2011 Dacia Duster Review - Official photos, features, specs

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Dacia has launched its sixth model: Dacia Duster, a robust, spacious, easy-to-use and affordable off-roader.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia DusterCheck out more new 2011 Dacia Duster pictures in our 2011 Dacia Duster photo gallery

Today’s all-terrain vehicles are often synonymous with bulk, but Dacia Duster is an antidote to that idea. With a length of 4.31 metres and a width of 1.82 metres, Dacia Duster is very compact.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Its Megane-size proportions ensure that it is as at home in built-up areas as it is off the beaten track. While it clearly belongs to the world of all-terrain vehicles, Dacia Duster’s lines are not ostentatious.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster is unmistakably a 4x4. From the front, it exudes an impression of toughness: the wide wheelarches, the imposing lines of the chrome grille and the sump guard clearly emphasise the 4x4 DNA of Dacia Duster. Seen from the side, the high ground clearance, clearly defined wheelarches and protective mouldings encourage the driver to tackle even the toughest roads and tracks.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

With the Look Pack, owners of Dacia Duster can enhance the vehicle’s good looks. This pack includes 16inch aluminium alloy wheels, roof bars, extra-tinted rear glass, and satin-finish chrome exterior mirrors, front and rear skid plates, and sills. A comprehensive range of accessories (including wing extenders, broad side protectors for doors, lateral bars…) will complete this unique look.

Inside, the elevated driving position provides a better view of potential hazards and improves the driver’s ability to anticipate problems. The interior echoes the core values of the Dacia brand: the dashboard is modern, uncluttered and functional. Its design varies according to version, and several areas can be modified with different colours or surface finishes. Dacia Duster introduces a new Brown trim, while a Leather Pack (seats, steering wheel, gear lever knob) is also available. Particular attention has been paid to its ergonomics to ensure that the controls are conveniently positioned and that driving data is easy to read: the well-placed, intuitive 4x4 control button is a perfect example of this.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster was designed to cope with all types of road and track, all over the world. In order to meet these wide-ranging needs, Dacia Duster will be available in both 4x4 and 4x2 form. The 4x2 version has been designed for customers who want good ground clearance and a reassuring elevated driving position, as well as loose-surface ability, but who don't have a real need for all-wheel drive.

The strengthened underside of Dacia Duster is suitable for loose-surfaces and all-terrain use thanks to:
- ground clearance raised by 210mm,
- short overhangs (822mm at the front, 820mm at the rear),
- big clearance angles (30 degrees for approach angle; 23 degrees for ramp breakover angle
36 degrees for departure angle).

Dacia Duster is a vehicle that is easy to use. It is lightweight for its size: 1,160kg for the 4x2 version and 1,250kg for the 4x4 version1. Combined with compact dimensions, this ensures Dacia Duster is particularly agile.

Dacia Duster is built on the B0/Logan platform which is widely acclaimed for its strength, reliability and durability. At the front, the pseudo MacPherson-type suspension with wishbones is identical to the layout employed by Logan and Sandero, although strengthened for off-road use. At the rear, the 4x4 version's rear multi-arm arrangement was specifically developed for Dacia Duster, while the programmed-deflection flexible H-beam favoured for the 4x2 versions is strong and permits a large boot, which is a key consideration for Dacia customers. Both solutions deliver a comfortable ride and allow high ground clearance To confirm Dacia Duster's strength and reliability, Dacia Duster covered the equivalent of four million kilometres in a wide range of climates and in particularly punishing conditions.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster 4x4 is equipped with a new six-speed gearbox with a short first ratio (5.79kph per 1,000 rpm) which allows the vehicle to travel at very slow speed on uneven terrain, and improves performance as you pull away from standstill with heavy loads or on steep slopes. This simple, efficient and economical solution was favoured in order to meet the needs of Dacia Duster customers. The TL8 gearbox offers: -optimized output thanks to a single gearbox and module architecture which limits the number of gears engaged, and thanks to the use of a low-viscosity lubricant; -compactness: gearbox and gearshift module are positioned alongside each other with a view to freeing up cabin space and keeping interior roominess. -controlled mass: on the TL8 gearbox, the short first gear, instead of a transfer box, optimizes the number of gears engaged (and thus the mass) for a maximum level of performance;

1 average unladen weight in running order, all versions (without options and without driver).

-a solution to keep the cost down : the TL8 gearbox is derived from the TL4 gearbox which is a high production volume organ within the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The TL8 gearbox is manufactured at the Pitesti plant in Romania.

The 4x4 control located on the lower part of the centre console allows drivers of Dacia Duster 4x4 to easily adapt the vehicle’s configuration to their needs.

