Through the fog I can see it, a baby blue sedan nestled by the road side. The blue circle is closing in and so my only chance of survival is to crawl inside the vehicle and make for the new play zone. I holster my weapon, get in, and start the engine. Pulling away, I outrun the force field and, before long, find myself on the edge of the new play area. I leave the car in some bushes and venture forth. The Dacia has saved me once again.
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The Dacia 1300 is arguably the most-maligned vehicle in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and for good reason. It is terrible offroad, has awful acceleration, and will roll whenever it is faced with even the slightest of corners. I cannot help but love the damn thing though. It is the plucky underdog of its kind – something I can relate to in the perpetual hellscape that is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
I appreciate the Dacia’s Cold-War aesthetic. I know it is shallow to judge anything by its appearance alone, but its economical design contributes to the game’s post-Soviet identity, and adds to the island’s limited sense of place. Not only that, but it also offers a lovably crap alternative to the hard-nosed UAZ that was actually used by the Soviet military. Driving around with a squad in the Dacia, you feel less like a group of hardened killers and more like a family of holidaymakers who took a wrong turn while on vacation. This makes for some hilarious viewing as you try to put it through its paces on the tougher terrain, and end up spinning out, tumbling over, or blowing up in a magnificent blaze.
It isn’t all bad, though. The Dacia does have some tactical advantages. In fact, it is one of the safer vehicles you can drive in the game, offering a greater level of protection from bullets, at least in my experience – not too surprising in a game that has a frying pan double up as a highly-effective piece of armour and a lethal weapon. I have lost track of how many times I have been driving around in a Dacia and managed to escape enemies undamaged. I cannot say the same for the jeep or the buggy, in which I die almost every time someone notices me and fires a few pot shots my way.
It is the Dacia’s secure and compact nature that has given rise to some of my favourite moments in PUBG. In one match, for example, I used it as cover, aware that players sometimes struggle to see inside. Tipping the vehicle, I sat in the backseat to remain hidden in the final moments of the game, and watched as the number of players fell in the top right corner of the screen. This approach would not have been possible in any of the other vehicles, which are likely too ostentatious to avoid enemy detection.
The Dacia also possesses a surprising turn of speed. In fact, it is one of the fastest vehicles in the game once it is on the road (and the right way up). This is partly why I can forgive it for its crappy handling and poor acceleration. If you need to cover a long distance then it is the best vehicle for the job. You can cover half the map in only a few minutes, provided you do not spin out or hit a bump on the way.
The Dacia may not be the most stylish mode of transport in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but for my money it is the most reliable and charismatic pick. For this reason, I am always glad to come to across it, and will take great care to defend those battered body panels against its many detractors and their bullets.