Dacia has taken the covers off the third-generation Duster, which will be badged as a Renault in South Africa, showing a rugged redesign of the popular crossover and an overhaul of its spec sheet and powertrains.
Now boasting hybrid propulsion and a raft of innovative enhancements inside the cabin, the Duster is expected to reach South Africa in late 2024, possibly 2025, following its sales launch in Europe early next year.
The design of the new Duster takes several cues from the Dacia Bigster, a larger crossover with the same robust ethos which is only scheduled to go on sale in 2025.
The new exterior and interior are consequently more angular than before and incorporate several Y-shaped signatures, which can be seen in the head and tail lamps, alloy wheels, aircon vents, and door panels.
Additionally, the updated Dacia wears a new grille, restyled front and rear skid plates, as well as an ” extra-heavy-duty shield” that wraps around the lower side of the body to protect the paint from bumps and scratches.
These plastic parts are made from an all-new material crafted by Dacia called Starkle, which consists of 20% reused polypropylene and is entirely paint-free and therefore friendlier to the environment.
Built on the company’s CMF-B platform, the new Duster provides more space for passengers and luggage (472 litres) than the model it is replacing while only being fractionally larger, and the more advanced foundation also reduces road noise and vibration, according to the manufacturer.
Ground clearance has been upped from 210mm to 217mm, and the approach and departure angles now come in at 31 and 36 degrees, respectively, for the 4×4 models.
Under the bonnet, the European Duster now has the option of three drivelines including one bi-fuel unit and two hybrids.
The bi-fuel motor generates 74kW and can run on both petrol and LP gas, and if both 50-litre tanks are filled to the brim, it boasts a range of 1,300km.
The mid-range configuration consists of a 1.2-litre, turbo-petrol engine and six-speed manual transmission working in conjunction with a 48V mild-hybrid system that aids in acceleration and fuel usage.
It produces around 96kW and features regenerative braking that charges the 0.9kWh battery, and it is also the only version available in 4×4.
The flagship power setup incorporates a 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors powered by a 1.2kWh battery for an overall output of 103kW. This makes it possible to drive in all-electric mode up to 80% of the time in cities, which reduces consumption by anywhere from 20% to 40%.
It’s worth mentioning the Duster is currently only available as a diesel in South Africa as the petrol engine was discontinued a good few years ago, so it remains to be seen whether any of the above plants will come to our roads or if we will continue getting the oil-burning mills.
In terms of equipment levels, the European market gets four options comprising the base Duster Essential, the Expression, the Extreme, and the Journey.
Highlights on the Essential include fixed roof bars, cruise control with a speed limiter, six airbags, and rear parking sensors; while the Expression continues with a reversing camera and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Extreme sports modular roof bars, auto high-beam LED headlights, climate control, keyless entry and start, Copper Brown decorative finishes, washable TEP MicroCloud upholstery, and 20% recycled rubber mats in the front, rear, and boot.
The top-spec Journey then comes with all of the above including unique 18-inch alloys, fog lights, a wireless phone charger, and an electric parking brake.
While still simplistic in nature, the cabin of the next-gen Duster has been thoroughly digitised and now incorporates a new 7-inch digital instrument cluster for the Expression and up, and a 3.5-inch multi-info driver’s display next to analogue dials for the introductory specification.
A 10.1-inch central infotainment display is also fitted from the Expression onwards, which offers four speakers, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and firmware-over-the-air updates; and in the Extreme and Journey, also a navigation system providing real-time traffic updates, a six-speaker Arkamys 3D stereo, and four USB-C ports.
The Duster Extreme and Journey have an all-new “YouClip” system, too, which is designed to hold several accessories in specific areas around the passenger compartment.
The models with the 10.1-inch central screen also get downhill speed control and an All Road Info programme that displays lateral tilt and uphill and downhill pitch during off-road driving sessions.
The 4×4 versions take it a step further with a display for power distribution to the front and rear axles, in addition to a new Terrain Control system with Auto, Snow, Mud/Sand, Off-Road, and Eco drive settings.
More information regarding the new Duster, such as its South African pricing, line-up, and features, will be announced closer to its launch date.
2024 Dacia Duster
Keyword: Next-generation Renault Duster revealed – Rugged redesign, hybrid engines, and new equipment