Good news! The Dacia Duster’s South American cousin has arrived.
Having made its debut a couple of months ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the second-generation Duster is now ready to lose the Dacia badge (that sort of looks like a bottle opener) to make room for Renault’s diamond logo. It comes as no surprise the budget SUV for the South American market looks almost the same on the outside as its European counterpart, albeit the front grille has been discreetly modified and the plastic piece of trim on the tailgate where the handle is located is now silver instead of black.
It’s a slightly different story once you virtually hop inside the cabin as Renault has made some efforts to differentiate the models. Gone are the round air vents of the Dacia-badged version as these have been replaced with more rugged ones that have an octagonal shape and dare we say suit the Duster better. As the photo comparison below is showing, there are only two central vents inside the Renault whereas its Euro cousin has three.
In addition, the 2018 Renault Duster has a more upscale steering wheel and it looks like there are chrome accents on the outline of the dials belonging to the instrument cluster. Both models are sharing the infotainment system carried over from the first generation, but it’s a known fact a new one will be introduced at some point in 2018. It remains to be seen whether it will replace this setup altogether or it will be available as optional equipment.
Renault has plans to sell the Duster with the same engines as before, namely a naturally aspirated 115-hp 1.6-liter unit in both 4×2 and 4×4 versions with a choice between a manual and a CVT. Those in need of more power will have to upgrade to the 2.0-liter rated at 145 hp, while on the diesel side there will be front-wheel-drive-only dCi 85/90 engines and a dCi 110 with optional AWD. A dual-clutch automatic transmission is going to be available, but only for the front-wheel-drive dCi 110 model.
Let’s keep in mind that Renault has been selling for more than two years a pickup derivative of the Duster, called Oroch. It will likely make the transition towards the second generation sometime in 2018 and hopefully this time around it will also get the Dacia badge for Europe.