The new Dacia Duster at a glance
- Third generation of the SUV bestseller
- Available with front and all-wheel drive
- No longer available as diesel
- New digital cockpit and “YouClip” system
- Market launch in spring 2024
- Base price under 20,000 euros
The new Duster has been visually significantly upgraded
The change to Dacia’s new brand identity at the end of 2022 has done quite a bit of good for the appearance of the current Duster. But the step to generation three is considerably larger. You could put it this way: Where there were previously subtle visual indications of the tightly calculated prices and the classification of the Duster as a budget SUV for tough computers on the outer skin, a remedial action was taken. The new one looks more valuable, as if it were made from a single piece, without sacrificing typical details such as the all-round protective strip or the so-called snorkel in the front doors to progress.
There is no question: the core elements of the predecessors are retained, but they are significantly modified and modernized. The comparison process that inevitably takes place in the viewer’s brain when they first look at a completely new vehicle triggers associations with current Land Rover and Volvo models, especially at the front of the Duster, with its broader, more self-confident appearance. Which can be seen as a big compliment in the Dacia price range. The lighting all around is designed in the form of horizontal Ypsilons, which creates a visual presence and suggests more width than is actually required. Because: The new Dacia looks bigger than its predecessor. But it is the same length at 4.34 meters, three centimeters lower at 1.66 meters, and the width is practically identical at 1.81 meters. The ground clearance increased by a few centimeters to make entry and exit easier and to increase off-road capabilities.
Read now: Dacia Duster driving report
In the interior, the need to save money was sympathetically packaged
The change to the CMF-B platform already used in the Sandero and Jogger is clearly noticeable in the interior. The previously very generous headroom is now only generous, but the elbow room has increased in all seats and the legroom in row two has increased by a few potentially crucial centimeters. Getting in and out at the back is still not a pleasure; your feet have to be lifted over a high hurdle. The designers have wrested a bit more space from the trunk. According to Dacia, with full seating, 472 liters instead of the previous 445 liters fit in the rear compartment. There is also an additional loading floor that can be used to avoid the relatively high step into the interior of the car and the associated effort required when unloading. Good to know: The “Sleep Pack”, which is popular with joggers, is also available for the new Duster.
According to Dacia, the core competencies of the Duster are the concentration on the essentials and the best price-performance ratio among family SUVs. Of course, this also applies to generation three. It is therefore not surprising that hard plastic is used extensively in the interior for cost reasons. But it actually fits the subtle, rough charm of the vehicle built in Romania. And especially in the finer versions called Journey and Extreme, the interior designers have managed to package the need for savings in a friendly way. Little tricks like the Y-shaped ventilation nozzles and armrests on the door panels or pleasant materials on the new front seats with more lateral support help.
The diesel goes, the Eco-G stays
The 7-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, which is used for the first time on a Dacia, and the 10.1-inch central display, which is tilted slightly to the left, also make a good impression. They are installed as standard in the higher versions Expression, Journey and Extreme. For the latter, the Media Live Nav package, which comes as standard in the Journey, can be ordered with a networked navigation system and Arkamys sound system with six speakers. Anyone who orders the basic version called Essentiel gets analog instruments with a 3.5-inch display and a centrally located smartphone holder. The radio and various other functions run via the user’s smartphone and are operated via the steering wheel.
A lot has also happened on the subject of drive (the new Dacia Duster is not yet for sale, pending homologation)². The 115 hp diesel that was previously offered was canceled without replacement, a fact that may not delight all Duster fans, especially in Germany (diesel share currently around 20 percent). In the future, the range of engines will consist of the well-known LPG unit called Eco-G 100, for which Dacia promises ranges of up to 1,300 kilometers given the 50 liter petrol and gas tanks each. For the first time, the Duster uses the Tce 130, a mildly hybridized 48-volt starter generator, a turbo-powered three-cylinder with a displacement of 1.2 liters. The highest performance in the Duster is delivered by a hybrid with 140 hp, which is already used in the Jogger. It consists of a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated engine, an electric motor and a high-voltage starter generator, which combine their forces via a clutchless multi-mode automatic transmission and deliver them to the drive wheels.
All-wheel drive and numerous assistants
The new Dacia SUV should also be able to master demanding terrain with the optional 4×4 drive. In the future it will offer five driving modes: Auto, Snow, Mud/Sand, Off-Road and Eco. The new All Road Info system can be used to display data on inclines, slopes or side inclinations, and the hill descent control ensures the desired downward speed at the push of a button. For fans of numbers: The ground clearance of the all-wheel drive version is 21.7 centimeters, the approach angle is 31 degrees at the front and 36 degrees at the rear.
As would be expected, Dacia has expanded the mostly optional range of assistance systems in the new Duster to the current level. These include the city emergency brake assistant, which can detect cars, pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles, traffic sign recognition and speed warning, rear parking aid, adaptive brake lights, lane departure warning and drowsiness detection.
Recycled interior with YouClip mounts
The Renault subsidiary is proud of the increase in the proportion of recycling in the new Duster from twelve to 20 percent. The side protection strips, wheel arch trim, side decorative elements and underrun protection at the front and rear are made of “Starkle”, a material developed by Dacia that consists of 20 percent recycled polypropylene. The developers are particularly proud of YouClip, a simple and practical attachment system for bag holders, smartphones, tablets or flashlights. The necessary brackets are already installed in the cars.
At the first presentation of the new Duster, Dacia did not yet comment specifically on the exact technical data, the scope of equipment and the prices. It is clear that the current base price of 17,400 euros will not be sustainable. But at least entry should be “under 20,000 euros”. The Dacia SUV is expected to celebrate its public premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2024, with the first deliveries starting in late spring. (Text: tv, rh/sp-x | Images: manufacturer)