Today's lunchbreak test drive is a little different. It's prompted by our Group Used Vehicle Manager, Stewart Hebditch, visiting the Marketing Office, brimming over with enthusiasm for the Dacia Duster 'Journey'. No need for Laura to test drive! Stewart has reported back on his experience of driving the Dacia Duster for a few days as a courtesy car.
Stewart has worked for the JCB Group for many years, and in the car industry for many more and has driven many cars. Being a dapper chap, his usual personal choice of wheels has ranged from a Porsche 911 to classic vintage cars, so we were a little surprised when he made a detour to the office to wax lyrical about the Dacia Duster that retails from £17,295 OTR.
"All my pre-conceived expectations of this car were proved wrong within minutes!" he said.
Stewart told us: "The build quality was extremely good. I thought the specification of the 'Journey' trim was amazing - navigation, automatic climate control, rear camera, remote locking/keyless entry, electric folding mirrors.... The boot space is a good size too."
"It was really smooth. The manual 6-speed had a sweet gear change and light clutch. It has bags of torque and a quiet engine for a diesel. On the motorway, even in 6th, it picks up. The ride is very compliant, (although I felt it can become a little unsettled if pushing along winding country lanes)."
"It's got the turning circle of a London taxi! It has a higher ride height and high profile tyres, so cornering requires care, but I found it extremely comfortable to drive. The fuel economy has been great - I drive motorway and town routes and achieved 59mpg."
"It's the most surprising car I've driven for years in terms of expectation versus reality. I'm pleasantly surprised - it's a really good all-rounder. Dacia benefits from the Renault family technology and engineering and is a great value car. It's remarkably well priced and put together very well."
Surely there must be something that wasn't quite 100% Stewart? - you're obviously impressed, but was there nothing negative?
"Oh yes, there was something I noticed.....
.... it didn't have a coat hook for my jacket"......!!