The former cheap home Dacia is on its way to new shores. Gone are the days when customers bought a model from the Renault subsidiary solely because of the price. The start of a new era is ushered in by the new Duster.
The first generation of the Dacia Duster attracted customers particularly because of its low price, as a crossover was not available cheaper in Europe. With the second generation, the interior was improved, the technical equipment was expanded and the exterior design was refined – a combination of factors that made it a real market hit: 2.2 million Duster models have been produced to date. In Germany alone, 240,000 copies have been registered since the first day. For five years, the Frenchman has been the best-selling SUV in Europe on the private market across all segments, which has prompted the plant in Pitesti, Romania, to ramp up production: a Duster rolls off the assembly line almost every minute, around 1,000 units a day.
Now the third generation is coming onto the market and the central design elements are still there: the striking, emphatically vertical front, flared wheel arches, a large tailgate and generous side windows that extend over the entire vehicle profile – paired with protective plastic panels that Connect the wheel arches to the bumpers. All of this is refreshed with LED headlights and the brand logo, making the Duster III a more appealing compact SUV.
Dacia designer David Durand: “We wanted the exterior and interior to create a unified image, such as the ventilation slots, which are designed in the style of the wheel arches. On the other hand, the robust style of the cabin gives the occupants the feeling of being well protected – with elements such as the high, vertical and large dashboard with a wide decorative stripe. The Y can also be found in the light signature at the front and rear as well as in the alloy wheels . The cockpit is more driver-focused thanks to the central 10.1-inch display, which is slightly tilted. In the higher equipment versions, it has a seven-inch digital display, which makes the interior appear significantly more modern. The entry-level versions rely on a “bring your on device” strategy and do not have a central touchscreen.
The length and width of the Duster III remained almost identical at 4.34 and 1.80 meters, while the wheelbase was shortened by 1.5 centimeters and the entry-level crossover became almost four centimeters flatter. The interior has been optimized by using slimmer seats and door panels and lowering the rear seats. This means that five passengers can travel together, even if the middle rear seat offers little space and is disturbed by the transmission tunnel. Even though the headroom in the rear has become smaller, there is more space for legs and shoulders, which noticeably improves the quality of stay compared to its predecessor. However, the surfaces remain rustic as usual, but the workmanship quality is always solid in an interior that has been equipped with recycled and washable materials. The trunk of the front-wheel drive car offers 472 liters of volume, which corresponds to an increase of 27 liters. There are also numerous facilities inside.
The powertrain range has also been modernized. The Dacia Duster Hybrid 140 features a 140 hp powertrain, powered by a 1.6 four-cylinder 94 hp gasoline engine and two electric motors (a 49 hp unit and a 48 V starter generator) as well as a multi-mode clutchless Automatic transmission with four speed levels for the combustion engine and two speed levels for the electric motor is provided. The Dacia engineers assure that the small battery capacity of 1.2 kWh is sufficient to drive purely electrically in the city up to 80 percent of the time and promise a reduction in consumption of 20 to 40 percent. The mild hybrid TCe 130 has a 1.2 liter three-cylinder turbo petrol engine in the efficient Miller cycle with a 48 volt starter generator, while the regenerative braking system charges a 0.9 kWh battery. This drive is installed in all front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions with a manual six-speed gearbox.
As the LPG market leader in Europe, the Dacia Duster ECO-G 100 emits an average of ten percent less CO2 than a comparable gasoline model. With its two tanks, which together hold 100 liters (50 petrol/50 LPG), it can have a range of up to 1,300 kilometers. The LPG tank is located under the trunk floor so as not to affect loading capacity. The driver can switch between the two types of fuel at the push of a button.
The CMF-B platform, which was first used in the current Sandero and then in the Jogger, is also the technical basis for the new Duster and thus enables the upcoming mild hybrid and full hybrid versions that will come over the course of the SUV’s life cycle. The all-wheel drive vehicles are also equipped with a new, significantly more effective driving program control called Terrain Control, which can be used to control the various driving modes. The all-wheel drive version immediately offers a central information display that informs the occupants about the lateral and longitudinal inclination as well as power distribution between the front and rear axles. For adventurous customers who want to spend longer periods of time in their Duster at the weekend, the sleeping package known from the Jogger offers a 1.90 m x 1.30 m folding bed that can also be used as a table or storage space. Up to 80 kilograms of equipment for outdoor activities can be transported on the roof rack. To increase its functionality, the new Duster also features Youclip, which allows various accessories to be attached to specific locations in the interior. But this time too, it will be the price that will make the difference – but that is still open.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.