This control permits three modes: -In AUTO mode, the front/rear torque split is calculated automatically as a function of available grip. This mode has been developed to provide the best compromise between road holding and traction, no matter what the level of grip may be. In normal conditions, the torque is transmitted through the front wheels only. If traction is lost, or when grip is at a premium, some of the torque is transferred to the rear wheels. This split is performed by an electromagnetic torque converter supplied by Nissan. -In LOCK mode, the driver electronically locks the transmission in 4x4 mode. In this mode, throttle control and braking are also adapted for 4x4 use. This mode is recommended when grip is low (snow, mud, dirt, sand) and at low speed. -In 2WD mode, the transmission is locked into two-wheel drive. This mode is suited to driving on good roads and reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Duster, the sixth vehicle in the Dacia range, stay’s true to the philosophy and values of the brand. Dacia Duster offers unbeatable interior space for its price, as well as low running costs thanks to thrifty fuel consumption, low maintenance costs, high levels of safety and reliability in all conditions. Duster perfectly embodies the brand values of generosity and affordability which have forged Dacia’s reputation.

Unbeatable space for its price

Although Dacia Duster’s price is that of a city car, its exterior and interior dimensions are those of compact cars in the next segment up. Dacia Duster can comfortably seat up to five adults and offers both front and rear occupants the same amount of space as the Dacia Logan saloon. Dacia Duster's boot capacity – up to 475 cubic metres VDA (depending on version) – is also very competitive given the vehicle’s compact dimensions. With the rear benchseat folded, Dacia Duster offers an impressive carrying capacity of up to 1,636 cubic metres VDA (depending on version).

Reliable, economical, low-emission engines

Dacia Duster is available with a choice of three powerplants for both the 4x2 and 4x4 versions: one petrol engine (1.6 16V 105) and two diesel engines (dCi 85 and dCi 110). The strengths of these engines have already been demonstrated under the bonnet of many Renault group vehicles. These engines are a perfect fit for the criteria of cost, reliability and easy maintenance that are hallmarks of the Dacia brand.

Dacia Duster is available with a choice of two diesel powerplants – the dCi 85 (63kW) and the dCi 110 (80kW) – which have both been widely acclaimed for their enjoyable performance and thrifty fuel consumption.

-Dacia Duster dCi 85 (4x2 version) emits just 135g of CO2/km (equivalent to a combined cycle fuel consumption of 5.1 litres/100km) which qualifies it for the Dacia eco² signature. -Dacia Duster dCi 110, in 4x2 version, emits just 139g of CO2/km (equivalent to a combined cycle fuel consumption of 5.3 litres/100km) also qualifies for the Dacia eco² signature. Under the bonnet of 4x4 versions of Dacia Duster, the dCi 110 engine stands out as a particularly environmentally-respectful and economical package for an off-road vehicle, with CO2 emissions of 145g/km and fuel consumption of 5.6 litres/100km (combined cycle). The dCi 110 engine is Euro V-compliant and comes with a particulate filter.

The dCi 110 diesel engine delivers peak power of 80kW (109hp) at 4,000rpm and features second-generation common-rail direct fuel injection which only pressurizes the exact amount of fuel actually required, the benefit to the owner being enhanced efficiency and consequently lower fuel consumption. The Dacia Duster is also available with the 1.6 16V 105 petrol engine: -Dacia Duster 1.6 16V 105 delivers a maximum power output of 77kW (105hp) at 5,750rpm, while peak torque stands at 148Nm (at 3,750rpm). The combined cycle fuel consumption of the 4x2 version of Dacia Duster 1.6 16V 105 is 7.5 litres/100km. The same figure for the 4x4 version of Dacia Duster with the 1.6 16V 105 engine (Euro V-compliant) is 8 litres/100km.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Economical to buy and run

Servicing and maintenance costs are particularly competitive on Dacia Duster thanks to extended service intervals for oil changes, and brake pad and tyre replacements. The useful life of the air filters has gone to 90,000km/four years for petrol versions, while that for diesel it has gone to 60,000km. The servicing intervals the dCi 110 diesel engine are every 30,000km/two years OCS in the majority of its commercialization countries. The OCS (Oil Control System), newly introduced in the Dacia range, warns the driver, by means of an oil-change warning light, should the next service need to be brought forward, depending on the way the vehicle is used. Oil change on the 1.6 16V 105 petrol engine is every 30,000km/two years in the majority of its commercialization countries.

Safety, an essential priority

Dacia Duster benefits from Renault’s acclaimed expertise in the area of safety. -On the active safety front, Dacia Duster features Bosch 8.1 ABS, as well as EBV electronic brakeforce distribution and EBA emergency brake assist. Dacia Duster is the brand’s first vehicle to feature ESC as an option on certain versions, as well as CSV understeer control and ASR traction control. This option also allows torque to be transferred away from a spinning wheel in 4x4 mode to improve traction when diagonal wheel spin occurs. -On the passive safety front, Dacia Duster is fitted, as standard, with two front airbags (depending on market) and three-point seat belts with load limiters for the front seats, to which pyrotechnic pretensioners can be added. Depending on the version, two lateral head/thorax airbags are fitted in addition to the driver and passenger front airbags.

