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Dacia shows off new production Duster 4x4

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Filed under: Budget, SUV, Geneva Motor Show, Europe, Renault, Diesel, Off-Road

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Dacia Duster - click above for high-res image gallery

You know what the problem with Autoblog is? Not enough Romanian cars! To rectify this hateful situation, we present to you the all-new Dacia Duster, a compact SUV that "rewrites the 4x4 rulebook." What that means is that in Europe, most SUVs are in fact soft roaders. Totally useless in the rough stuff despite their fancy all-wheel drive systems and too expensive for the majority of the people to purchase. The Duster, on the other hand, is going to cost little (hey, it's a Dacia!) yet be quite capable when the going gets rocky, muddy and/or roadless.

We've seen a tricked out, snow-racing version of the Dacia Duster before, but that's not the borscht and potatoes of the new Duster, so to speak. Designed primarily with emerging markets in mind (Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Maghreb), the Duster will also be badged as a Renault and sold in continental Europe. Never forget that it was Renault who helped Dacia to get off the ground in the mid-Sixties by handing over the tooling to the Renault 8, which reemerged as the Dacia 1100 (and the totally awesome 1100S).

Despite its cute-ute looks, Dacia is claiming that the Duster is the real, all-terrain deal. The stats seem to back that up: eight inches of ground clearance combined with 30 degree approach and 35 degree departure angles reminds us of ye olde Jeep Cherokee (hey, the old AMC-developed Cherokee had a lot of French in it). While missing the Cherokee's low gears, the Duster gets a three-stage transmission featuring an auto torque-split mode, lock and two wheel-drive. The tranny tech is actually sourced from Nissan (also owed by Renault) and it figures to work really well. in fact, there is some speculation that the Duster is based off Nissan's Qashqai. Also helpful is that the Duster weighs just 2,816 pounds in 4x4 guise (2,596 pounds as a 4x2). Then you factor in a torquey diesel power plant (105 horsepower, 266 pound-feet of torque) and you've got yourself quite an impressive bad road beasty.

Chances of us getting it here? Slimmer than none. First of all, whomever it is that still owns to rights to the Plymouth brand (Chrysler, Fiat, Daimler, the UAW, Obama?) would have nothing but dollar signs in their eyes if a Duster showed up. Then, of course, there's the undeniable fact that car makers have a sick aversion to giving us cheap, simple, rugged utilitarian diesel trucks. However, you're more than free to purchase an X5 xDrive35d from BMW, and soon you'll be able to buy a reworked Infiniti QX56 that halfway resembles a FX. Good stuff, right? We'll be getting a glimpse of the Duster up close and in the flesh come Geneva, but that'll be fleeting. Press release can be found after the jump.


Gallery: Dacia Duster 4x4

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[source: Dacia]

Continue reading Dacia shows off new production Duster 4x4

Dacia shows off new production Duster 4x4 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Dec 2009 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Great description--"bad road beasty".

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That looks like a great light off-roader. The Duster has a very good weight to torque ratio. Although the Dacia Sandero is the true essence of motoring.

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Although the Dacia Sandero is the true essence of motoring.

"True essence of motoring?" What? Who are you trying to be? Jezza?

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Wow, this thing is pretty brutal. Looks like a melted MKX.

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That's May you're thinking of.

For some reason I was hearing Clarkson saying it ... :unsure:

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I can't remember who said it, they were all being sarcastic about that car quite a lot in that episode.

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I can't remember who said it, they were all being sarcastic about that car quite a lot in that episode.

That was actually for all of season 11, the first episode of season 12. It usually starts with "Great News!" usually by May.

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