DIP into the automotive bargains bin and you will find plenty bearing the Dacia badge.

It’s true that we Brits love to save a few quid when we can, and while the rest of the car industry has been taking us on an upmarket journey, the Dacia brand has resolutely stood for good old-fashioned value for money, making cars that are robust and spacious at prices that no other manufacturer has been able to match.

This auto equivalent of the Audi/Lidl supermarket chains and Poundland/Poundworld retail shops has very quickly endeared itself. More than 100,000 Dacia models have been sold in the UK since its launch in January 2013.

At the helm of this sales charge in the UK is the Duster, the most affordable SUV on the UK market. The go-anywhere award winner is priced from a mere £9,495 in a choice of three trim levels, with 1.6-litre petrol or 1.5-litre dCi diesel engines and in 4x2 or 4x4 set-ups.

Dacia itself was ranked fourth out of 34 brands for customer satisfaction in the 2016 Which? Car survey.

So we might deduce that Dacia is not only providing decent products at low prices but also looking after its customers.

But let’s not get carried away here. The price you pay for the savings is an interior that is practical rather than pulse-raising, a cabin of hard plastics and budget cloth.

Yet for many this will be all that is required, and indeed desirable if you likely to be bringing kids, pets or dirt with you on your travels.

If you are prepared to pay extra, then the Laureate trim level brings with it a few of life’s luxuries.

Measuring 4.31m long and 1.82m wide, it’s about the same size as a Renault Mégane, which means it’s as happy negotiating urban streets as it is driving off the beaten track. Its exterior lines are modern, but it’s unmistakeably a tough performer, with a chunky look, courtesy of wide wheel arches, a prominent chrome-trimmed grille and a sump guard. Viewed side-on, Duster’s high ground clearance and protective mouldings flag up its ability to tackle the rough stuff. All Duster models from Ambiance trim upwards feature body-coloured front and rear bumpers and ride on 16-inch wheels For a more purposeful look and practicality, the Duster’s exterior can be upgraded with the styling pack option, which includes chrome side bars, chrome front bar, chrome-plated exhaust tailpipe finisher and daytime running lights, and the Touring Pack, which includes tow bar and roof bars.

For 2017, the Duster has been given a makeover and now features revised styling and improved standard equipment.

Key to the improvements is the introduction of Renault’s 1.2 TCe 125 turbocharged petrol engine, and there is now a petrol or diesel variant and choice of two or four-wheel drive at all four trim levels - Access, Ambiance, Lauréate and Prestige.

In addition to a cutting-edge four-wheel drive system that utilises the best technology that Groupe Renault has to offer, the turbocharged 1.2 TCe engine that combines strong performance with optimum efficiency and such ‘big car’ features as DAB radio, cruise control and speed limiter, the new Duster notably benefits from the availability of the MediaNav Evolution 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system.

Where other cheap brands have failed in the past because of poor-performing engines, Dacia is cossetted by Renault units. Dacia has a long history associated with Renault, the French brand first working with Dacia plants in Romania in the 1960s, before acquiring them fully in 1999.

The 1.2 TCe engine tested here is an able partner to what is a quite large vehicle. Acceleration is moderate but perfectly acceptable and as the Duster eases up to higher speeds it becomes a composed carrier. There’s some roll on country lance corners, but for the most part you have a perfectly acceptable ride.

The Duster can carry up to five people and has up to 475 litres of boot space. With the back seats folded down, load capacity expands up to 1,636 litres.

Big on value, big on load-carrying. The Duster is one big bargain.