Dacia has lifted the wraps on a new, significantly modernised Duster – the first production model in the company’s journey towards realising its ambition of being seen in the same light as the likes of Jeep and Land Rover. Based on the CMF-B platform shared by Renault and Nissan, the vehicle promises to be more rugged and, in 4×4 form, better off-road than before, while also adding new hybrid powertrains to its offering.

As before, all-wheel drive will only be available with part of the engine line-up. This will include the TCe 130 mild-hybrid petrol model, in which a 6-speed manual box will be available with a choice of 4×4 and 4×4 models. The rest of the range will include full hybrid and bi-fuel LPG options, however diesel will no longer be in the mix.

The promise of enhanced off-road capabilities comes from from a range of updates over the previous Duster. These include a smart virtual centre diff lock, which distributes torque to the front and rear wheels according to grip and speed, and separate drive modes for mud, sand and snow.

Dacia quotes ground clearance of 217mm and approach, departure and breakover angles of 31°, 36° and 24°. Downhill speed control also becomes standard on 4×4 models, as do heavy-duty body cladding and skid plates.

The Duster will be available in four grades, including a new Extreme spec with features like roof bars, rubber mats and washable seat fabrics. You’ll be able to get a roof rack to mount on said bars, too, as well as a Sleep Pack for turning the vehicle into a basic camper.

The new Duster is expected to go on sale in the spring, with deliveries starting a few months later. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but they won’t be dramatically higher than for the outgoing model.

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