New 2018 Dacia Duster is getting ready to hit showrooms, here is all you need to know about the budget SUV.
The covers have well and truly come off the new 2018 Dacia Duster SUV. It received its full debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, where the renewed budget SUV’s fresh styling, new technology and updated interior were exhibited to the public.
Due to hit showrooms in 2018, the refreshed SUV represents a step forward in the Duster’s lifecycle. It will feature modified versions of the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines in the current Duster, and will also share the same platform as the current car, making it almost identical in terms of dimensions. However, the marque’s design boss, Laurens van der Acker, says every body panel is new.
As part of the the overhaul, the newest car has reprofiled side panels, along with a wider wheel base to ensure the wheels fill the arches better. Also, on a more practical note, the windscreen has ventured forward 100mm to increase space. The bonnet and belt-line have been raised up, giving a secure feel for occupants, and the tail-lights have been pushed out to each corner.
More subtle changes include the addition of LED running lights, which are now standard fit, roof bars with aluminium accents, and 17 inch alloys available for those who spring for the top of the range models. Van den Acker says the familiarity of the new car helps “create a strong family look”.
Dacia is keeping the finer details about the cabin covered up for now, but we know that soft-touch materials will appear in the Duster for the first time. We’d expect an upgrade to the car’s infotainment, potentially allowing users to tap into the processing power of their smartphones via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And there should also be improvements in switchgear, to banish the Duster’s bargain-basement feel.
In the cabin, the interior has been overhauled extensively with a brand new dashboard layout, new materials and new technology. The new dashboard makes use of cleaner surfaces and repositioned air vents, alongside fresh instruments and a new steering wheel. The centre console is ergonomically angled towards the driver, with the infotainment system positioned higher up. On top spec models, digital switchgear for the climate control appears, and Dacia claims that ‘careful attention’ has been paid to the materials on show.
Elsewhere inside, Dacia has introduced new seats, and the interior stowage spaces have been revised to inject additional practicality.
In terms of tech, six new headline features will be available on high-end models. A multi-view camera system can now be linked to the colour infotainment screen, alongside blind spot monitoring, automatic air conditioning, automatic headlights, curtain airbags and the introduction of keyless entry and start with a hands-free key card plucked from sister brand Renault.
Dacia bosses expect the new model to retain a three-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating. However, an optional safety pack will be made available, bringing autonomous braking and other active tech. This is likely to add another star to its score.
The new Duster will initially be launched in France early next year, with UK deliveries scheduled from summer 2018. Both two-wheel-drive and selectable four-wheel-drive versions will feature in the line-up.
But boss quashes seven-seater talk
The facelifted Dacia Duster will be available with only five seats, according to commercial director François Mariotte.
There had been speculation that the Renault-owned Romanian budget brand would offer a seven-seat Grand Duster to undercut the likes of Skoda’s new Kodiaq. But in an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Mariotte said the Duster would not be stretched.
“The priority when renewing the Duster is to keep all the strengths of the actual model,” he told editor Graham Hope. “One part is the chassis or the platform. When you want to transform a five-seater to a seven-seater, there is no way; you will lose the car’s compactness and 4×4 capabilities.
“I know there is a lot of noise going around about a seven-seat Duster. But it’s not on the plan. You can forget it,” he insisted.