New Dacia Duster 4×4: The Modern Day Lada Niva

We don’t know if the Renault – Nissan Alliance’s new Dacia Duster 4×4 will be as capable as the Lada Niva when it comes to off-roading, but it appears that the Romanian firm is aiming to create a modern day successor to the Russian 4×4 with its latest model that was officially revealed today. In Renault’s own words, the Duster is “an economical to buy and run, tough, reliable and easy-to-use 4×4, aimed at motorists looking for an everyday car with real off-road ability.”
The company says that while the Duster’s price will be comparable to that of a city car (e.g. Ford Fiesta), its exterior and interior dimensions are more akin to those of a C-segment compact car (e.g. VW Golf VI) offering enough space for five passengers and their luggage.
Based on the B0/Logan platform, the Duster measures 4.31 meters in length and 1.82 meters in width meaning it’s about the same size as the recently facelifted Nissan Qashqai crossover.
According to Dacia, the Duster’s boot has a volume of up to 475 dm3, while with the rear benchseat folded and tipped forward, its carrying ability can exceed 1,600dm3.
The Duster will be offered with either a 1.6-liter petrol engine in 110hp and 85hp guises, or a 105hp dCi diesel powerplant, all available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
The 4×4 variants make use of Nissan’s all-wheel drive system which allows the driver to choose from three different driving modes – Auto, in which the front/rear torque split is calculated automatically as a function of available grip, Lock, whereby 50 per cent of torque is consistently fed through the rear axle, and 4×2 where the transmission is locked into two-wheel drive for maximum fuel efficiency.
Renault / Dacia (take your pick) says that the Duster is a genuine off-roader offering a strengthened undercarriage, a high ground clearance (more than 200mm) and big clearance angles (approach angle: 30 degrees; departure angle: 35+ degrees).
Furthermore, the Duster also boasts a low unladen weight at 1,180kg or 2,601 lbs in 4×2 form, and 1,280kg or 2,822 lbs in 4×4 form.
The company said that depending on the market, the compact sized model will come equipped with ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist, and front and side airbags.
Sales of the Dacia Duster will begin in Europe, Turkey and the Maghreb region (Algeria, Morocco) from Spring 2010.
From June 2010, the Duster will also be available in Ukraine, the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon) and in some African countries badged as a Renault, while in 2011, it will be sold in the Gulf States.
For these markets, the Duster will be produced at Renault’s Pitesti factory in Romania.
In 2011, Renault will begin production of the Duster at its Curitiba plant in Brazil for distribution in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile, while at a later date, the Duster will go on to be manufactured at the Avtoframos plant in Moscow, Russia.