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2024 Dacia Duster

The most significant model produced by the Romanian carmaker, the Dacia Duster, is now in its third generation and is designed to improve upon the features that first brought it to fame. In order to make up for the extinction of the diesel engine, the sub-compact SUV now has a more robust appearance than its predecessor, employs stronger and more environmentally friendly materials, has a roomier cabin, and is now available with electric powertrains. Despite these substantial enhancements, Dacia calls the Duster a "bargain" and claims to be offering it at the lowest pricing in its class.

The 2024 Dacia Duster, which resembles a scaled-down version of the Bigster concept, has a brand-new design language from the manufacturer. Ample amounts of Starkle (20% recycled polypropylene) plastic cladding adorn the contoured bodywork, and the prominent fenders, boxy wheel arches, and large skid plates complete the off-roader aspect. Moreover, one of Lamborghini's and Dacia's distinguishing features—Y-shaped LEDs—is incorporated into the sleeker and more contemporary lighting units.

The B-segment SUV is 14 cm (5.5 inches) longer than the previous version, with dimensions of 4.34 m (170.9 inches) length, 1.81 m (71.3 inches) wide, and 1.66 m (65.4 inches) height.

The 2018 Duster's interior incorporates a 10.1-inch touchscreen display, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, and a digital cockpit. Except the entry-level "Essential," all trims include these amenities as standard. Another notable innovation is the Dacia YouClip attachment system, which has up to five grips dispersed throughout the vehicle. Smartphones, tablets, cupholders, storage bags, and other items may all be held in these grips.

In addition to its enhanced functionality, Dacia states that the new model has wider front cabin space and 30 mm (1.2 inches) more back legroom. The boot's 472 lt (16.7 cubic feet) capacity is 6% more than the previous Duster's, and it features a lower floor and a larger opening.

The variety of accessories available in Dacia's InNature line highlights the Duster's adventurous nature. The standout feature is the camping-friendly Sleep Pack, which debuted on the Jogger crossover vehicle and includes a detachable 3-1 box for storage and a fold-out double bed.

The CMF-B architecture, which now supports a wide range of vehicles from other Renault Group brands in addition to Dacia's whole model lineup, powers the all-new Duster. The new chassis, compatible with gas and LPG bi-fuel options (diesel has been phased out) and mild-hybrid and hybrid powertrains, is expected to improve ride quality and comfort.

The Hybrid 140 is the most potent Duster variant, featuring a self-charging hybrid system generating 138 horsepower (103 kW / 140 PS). A normally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, a multi-mode transmission, and a 1.2 kWh battery make up the electrified powertrain shared with the Jogger.

Dacia provides the Duster TCe 130, a less complex option with a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline engine with a 48 V mild hybrid motor and a smaller 0.9 kWh battery. With its 128 horsepower (96 kW / 130 PS) mild hybrid engine, the Duster is said to have 10% less emissions and fuel consumption than a non-electrified engine with the same performance. Power may be sent to either or all four wheels via the six-speed manual gearbox that is specifically linked to the engine, which Renault provides.

With a class-leading ground clearance of 217 mm (8.5 inches) and five selectable driving modes (Auto, Snow, Mud / Sand, Off-Road, and Eco), the optional 4x4 version of the Duster puts it among the most off-road competent cars in the sub-compact SUV (B-SUV) market.

Last, a 1.0-liter turbocharged TCe 100 Bi-Fuel engine that runs on gasoline and LPG is available for the entry-level Duster. When the 50 lt (13.2 gallons) gasoline and LPG tanks are full, the SUV can go up to 1,300 km (808 miles) between refuelling stops. The load capacity is unaffected by the LPG tank because it is situated beneath the boot floor (albeit we believe it occupies the area meant for the spare tire).

Even though Dacia is affordable, it notes that about 70% of its buyers choose higher-end models. With just four model levels, the 2017 Duster's selection is designed to appeal to many buyers. The base model in the range, the "Essential," has six airbags, fixed roof bars, and rear parking sensors as standard. It also sets the beginning price. The 'Expression' trim level includes a reversing camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, a computerised cockpit, and other features.

The more luxurious Journey has 18-inch wheels, a 6-speaker Arkamys 3D Sound System, automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, fog lights, and Media Nav Line infotainment. The flagship Extreme has electronic mirrors, rubber matting, washable TEP MicroCloud upholstery, flexible roof bars, and Copper Brown accents. It also has the YouClip 3-in-1 system.

Although Dacia has always prioritised cost-cutting more than advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the new Duster now needs to comply with legal regulations. Consequently, it provides several safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, automated headlights, emergency phoning, speeding alert, rear parking assistance, emergency stop signal, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, and recognition of traffic signs.

TopGear Magazine February 2024