The Dacia Duster SUV that will have its official launch in the UK at the start of 2013 is priced lower than £10,000, according to Dacia (Renault’s budget brand). Meanwhile, the Duster’s all-wheel drive versions have a starting price of £12,500. A price tag of less than £7,000 has been attached to the Dacia Sandero supermini, which will be launched at the same time.
The Dacia Sandero supermini is meant to rival the Ford Fiesta. It is also the first time that the Dacia Duster will be built as a right-hand drive model at the new Renault-Nissan Alliance factory in India.
European customers can choose for their Duster to get either two- or four-wheel drive. It is also available with either a 108bhp 1.6-litre 16V petrol engine or 84bhp and 104bhp 1.5-litre diesels.
It is marketed as a genuine off-roader when fitted with four-wheel drive as it has a 20cm ground clearance, 30 degree approach angle and 35 degree departure angle. More details about the lineup and the specific prices will be announced on June 28.
Dacia Duster’s design is intended to tackle all road and track types. The Dacia Duster will be available worldwide in either 4x2 version for those looking for great ground clearance and high driving position (without needing a four-wheel drive) or with a 4x4 transmission suitable for off-road driving.
The Dacia Duster boasts a strengthened undercarriage that is ideal for dirt roads as well as for all-terrain use. This is thanks to the car’s high ground clearance, which is more than 200mm, and its great clearance angles – approach angle is 30 degrees while departure angle is more than 35 degrees.
What’s more, the Dacia Duster is quite easy to drive and it is not just perfect for all-terrain drivers. It features a combination of compact proportions and low unladen weight – which is 1,180kg for the 4x2 and 1,280kg for the 4x4 – thus ensuring impressively agile handling. In its 4x4 version, the Dacia Duster allows you to easily adapt the transmission configuration in order to meet your needs, thanks to its unique and intuitive control, located at the center console’s foot. This control, which is sourced from Nissan, allows you to select one of three modes.
For one, there’s the AUTO Mode. When you select this mode, the car’s front/rear torque split is automatically calculated as an available grip function. This system is targeted at providing optimal traction, but much grip is available, giving the Duster genuine 4x4 ability. The torque, in normal conditions, is transmitted only through the front wheels. When traction is lost or grip is at a premium, a bit of the torque gets transferred to the car’s rear axle. Meanwhile, in extreme conditions, this torque is equally split between the front and the rear through an electromagnetic torque converter, which is sourced from Nissan.
There’s also the LOCK mode. In this mode, the driver electronically locks the control in 4x4 mode, wherein half of the torque is fed consistently through the rear axle. This mode is ideal in low grip conditions like mud, snow, sand, and dirt, and at low speeds.