These are the first pictures of the Dacia Duster concept, an SUV crossover revealed at the Geneva motor show.
Designed to look like a four-wheel-drive sports coupe, the Duster is actually a far more versatile vehicle. A rear-hinged door on the passenger side provides access to the rear seats and increases functionality, but helps to maintain the car’s coupe-like look from the driver’s side.
The Duster’s modular seat design also allows the front passenger seat to slide under the driver to improve load space, and a recess in the floor has been specifically engineered to increases the room for taller objects such as bikes.
Its unusual proportions mean the 4.25m-long Duster is similar in length and height (1.49m) to a small estate car, but with the width (1.64m) of a city car.
The two-tone chocolate and blue cabin has been designed to complement the show car’s grey paint, and utilise the light provided by the full glass roof.
Power for Dacia’s first-ever concept car comes from a 1.5-litre diesel engine producing 103bhp and emitting 139g/km of CO2.
Dacia, however, is not about to make a bicycle-carrying coupe, says Dacia's global marketing man Vincent Carré, despite the appearance of the fastback Duster.
"We will only use some elements of this design, because they are not all low cost," he said.
They include the bold grille design and the reconfigurable seats – the front passenger seat can be stowed behind the driver’s, allowing the car to swallow a bicycle. These features could appear on a Dacia crossover in 2010.
The unfavourable pound-euro exchange rate has frozen plans to launch Dacia in the UK, but all models have been engineered for right-hand drive, says Carré, and will enable the brand to ‘move fast’ if conditions allow.
George Barrow/Richard Bremner
Geneva cars: news and images
Chery DR, Ferrari 599XX, Ford Iosis Max, Frazer Nash Namir, Hyundai ix-onic, Infiniti Essence, Kia No3, Lagonda Concept, Lamborghini Murcielago SV, Land Rover Freelander TD4_e, Mazda CX-7, Mini JCW Cabriolet, Mitsubishi iMIEV Sport Air, Nissan Qazana, Renault Megane RS, RUF Greenster, Skoda Fabia vRS, Skoda Yeti, Tata Nano Europa, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Polo