A veritable cash cow for Renault, the Duster represents Dacia’s core model and at the same its oldest considering it has been around for about seven years. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait much longer for its successor as the second generation is expected to debut in the second half of the year. Seen here are most likely near-production prototypes carrying a lot of the final bits and bobs, including the body panels.
Despite the extensive amount of camouflage, we can already observe the 2018 Duster will adopt an evolutionary design and will have roughly the same proportions as the outgoing model. For those in need of something bigger, the rumor mill indicates there’s going to be a Grand Duster (name not confirmed) with an extended wheelbase to enable a seven-seat interior cabin. This, however, is the regular five-seat model.
Some of the design traits have changed, such as the more rectangular headlights and the slightly modified rear door cutouts. My biggest issue with the current design of the Duster is the size of the taillights — they’re simply too small for the SUV’s rear end. It seems the new one will have more of the same layout, with small vertical clusters joined by tiny bulges on the trunk lid.
The generous ground clearance is still here, as are the rear drum brakes indicating the new Duster will likely use an evolution of the current platform rather than making the switch to Renault-Nissan’s CMF architecture. Details about the engines are not available at this point, but the two prototypes were powered by turbocharged units considering in both cases you can see the intercooler behind the lower, possibly bigger grille.
One of the two test vehicle had those shiny trinkets on the upper grille, suggesting that might have been an upper-spec version. While images providing a clear view of the interior are not available, in some of the adjacent pics we can catch a glimpse of cabin featuring three circular air vents in the middle of the dashboard whereas the current Duster only has two and these are positioned a tad lower on the dash. Here’s hoping the touchscreen for the infotainment system will sit right below those vents because on the existing model the display is positioned dangerously low.
Dacia is expected to unveil the second-gen Duster at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with the seven-seat derivative to land in 2018.