The second generation Dacia Duster goes on sale in Ireland this week. After selling more than 10,000 of the last model, the Romanian brand is hoping to expand its customer base with improvements across the board in tech, comfort and safety.

For the first time ever, the Duster will have a petrol option in the 1.6l SCe 115 which now kicks off the range at €17,390. The Blue 1.5l dCi will now start at €18,590. Both engines are WLTP compliant.

While the new model has not increased in size, all body panels have been replaced and the styling redesigned to give it a wider, more aggressive look. Improvements continue inside the cabin with the addition of extra comfort features including extra padding on the seats, a driver’s armrest, and reach adjustment in the steering wheel. They also claim to have reduced cabin noise by 50 per cent after extensive work on sound insulation.

A new specification structure sees the range now start with the Essential trim. Starting at €17,390 for the petrol it will offer 16-inch ‘Fidji’ steel wheels, body coloured front bumpers, height adjustment in the driver’s seat, DAB digital radio, a multi-function steering wheel and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

The Comfort model, from €19,790 will add 16 inch ‘Cyclade’ alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, front-seat armrest, leather steering wheel, a reversing camera, parking sensors, and a seven inch touchscreen multimedia system complete with SatNav, all formerly top-spec features of the previous model.

The new crown of the range will be the Prestige model which comes with some high-end features never before seen on the Dacia range. These include 17 inch ‘Diamond-cut’ alloy wheels, a multi-view camera, blind spot monitoring, climate control and keyless entry. The Prestige starts at €21,290.

First impressions from the launch were extremely positive with a short test drive in the dCi Prestige indicating vast improvements in refinement and a much quieter ride. The upcoming 4X4 diesel (arriving Q1 2019) proved itself a very capable off-roader with functional features such as hill descent, hill start assist and a multi-view camera making short work of a challenging off road course.

Stay tuned for a full video review coming soon to CarsIreland.ie