By on March 1, 2016

2016 Dacia Duster Essential front 3/4, Image: Renault

Romanian automaker Dacia is crafting limited-edition versions of its most popular models and wants its online fans to name them.

To mark the initiative, Dacia brought its first such model — the Swiss market-bound Duster Essential — to show off at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Creature comforts like power windows and doors, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and a new specialty body color (which even covers the bumpers!) are what sets these versions apart from their entry-level brethren. It also puts greater distance between the brand and its crude Eastern Bloc origins.

2016 Dacia Duster Essential rear 3/4

In a shout-out to its 3,000,000 Facebook fans  — a figure heavily touted by the clearly pleased-as-punch company — Dacia will solicit model name ideas from its online community in select countries.

The Renault-owned automaker has seen sales volume grow rapidly in recent years as European consumers snap up its “no frills” vehicles in the face of dodgy economic conditions. Having set a sales record last year, Dacia must be wanting to put some gloss on its offerings, now that they have become so well known.

The company chose Geneva to emphasize another convenience it’s inserting in its products — a five-speed automated transmission, which is now available in diesel models after being launched last fall.

Always one to keep an eye on costs, Dacia’s Easy-R automated manual transmission is designed to undercut the price of a conventional automatic while appealing to a growing number of Europeans who are “going American” and kicking the stick shift to the curb.

The Easy-R incorporates a crawl mode for stop-and-go traffic and a hill hold feature for making life easier when you’re navigating the Carpathians.

Who wouldn’t like that … on Facebook?

[Images: Renault Group]

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24 Comments on “GENEVA: Dacia Has New Models, Like Them on Facebook!...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    It’s easy to make fun of Dacia, but I know a lot of people who would be thrilled with a no-frills, reliable new car today.

    • 0 avatar
      Rhiadon

      I’m sure James May will be mighty chuffed

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      It’s based on Renault technology, so reliability should be pretty miserable.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        A Romanian car based on Renault engineering? C’mon, what could possibly go wrong there?

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Complete opposite, it is well liked in Western Europe as well. Renault is as reliable as Ford, both are less reliable than the Koreans/Japanese

      • 0 avatar
        ItsMeMartin

        Asdf, Sloomis, do you actually have any experience with Renaults? Since this site’s readership is heavily biased towards North America, I’d be surprised if you did. Even in the unlikely chance that you had a Le Car, Alliance or Medallion, I wouldn’t really base your opinion on modern Renaults on those.

        Renaults (and other French cars, too) are actually much better than they’re given credit for – that is, if you know which Renaults to choose. There are two rules:
        1) Avoid their newly-constructed diesel engines as they tend to have serious teething problems; buy them only after they have already been on the market for several years;
        2) As with all French cars, buy the least electronics-heavy version.
        If you do that, you might find them really durable and not in any way worse than other popular Euro-market models. I think their reputation for unreliability comes mostly from issues with electronics which stem from the typically French tendency to cram large amounts of unproven electronics into their cars as well as long-standing stereotypes. The mechanicals are generally rather robust (again, new Renault diesels notwithstanding). Sure, they don’t hold their value, but you can always work that to your advantage.
        As a matter of fact, I am about to work that to my advantage as I plan to buy a Renault tomorrow :)

        • 0 avatar
          Sloomis

          ItsMeMartin
          I learned to drive a stick shift on my father’s Alliance. It was an unbelievable piece of junk from the moment it left the dealer – constant major mechanical failures. Though you may be right, they might have improved since then, I still would have a hard time taking them seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’ve driven a Duster. It was not something that felt like I could trust it to be reliable. inside it felt cheaper than the worst of the Daimler-era Chryslers, the NVH and road noise were terrible, and if it actually had 100 horses underhood (from the Renault engine) then half of them had to have been dead.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        For many though, this will be the first vehicle that isn’t an old Lada or an ox cart – so it’s bound to be an improvement.

        *Shields self from gtem’s Lada love flames.*

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Lada is strong rugged old country car! Cheap and easy to fix, many parts!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            that’s a whole Lada nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            People LOVE their dusters in Russia. It’s funny to hear criticism of perceived reliability of the Duster, since Logans and such are pretty highly regarded when compared to anything Russian. I’m not up on the newest generation of Lada crossovers, but I did recently read a comparison test between a Duster and the old school Lada 4×4 M (nee Niva). This isn’t even the GM-codeveloped Lada Niva from the late 90s, this was the granddaddy that originated in 1977. As expected, the much more modern crossover whooped the Niva in any sort of on-road metric. Offroad, the Duster puts up a decent fight given its platform limitations but ultimately the Niva wiped the floor with it. Overall both cars were well liked, and it was nice to see old-school simple tech still reigning supreme when things really hit the fan.

            link to photos from the article:

            linkhttp://www.zr.ru/content/articles/576201-severnyj_probeg_na_rybalku_na_rybachij/

            linkhttp://www.zr.ru/content/articles/576201-severnyj_probeg_na_rybalku_na_rybachij/?page=2#gal576201-all:0

            Notice a shot there where they ran into an old Soviet era Moskvitch 412 moseying down the trail. This is a pretty common sight, pensioners and country folk making their way out for some fishing or mushroom picking on the weekends. Somebody forgot to tell them that they need computer controlled AWD and ‘tough’ plastic body cladding to go off the pavement.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Dacia will solicit model name ideas from its online community”

    I choose Vigo. The Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia.

  • avatar

    We’ll let them use that name, but only if they agree to negate the treaty of Trianon.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Great news!

    What?

    We have secured secret footage from inside the new Dacia factory!

    Great, anyway…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s nice they’ve fitted a bottle opener to the center of the steering wheel for you.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    Looks like a Pathfinder and a Rogue that…GOT…IT…ON.

    If you know what I mean.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      It might be the same design team.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      It’s just the old Nissan Rogue (now Select) with a new grille and some old Renault diesel. Actually, thinking about it, probably the old Qashqai which is a Rogue with 3 or 4 inches chopped out of the wheelbase.

      That old Rogue (pre 2015 model) was a real treat, not, to ride in. What a load of old rubbish. But cheap!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I highly doubt that, but would be curious to be proven wrong. The Duster is based on the Renault-Nissan “B” platform, which is what things like the Logan, Sandero, Nissan Cube, Nissan Note are all based around. The Rogue is probably more related to Nissan’s old Sentra/Altima bits, if I had to guess.

  • avatar
    Ko1

    “I choose Vigo. The Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia.”

    I’ll need a Sony Walkman, a NES Advantage joystick, some loudspeakers, a well known national monument and several hundred gallons of audio-reactive ectoplasm.


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