Photo: 2011 Dacia DusterPhoto: 2011 Dacia Duster

Dacia fundamentals: reliability and strength

Like all the vehicles based on the B0/Logan platform, Duster has been engineered to deliver the Dacia brand's hallmark strength and reliability.
- wax-injected underbody and opening panel hollow sections,
- mastic sealing of exterior joints,
- additional wax treatment of underbody mechanical components,
- stone chip protection for underbody, sills and wheel arches.

The 4x4 running gear uses tried and tested components, sourced from the Alliance (Nissan rear axle and coupling, new six-speed TL8 gearbox derived from the TL4 gearbox that has been well-proven in the Renault and Nissan ranges).

In order to underline its high build quality, Dacia Duster is backed up by a three-year or 100,000km warranty in the majority of its European markets.

Duster is a vehicle with global ambitions, both in terms of its markets and production. Dacia Duster is being rolled out progressively in different global regions in the same way as Logan and Sandero.

Since April 2010, Duster has been launched with Dacia badging in Europe, Turkey and the Maghreb region (Algeria, Morocco.) It completes the Dacia range, which is enjoying growth in the majority of these markets. Apart from the three vehicles aimed at the private sector – namely Logan, Logan MCV and Sandero – Dacia has also staked its claim in the light-commercial sector with Logan van and Logan pickup.

From June 2010, Duster – badged as a Renault – will also be available in Ukraine, the Middle East (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt) and other African countries.

The Pitesti factory (Romania) supplies all these markets, whether Dacia-or Renault-badged. The Romanian plant has an annual production capacity of 350,000 vehicles and will continue to produce the brand’s other models.

In 2011, Renault Duster will be launched in Brazil, Russia and the Gulf states. It will be built alongside Logan, Sandero and Sandero Stepway in Curitiba, Brazil, for distribution in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile. Duster will later be manufactured at the Avtoframos plant in Moscow, Russia and at the Sofasa plant in Envigado (Colombia). It will be distributed in the Gulf States, supplied from the Pitesti factory.

A, global project to meet an unsatisfied demand

The Duster project began with a simple premise: there is a genuine need around the world for a comfortable, robust and affordable 4x4. However, this demand is not currently being met. Aware of this, Dacia developed an all-terrain vehicle aimed primarily at emerging markets. The needs of European customers were also taken into account from the start of the project.

-In emerging markets (Russia, Brazil, etc.), the middle classes aspire to own a modern car that reflects their social status. At the same time, they want a strong car which is both reliable and versatile, capable of withstanding extreme climatic demands and conditions that can be tough and varied (long distances, mountainous terrain, rough tracks, urban driving, often within large conurbations, etc.). The current offer is largely dominated by imported SUVs, which are frequently beyond the means of these middle classes. -In Europe, the success of Dacia has demonstrated that a market exists for modern, reliable and affordable cars. While the existing range of 4x4s and SUVs is very large, it neglects the market for functional and affordable all-terrain vehicles, favouring instead showy SUVs, which are expensive and often poorly adapted to all-terrain use.

Collaborative design between France and Romania

The Duster project marks another milestone in collaborative engineering between Renault Technologie Romania (RTR) and Le Losange (new name of Renault’s Technocentre site near Versailles) in France. The design process began at Le Losange, but Renault Technologie Romania engineering resources were devoted to the Duster project from the beginning. Le Losange and Renault Technologie Romania collaborated closely to make the vehicle production-ready. From the stage of the second fleet of prototypes (roughly one year before the launch of Duster), the nerve centre of the project moved to Romania to be closer to the factory. Vehicle design was conducted at Le Losange, in cooperation with Renault Design Central Europe (RDCE, the satellite design facility in Bucharest).

Photo: 2011 Dacia Duster -Photo: 2011 Dacia Duster -

Manufactured at the primary factory in Romania

Duster arrived at the Pitesti factory in April 2009. This process was facilitated by a new production line for prototypes which is managed directly by Renault Technologie Romania. This production line is located within the factory, making it easier to train the assembly staff. Duster necessitated several modifications to the production lines in Pitesti: a new body shop was built specifically for this model; the assembly line was modified for the new powertrains and 4x4 transmission, while revisions were made to the supply logistics and storage of raw materials in the metal stamping process, in line with the overall factory management scheme. In all, six different body styles are now produced on the same assembly line.

In total, €290 million was invested in the development of Duster, and its production at Pitesti. This includes the cost of the new TL8 gearbox (manual, six-speed) and the new engines. Of this total, just under €70 million was invested in the production facility. A good level of carry-over reduced the overall level of investment: in total, just over 50 per cent of components come from other vehicles in the Dacia and Renault ranges (engine and gearbox, for example). The maximum production capacity at Pitesti is 25 Duster vehicles per hour. In time, Duster could account for over one third of total production at Pitesti.

Check out more new 2011 Dacia Duster pictures in our 2011 Dacia Duster photo gallery:

New 2011 Dacia Duster specifications, review, photos and images courtesy of Dacia.

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