International Launch

Dacia gives the Renault Duster a brand new shine

30 November 2023 - 16:32
By Phuti Mpyane
The all-new Dacia Duster has a cleaner look than its predecessor, though it retains rugged hallmarks.
Image: Supplied The all-new Dacia Duster has a cleaner look than its predecessor, though it retains rugged hallmarks.

Dacia is a Romanian brand founded back in 1968. It was absorbed into the Renault group in 1999 and the brands market badge-engineered products alongside one another, including the Sandero, Jogger/Kwid and other nameplates. Though badged Dacia, this is effectively the all-new Renault Duster.

The Duster first appeared in 2010 as a boxy left-field alternative in the rounded crossover population of the era. It proved a hit with customers, with its emphasis on family friendliness and genuine off-road prowess at value prices.

First overhauled in 2017, Dacia design director David Durand has this to say of the latest model: “Before even starting work on the style, we honed its proportions, to find a strong, balanced posture. The simple shapes and volumes add to the design’s power, including the sharp, vertical face, chamfered wheel-arch guards, large tailgate and side windows reaching seamlessly from bow to stern.”

The model’s trims are Expression, Extreme and Journey and the inside has more space for passengers and luggage while the roofline has been lowered to improve wind resistance. Rear legroom has increased by 30mm while the boot is 472l, up from 442l . The passenger quarters echo the exterior styling cues through a vertical new dashboard and air vents shaped like the wheel arches.

The new Dacia Duster has 30mm more legroom inside a heavily revised cabin. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Dacia Duster has 30mm more legroom inside a heavily revised cabin. Picture: SUPPLIED

A 10.1-inch centre screen positioned towards the driver, 7-inch instrument binnacle, new automatic transmission controls, a flat top and bottom steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, real-time traffic navigation, over-the-air updates, USB-C ports front and back and wireless smartphone charging are possible specifications to the range.

Three power trains are available. The Dacia Duster Hybrid 140 model pairs a 70kW 1.6l four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and starter-generator. It paired to an electric automatic gearbox, has regenerative braking and an all-electric drive mode.

In Dacia Duster TCe 130 guise you get a new-generation 1.2l turbocharged three-cylinder petrol, a 48-volt mild hybrid system and regenerative braking. This motor is available with a six-speed manual gearbox and in 4x2 and 4x4 versions.

The Dacia Duster TCe 100 Bi-Fuel uses petrol or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It’s equipped with two 50l tanks, giving it a range of up to 1,300km. A button built into the dashboard provides seamless switching of fuels.

Extreme, the standard trim, features washable TEP MicroCloud upholstery, and rubber mats in the front, rear and boot. The model has 217mm of ground clearance, 31°/ 36°/24° approach/departure/ventral angles in 4x4 versions.

A terrain control transmission with five driving modes — Auto, Snow, Mud/Sand, Off-road and Eco — is integrated. The AWD system is similar to the current version, with a 4x4 Lock function.

Downhill speed control, a new All Road Info system that displays lateral tilt, uphill and downhill pitch and power distribution in 4x4 versions is integrated.

The new Dacia Duster is larger than its predecessor and is available in 4x2 and 4x4 guises. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Dacia Duster is larger than its predecessor and is available in 4x2 and 4x4 guises. Picture: SUPPLIED

InNature accessories comprises a Sleep Pack featuring a removable 3-in-1 box containing a fold-out double bed, tray table, storage. A roof rack with a maximum weight of 80kg is also available.

Another interesting Dacia invention is the YouClip — a three- or five-clip widget that can hold several accessories such as a tablet or smartphone stand, storage pouch or be used as a bag hook in specific areas in the passenger compartment.

The new Duster is expected in SA in the fourth quarter of 2024 and Renault SA says it’s likely to launch in high-end 4x4 derivatives.