The 2018 Renault Duster made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week and the model is a major leap over the outgoing version. The compact SUV has improved in its appearance with a more brawny profile, upmarket styling and premium interiors. While the new Duster looks splendid, a major speculation about the model has turned out to be false. Contrary to popular reports online, Renault-Dacia said that the new generation Duster won't be getting a seven seater version. Dacia - Commercial Director, Francois Mariotte was quoted by Auto Express saying, "I know there is a lot of noise going around about a seven-seat Duster. But it's not on the plan. You can forget it."
The move comes as Dacia wants to keep the compactness and off-road capabilities of the model intact. Extending the wheelbase for a third row won't allow the same flexibility.
"The priority when renewing the Duster is to keep all the strengths of the actual model. One part is the chassis or the platform. When you want to transform a five-seater to a seven-seater, there is no way; you will lose the car's compactness and 4x4 capabilities," he added further.
The news is certainly disappointing for those looking forward to a full-sized Renault Duster. Launched in 2010 globally, the current Duster turned out to be extremely successful for the carmaker. A strict give seater, thr additional row was expected to add more practicality to the compact SUV and help the carmaker undercut the likes of Skoda Kodiaq in the European market. In India too, the Duster has been extremely successful and the 7-seater version was expected to take on the Mahindra Scorpio, Tata Safari Storme, Honda BR-V and the likes.
Nevertheless, the second generation Renault Duster has seen major improvements over the current model. The compact SUV retains its existing platform, while Renault says the dimensions are identical as well. However, the French automaker has introduced a complete new styling including an all-new grille, signature LED DRLs, new front and rear bumper with scratch resistant skid plates, and new squared LED taillights. The beltline has been moved higher as well on the new Duster while th windscreen has been forward by 100 mm to create better space in the cabin. Lastly, there are new 17-inch alloy wheels that now fit more seamlessly in the arches.
Inside, the cabin is all-new and gets a complete makeover with a refreshed design, materials and features. The centre console is now tilted towards the driver and boasts of a touchscreen infotainment system and display for auto climate control. The dashboard gets a clutter-free appearance and new fabrics have been upholstered on the seats. With respect to new features, the Duster gets curtain airbags, multi-view camera system, keyless entry, blind spot monitoring and more.
Engine options will include the 1.5-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol for the European markets. When the new Renault Duster arrives in India sometime next year or in early 2019, expect the existing 1.5-litre diesel and 1.6-litre petrol to continue.