Renault-owned, Romanian budget marque Dacia has proved a big hit in Europe with its range of value-for-money family models. Dacia has been transformed under the Renault banner to the point that it has sold 1.25 million vehicles in the past five years, thanks to a cocktail of price, space and equipment.
The Dacia Duster is the cheapest SUV with seven seats on the market and will be sold under a range of brands including Renault, Logan and Sandero depending on the country of sale, and goes on sale in Europe following the Geneva Motor Show. Like all Dacias, value for money is key, with the Duster offering plenty of space and equipment for the money - at over 4300mm long and with a boot capacity ranging from 474 to 1636 litres, it's a similar size to a Toyota RAV4.
According to World Records Academy, the mid-sized Dacia Duster 4×4 (measuring in at 4.31m long x 1.82m wide) has been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and will be available in 4×2 (for or 10,500 Euros, tax included) and 4×4 specification (for 13,900 Euros) - setting the new world record for the Most affordable SUV.
Dacia Duster is available with a choice of engines that include one petrol (1.6-litre / 82kW) and two diesel units (1.6-litre / 63kW & 1.6-litre / 82kW). The diesel versions emit from 135g of CO2/km (for the 4×2 version) and from 145g of CO2/km in the case of the 4×4 version. Available in 4×2 and 4×4 specification, the light-weight Duster weighs in at 1,160kg and 1,250kg respectively; the Duster is based on a platform sourced from the Logan family and uses a wishbone (front) / multi-arm (rear) suspension arrangement.
Inside, the five-seat cabin is modern, uncluttered and functional, and offers several areas that can be modified with different colors and surface finishes. Particular attention has been paid to cabin ergonomics to ensure that the controls are conveniently positioned and that driving data is easy to read.
Active safety features include ABS, EBA, EBA, ESC (an option on some versions), CSV understeer control and Traction Control, while on the passive front, dual front airbags and three-point inertia reel seatbelts are standard. Depending on the variant, and country sold, side and curtain airbags are also available.
There will be four versions of Duster: Standard, Ambiance, Laureate, Prestige, and several optional packs. The first customer to receive the new Dacia Duster 4×4 is the Romanian President, a very active promoter of another Dacia brand - the Logan model which he use frequently and drive by himself. Alan Prost, the French champion in Formula 1, who piloted a competitive vehicle Dacia Duster in 'Andros Trophy 2010', was the one who launched officially the new SUV in Romania, on March 18, 2010.