredibly well on its maiden voyage where it literally went up hill and down dale (more on that next time). Anyway, it must be getting under our skin as it has already become known as 'The Mighty Duster' at PH Towers, and we only give nicknames to cars that really endear themselves to us. It is going to be an interesting long-termer and we've got big plans for where we're going to take the car and what we're going to do with it... did someone say track day?
Car: 2016 Dacia Duster Prestige TCe 125 4x4
On fleet since: January 2017
List price new: £15,795 (As tested £18,980 comprising Metallic paint for £495, European mapping for £90, Aspira leather upholstery for £500, protection pack for £495, touring pack for £565, action pack for £755 and window pack for £285)
Last month at a glance: The Duster debuts in all its Pennine Green glory!
Photos: Sim Mainey