At first glance, Dacia Duster is clearly a 4x4. Its front end exudes a sense of ruggedness, with its imposing chrome grille and sump guard also pointing to its clear 4x4 credentials. Seen in profile, its high ground clearance, wide wheel arches and body protection are an open invitation to take on even the toughest surfaces. Being 4.31 metres long and 1.82 metres wide, Dacia Duster is very compact, making it as at home in built-up areas as it is when taken off the beaten track.
Dacia Duster was designed to tackle all types of roads and tracks, all over the world. In order to meet these varied needs, it will be available in all markets in both 4x2 form (for customers looking for good ground clearance and a high driving position, without the need for four-wheel drive) and with 4x4 transmission for off-road driving. Dacia Duster's strengthened undercarriage is suitable for dirt roads and all-terrain use thanks to its high ground clearance (more than 200mm) and impressive clearance angles (approach angle: 30 degrees; departure angle: more than 35 degrees).
Its combination of its low unladen weight (1,180kg in 4x2 - 1,280kg in 4x41) and compact proportions, promise particularly agile handling. In the 4x4 version, thanks to the unique and intuitive control (sourced from Nissan) located at the foot of the centre console, Dacia Duster drivers can easily adapt the vehicle's transmission configuration to meet their needs of the moment. This control allows one of three modes to be selected:
- When the AUTO mode is selected, the front/rear torque split is calculated automatically as a function of available grip. This system is aimed at providing optimal traction, however much grip is available, and gives Dacia Duster genuine 4x4 ability. In normal conditions, the torque is transmitted through the front wheels only. If traction is lost, or when grip is at a premium, some of the torque is transferred to the rear axle. In extreme conditions, the torque is split equally front and rear. This split is performed by an electromagnetic torque converter supplied by Nissan.
- In LOCK mode, the driver electronically locks it into 4x4 mode, whereby 50 per cent of torque is consistently fed through the rear axle. This mode is recommended in low grip conditions (snow, mud, dirt, sand) at low speeds.
- In 4x2 mode, the transmission is locked into two-wheel drive. This mode is suited to driving on good roads and reduces fuel consumption.
Both the 4x2 and 4x4 versions of Dacia Duster will be available with either a 1.6 16V 110hp petrol engine, or 85hp or 105hp dCi diesel power. All three powerplants have already demonstrated their efficiency under the bonnet of a number of Renault group models. Combined with Duster's low weight, they ensure that Dacia's newcomer returns low fuel consumption and boasts impressive ecological credentials, with the dCi diesel versions emitting less than 140g of CO2/km in 4x2 form (qualifying Duster for the Dacia eco² signature) and less than 150g of CO2/km in the case of the 4x4 versions.
The news 4x4 features Bosch 8.1 ABS, as well as EBV electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist. On the passive safety front, Dacia Duster comes as standard with two front airbags (depending on market) and three-point seat belts with load limiters for the front seats. Depending on version, two lateral head/thorax airbags are fitted in addition to the driver and passenger front airbags to provide additional protection in the case of side impact. Pyrotechnic pretensioners for the front seats (depending on version) complete Dacia Duster's retention system. In addition to holding the thorax firmly in place, they limit forward body movement in the case of a frontal impact by tightening the belt around the thorax and the lap.
Dacia Duster to be released in the brand's main markets from Spring 2010 Dacia Duster will be launched next Spring in Europe, Turkey and the Maghreb region (Algeria, Morocco). It will round off the Dacia model line-up, which is expanding in the majority of these markets. In addition to the three cars (Logan, Logan MCV and Sandero), Dacia has staked its claim, too, in the LCV sector with Logan van and Logan pick-up.
From June 2010, Duster will also be available in Ukraine, the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon) and in some African countries badged as a Renault.
Duster will expand into other parts of the world in 2011. It will be distributed in the Gulf States, supplied from Pitesti, and will also be built alongside Logan, Sandero and Sandero Stepway in Curitiba, Brazil, for distribution in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile. At a later date, Duster will go on to be manufactured at the Avtoframos plant in Moscow, Russia.