The Renault/Dacia Duster has been a smash hit with Europeans after a budget SUV, and buyers in developing nations, since 2010. More than two million units have been sold in 100-plus countries.
Now a new (or perhaps just reworked) version has been revealed, ahead of its world premiere in the metal at the Frankfurt motor show on September 12.
Details for now are a little scarce, but the Renault budget sub-brand is boasting about the fettled (but still rugged) design, and greater levels of cabin equipment and higher-end materials.
Design-wise there’s that bolder new grille with headlights pushed out to the corners to add the illusion of width, new LED daytime running lights, new crease lines on the bonnet and a chrome-finish skid plate.
There’s also a higher belt line that adds design flair but also strengthens the body, a more steeply raked windscreen that’s 100mm further forward, aluminium roof rails, optional 17-inch wheels under more prominent and flared arches, bigger rear haunches and a new rear lighting signature.
We haven’t seen pics of the cabin yet, but Dacia promises a “completely redesigned, quality-feel interior and new equipment”.
Mechanically you can assume it’ll still come in 4×2 and 4×4 guises with about 210mm of clearance, and proven (older) underpinnings designed to cheap and reliable.
Whether the new Duster can remain as cheap as before is unclear (in the UK it’s priced next to the Suzuki Swift) but you’d imagine Renault/Dacia has worked hard to improve the NCAP crash performance and in-car tech.
We’re not sure what engines will be offered, though we’d imagine small petrol and diesel units will continue, matched to either manual or auto gearboxes as per the outgoing car.
We’ve been hammering Renault for ages to offer the Duster here, assuming some people might like the idea of a $16k-$18k crossover. But the case for the old car never stacked up.
We spoke today with Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar, who told us this new version still wasn’t on the cards.
“We’re not considering the introduction of the Dacia brand into Australia. Currently we’re very focused on the development of the Renault brand in Australia,” he told us.