The Dacia Duster has attracted a loyal following both locally, where it’s badged as a Renault, and abroad with its no-frills approach to SUV life.
What we see here is the third-generation model, revealed in its home country of Romania on Wednesday, and sporting a sleeker design inspired by the Bigster Concept of 2021.
As with the third-gen Sandero (sadly not sold in SA), the new SUV is based on the Renault-Nissan Allicance’s CMF-B platform. It’s slightly longer than its predecessor and claims to offer more cabin and luggage space than before.
The new platform has also allowed the Duster to embrace the electrification age with a new hybrid powertrain option that pairs a normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and high-voltage starter generator for a system output of 103kW.
The new Duster is also the first Dacia-built product to offer Renault’s new 96kW mild hybrid powertrain that pairs a Miller cycle 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol with a 48V mild hybrid motor. An LPG-fuelled engine option will also be available in Europe.
But it’s not just the hybrid powertrains that make the new Duster more eco-friendly than before. Roughly 20% of its plastics are recycled, and it also makes use of new materials like Starkle, for many of the exterior trim panels, which is paint free and consists of 20% reused polypropylene.
Still a decent off-roader by the sounds of it
The Duster has always been among the most off-road capable ‘soft roaders’ on the market, and the new model aims to take that further with an enhanced 4x4 Terrain Control system which has five settings: Eco, Auto, Snow, Mud/Sand and Off-Road, which is similar to the current Duster’s 4x4 Lock mode but with automatic torque distribution that responds to grip levels and speed.
The 4x4 version also boasts an impressive ground clearance of 217mm and approach and departure angles of up to 31 and 36 degrees respectively.
Also new is an All Road Info system that displays handy 4x4 information, such as uphill and downhill pitch, lateral tilt and power distribution on the car’s 10.1-inch infotainment screen.
However all we’ve mentioned so far applies to the European Dacia version of the new Duster. South African availability has yet to be announced.