Rear lights are now sited further apart and roof rails are new
The new Dacia Duster has been revealed in full at the Frankfurt motor show. While the already revealed exterior of the SUV is an evolutionary design - which Laurens van den Acker, Groupe Renault's senior vice president, corporate design, said was down to its sales success, the interior has been substantially upgraded.
The Duster’s cabin has been reworked by Dacia to give it a more upmarket feel, although while ensuring that the machine remains affordable and usable.
The dashboard has been redesigned, with the navigation system moved to the upper part of the dashboard. That system now includes an optional multi-view camera for the first time. Other new equipment options available on a Dacia for the first time include blind spot warning, automatic air conditioning and automatic headlights.
The latest Duster sits on the same platform as the old model and has identical overall dimensions, although the windscreen has been moved forward slightly to improve interior space.
The car now sports a broader front grille and wider headlights, and the rear lights have been moved to the corners. The square-wheel-arch style of the previous Duster has been retained with new roof bars added.
Renault-owned Dacia has sold more than a million Dusters since 2010 and year-on-year sales are continuing to rise. Van den Acker said that influenced the firm’s thinking about the new model’s design.
“The big revolution is that we’re not doing a revolution,” he said. “The Duster’s not at the end of its life. We still can’t make enough to satisfy demand. So why change a good thing? But if you get close, you’ll see that everything has been touched.”
Dacia design boss David Durand said ensuring the Duster retained an unpretentious feel, reflecting value for money, was vital.
“The original brief was a white page, so we could explore everything — even if we did go back to familiar themes,” said Durand.
“When we are designing a Dacia, we always think about the customer. For example, if we put too many decorative chrome parts on, he will sit in it and say: ‘This has no usage. Why am I paying for that?’”
Dacia has yet to show the Duster’s new interior, but Durand said: “The car is a strategic evolution on the outside, but it’s more revolutionary inside.”
Q&A: LAURENS VAN DEN ACKER, RENAULT DESIGN BOSS
Why didn’t you increase the size of the Duster?
“The Duster has a bit of a magical size. We felt there was more worth to be created for our customers by fixing the design ‘mistakes’. If we decide we’ll need a bigger car, we’ll do it with something else.”
Did having Dacia help shape a design direction for Renault?
“Dacia helped us to push Renault in a more emotional direction. Renault has become more Latin, more emotional. Renault’s history is a little more humble than where we’ve pushed the brand to now, and I’m sure if we didn’t have Dacia, a part of the company would be saying : ‘Captur is great, but we used to have affordable cars. We need that as well.’”
Can you explain Dacia’s success?
“Dacia is a brand that established itself and maybe those are the strongest brands. The customers took ownership of it, really. Sometimes, we joke the less we manage the Dacia brand, the better it goes. If we start thinking about it, we might mess it up!”