Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster redesigned for 2024 launch with rugged look and first use of hybrid power

Ready to clean up

Few cars became household names as quickly as the Dacia Duster, but when the Romanian marque launched the compact SUV in 2010, it came with a remarkably low price and a no-frills approach that was refreshingly different. Just over a decade later, here’s an all-new, third-generation Dacia Duster. Set to go on sale in 2024, the new car has a much more rugged look than its predecessor.

Using the same underpinnings as the Dacia Sandero and Jogger, the Duster is the same length as before though is slightly lower to reduce drag through the air. The headlights are set lower and appear wider due to a Y-shaped lighting signature that extends from the new brand identity across the grille.

A more pronounced front bumper design includes contrasting skid plates made from plastic with the colour impregnated during construction, making scuffs and scrapes less apparent. Furthermore, Dacia has increased the amount of recycled plastics used throughout the Duster.

Dacia Duster

A collaboration with LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, has resulted in a material that Dacia calls Starkle. It uses a 20 per cent blend of recycled plastics and has a mottled appearance due to its construction. Dacia embraces this instead of covering up. The Starkle material features around the wheel arches and sills and on the front wings where they meets the doors.

Chunky interior detailing, too

That chunky look of the exterior carries through to the cabin with details that include the Duster name stamped into a panel on the passenger side of the dashboard fascia. There’s an upswing in both the appearance and the quality of the materials used throughout.

Staying true to its core values, Dacia will continue to offer the Duster with a basic interior setup that allows owners to use their smartphone as the car’s infotainment system by clipping it into a dash-mounted cradle. On higher-grade versions, the Duster features a 10.1in touchscreen angled by 10 degrees towards the driver for ease of use. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be available wirelessly to allow users to access their favourite apps.

Dacia Duster

Standard models will get a 3.5in screen beside analogue dials to show the onboard trip computer information, while higher-spec models gain a fully-customisable digital instrument display measuring 7in across the diagonal.

There’s a new range of accessories that fix onto various points throughout the car, too. The “YouClip” system has a unique hooking design that allows numerous items to be clipped on and off easily. These include LED lights, bag hooks, cupholders and even inductive phone chargers. There’s still plenty of storage space throughout the cabin and in the boot, which holds 472 litres.

No electric Duster, but there is a hybrid

There won’t be a fully electric version of the Duster for this generation of the SUV, as the technology is still too costly to fit in with the brand’s philosophy, but there will be a hybrid, the Duster Hybrid 140. It uses the same powertrain that appears in the seven-seat Dacia Jogger and comprises a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors with a sophisticated gearbox that does without a clutch. The maximum power output is 138bhp, and Dacia says it can spend as much as 80 per cent of city driving using only electric power.

A three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine will also be offered, with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech to enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions by a claimed 10 per cent. This version of the Duster will be available with the choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.

Dacia Duster

Dacia will also offer the Duster Eco-G 100, which uses a dual-fuel setup with petrol and LPG. A pair of 50-litre fuel tanks can provide an official driving range of more than 800 miles. The LPG tank is housed underneath the boot floor and does not impact the cargo volume available.

Off-road ready

The inclusion of a four-wheel-drive version could make the Duster a hit with those in rural areas who want an affordable, utilitarian vehicle that can cope with more challenging terrain. At 217mm, the Duster 4×4 has one of the highest ground clearances of its peers, and with approach and departure angles of 31 and 36 degrees, respectively, there’s less chance of scuffing the bumpers.

Dacia has added more drive modes to its 4×4 Duster, too, with an Auto function that distributes power between the front and rear axles when traction is lost. A Snow setting has specific stability control and anti-skid settings, while the Mud/Sand mode deals better with a shifting surface. The Off-Road setting is an evolution of the existing Duster 4×4’s Lock mode, optimising torque distribution to each axle. There’s also an Eco setting that adjusts torque distribution and air conditioning in a bid to save fuel.

Dacia Duster

Drivers can also view additional information by using the All Road Info system that displays lateral tilt, uphill and downhill pitch and, in the 4×4 version, power distribution between the front and rear axles.

There are due to be four trim levels for the Duster range, called Essential, Expression, Journey and Extreme. Pricing and specifications are expected closer to its first public debut, set to be at the Geneva motor show in early 2024. Cars are due to arrive in UK dealerships later in the spring.

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