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Dacia dusts off debut concept

Action: Romania's Dacia gets active with the Duster crossover concept in Geneva.

Dacia Duster previews an SUV concept from Renault’s Romanian low-cost brand

10 Mar 2009

DACIA – the low-cost brand from Romania that Renault successfully resuscitated when it released the low-cost Logan family car in 2004 – unveiled its first concept car in the shape of the Duster Concept.

The crossover SUV is meant to evoke an action lifestyle association for the hitherto utilitarian brand (which, until recently, produced the 1968 Renault 12 range in Romania for mainly Eastern European consumption).

The Duster features flights of fancy such as bejewelled wrap-around headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels, a rear-hinged rear door, glass roof and futuristic cabin architecture.

The latter includes a front passenger seat that can slide sideways and under the driver’s seat to allow a mountain bike to be carried with ease.

Under the 1300kg Duster concept appears to be a variation of the Logan small car’s architecture. Length (4250mm), width (1640mm), height (1495mm) and wheelbase (2804mm) suggest the concept car would sit in the compact SUV class.

Power is provided by Renault’s tried and trusted 1.5-litre four-cylinder dCi turbo-diesel, producing 77kW of power and 240Nm of torque. With the aid of a six-speed manual gearbox, it is capable of hitting 100km/h from standstill in 9.6 seconds, achieve 5.3L/100km and emit just 139g/km of carbon dioxide.

A collaboration between Dacia’s Bucharest-based design centre and Renault’s gargantuan ‘Technocentre’ in Guyancourt, France, the concept car is an attempt to marry simplicity and desirability within the company’s limited costs and product constraints.

Dacia says the Duster is “a futuristic, image-building crossover that promotes the same values for which the brand has stood from the beginning”.

Dacia was founded in 1967, producing a number of Renaults such as the aforementioned 12 and rear-engined 8.

The Duster name is not new – it was brandished on an early military-style 4WD vehicle produced by Russian car-maker ARO in collaboration with Dacia for a decade or so from the early 1980s.

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