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Test Drive: Dacia Dokker Laureate dCi 90

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Test Drive: Dacia Dokker Laureate dCi 90

The Dacia Dokker has been in production ever since last year (2012) and since it has been so well received by most markets across Europe and North Africa, we have decided to go for a spin in one.

Engine and Transmission
Dacia is offering the Dokker with its already known engines, which can be found on other models too, including the new Logan and Sandero generations, the facelifted Duster or the Lodgy MPV, which include the 1.2L TCe, the 1.6 liter petrol burner and the 1.5 liter dCi, in two versions. The tested car came with the top of the line 1.5 liter dCi unit under its hood, with 90 HP (67 kW), at 3,750 rpm, and 200 Nm (150 lb-ft) of torque, available at 1,750 rpm. Dacia says that the 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint takes 11.6 seconds in this versions and top speed stands at 175 km/h (109 mph).

The engine feels well and this is definitely my second favorite unit made by Renault, after the dCi 130, which is currently used in some French vehicles, and not only, because it can also be found on Nissan cars and even on some Mercedes-Benz models. The torque produced by the dCi 90 unit is enough to help you climb that hill without downshifting and pushing the throttle to the floor so this is definitely the engine of choice when buying a brand new Dacia car, no matter if you want the SUV or the small hatchback.

Dacia is only offering a single five-speed manual transmission choice and, to be honest, this is also making its job like it should. Gear shifting may not be as smooth in the Dokker as in a premium vehicle with a manual transmission and it does feel very robust, which is a good thing, because robust means it will last over the years.

Fuel Consumption
The Romanian based automaker Dacia says that the average fuel consumption of the dCi 90 unit of the Dokker stands at 4.5 liters every 100 km, while in the city, the vehicle is burning just 5.2 liters every 100 km. This is not a lie, as you’re probably used to already when talking about Dacia vehicles, because the average fuel consumption will stand at approximately 5.1 liters, but it can very well go below the 5.0L mark. In the city, the Dokker will burn approximately 6.5L / 100km in a normal driving mode, but if you have a light right foot, you can achieve a better figure. On the highway, the Dokker is “eating” less than 4.1L / 100km, so if fuel consumption is your main concern when ordering a vehicle in this class, than the dCi 90 for the Dokker is definitely what you have been looking for.

The Ride
The Dacia Dokker is, like every other Dacia car out there, a front engine vehicle, with front-wheel drive (except for some Duster vehicles which are AWD), and it’s riding on the Dacia M0 platform, being related to the Lodgy MPV. The suspension has been tuned as you might expect to move all your furniture from your old house to the new one but it won’t get on your nerves either if you will choose a short vacation with your family.

The brakes are well and so is the steering but, keep in mind that I’ve managed to understeer at a speed of 30 km/h, while entering a roundabout. I suspect the tires which are aimed towards the cold season and these, combined with a dry road and an outside temperature of 15 degrees Celsius may lead to some unpleasant situations sometimes, so make sure you properly test the Dokker after changing its shoes.

Interior Design
When I first climbed aboard the new Dacia Dokker I felt like I was in a small truck. The model is quite spacious and the tall roof, combined with the over-head storage space, made me want to put on my overalls and a cap, to pull my sleeves up and to get a tooth pick, but I resisted this desire. Putting all jokes aside, the Dokker is a car which feels like it has been made to last. The plastic used inside doesn’t feel cheap but it is, again, very solid and robust.

The tested car was the top of the line version so it came with everything needed except for Cruise Control. It did have, however, a Speed Limiter, which I personally think it’s useless on any vehicle. The MediaNav system, which is already known from our test drives with the Logan, the Logan MCV or the Sandero, is doing it’s job very well, we have front heated seats, which should definitely receive a button to adjust them, because the “on” feature will make some of your behind parts feel like they are on fire.

We did speak about storage spaces and we’re not done, because they are really quite a lot, starting with the ones over your head, going through the ones on the dashboard, between the front seats, on the doors and last, but not least, in the trunk, which has an 800 liter capacity, which can quickly be turned into 3000 liters, with the rear seats folded. The seats fold to an almost flat floor in the five-seat version.

The Dokker has electric windows which can be operated from the doors, a height adjustable steering wheel, a trip computer feature which can be accessed from the right lever, the horn found on the left lever and basically all the things are where you expect them to be. If you have driven a Dacia model before, you will definitely get a déjà vu feel, even if that Dacia car was a first-gen Logan.

Likes / Dislikes
The steering of the Dokker does have a few flops but if you eventually get used to it, it won’t be on your mind constantly. The stability has been affected by the increased ride height, so make sure you know how the car behaves before entering a tight corner without pushing the brake pedal almost to the floor. The heated front seats definitely need new buttons, with a few adjustment steps. The engine is great, the transmission is good too, but I would want to shift into the sixth gear sometimes. Who knows, maybe Dacia would eventually offer the 6-speed manual transmission in Europe too.

Safety
The Dacia Dokker hasn’t been tested by the specialists at Euro NCAP but its sister, the Lodge, has received only a 3-star safety rating, with 72 percent in Adult Occupant, 77 percent in Child Occupant, 44 percent in Pedestrian Safety and 29 percent in the Safety Assist. The tested car was a Lodgy 1.5 dCi Laureate.

Price
Cheapest version – 9,000 euros (VAT included)
Tested car – Dacia Dokker Laureate dCi 90 14,800 euros (VAT included)
* The Dokker can be had with a 2,220 EUR down payment and a monthly fee of 261,71 EUR, for 60 months, for the top-of-the-line version.

Rating:

3.5 / 5

inautonews

by Cristian Gnaticov (my Google+) - Sunday, December 29th, 2013 - filed under Dacia, Editors, News, Sticky news, Test Drive. Image credit: .
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