Dacia, Renault's low-cost brand, will debut the new Duster SUV in the UK in 2012. This model, which is the first Dacia to have a right-hand-drive version, is the last model to complete the lineup to be offered to the European market.
Before the arrival of the Duster, the Logan range already had a sedan, station wagon, light commercial van, pickup and Sandero hatchback.
The Duster, which is the sixth model to be launched in the range, will carry the Dacia badge in Europe, Turkey and Northern Africa. Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, the Middle East, Central Africa, South America and Mexico, the Duster will be sold as the Renault Duster.
But for the Duster to be priced lower (such as with other Logan-based models), it wasn't equipped with options that were found in many cars, such as a navigation system. Buyers of the Duster can also choose to have electronic stability control for 300 euro the first Dacia to offer this as an option.
Enrico Bill, Renault's marketing product manager, said that the Duster is expected to account for a major percentage of all Logan range sales.
For 2010, the Duster has an initial production capacity of 150,000 units a year from a total annual capacity of 350,000 units a year at its main production site in Pitesti, Romania. Dacia's sales have tripled in the past five years to 311,874 in 2009. Dacia fully expects the Duster to build on the brand's success worldwide.
Dacia designed the Duster to be able to challenge any road and track anywhere in the world. To satisfy these varied demands, Dacia is making the Duster be available in all markets in both 4x2 and 4x4 flavors. Customers searching for a high driving position and good ground clearance but don’t require four-wheel drive capability could choose the 4x2 Dacia. On the other, drivers who tend to go off the road could opt for the 4x4 variant.
The carmaker has further strengthened the undercarriage of the Duster to make it more suitable to tackle dirt roads and any terrain. This ability is complemented by the fact that its boasts of more than 200 mm of high ground clearance as well as impressive clearance angles. The new Duster has an approach angle and departure angles of 30 degrees and more than 35 degrees, respectively.
The easy-to-drive nature of the new Dacia Duster benefits not only aimed at all-terrain drivers. Thanks to its compact proportions and low unladen weight (1,180 kg and 1,280kg in 4x2 and 4x4 versions, respectively), the new Dacia is particularly agile to handle. Drivers of the 4x4 version could easily adapt its transmission configuration according to their momentary needs thanks to the distinct and intuitive control at the foot of the center console, allowing for any of the three available modes to be picked.
When the drivers picks the AUTO mode, the Dacia automatically calculates the front/rear torque split as a function of available grip. This allows for providing optimal traction regardless of the available grip available, thereby giving the Duster a genuine 4x4 ability. During normal driving conditions, the transmission sends torque through the front wheels only. But when traction is lost or when grip is at a premium, some of the torque will be distributed to the rear axle. During extreme conditions, the torque is distributed equally between the front and rear axles, as performed by an electromagnetic torque converter from Nissan.