“When faced with a blank sheet of paper, a designer might feel lost: it is limitations that stimulate creativity. That’s why a project that requires careful cost control, like this one, becomes an exciting challenge”, says David Durand, Dacia Design Director, commenting on the renewal of the brand’s icon, which will reach dealerships at the end of January.
“It’s not easy to work on such a popular car”, says Marc Suss, head of Renault’s Global Access programme, which takes in the Romanian company’s activities. “Those who choose it often pursue a lifestyle aimed at eliminating the superfluous. It is a decision that must also be respected at project stage”. It is not, therefore, a question of indiscriminately embellishing the product by drawing on the latest technologies, but of refining its content only where necessary: “On the new Duster, for example, there are no Led headlights”, Durand goes on,“because we considered them unnecessarily expensive. On the other hand, for the interiors, we took great account of the comments of customers, who are already very happy overall, by organising focus groups right from the start. That’s how we discovered, for example, that the navigator screen was too low. And vice versa, that our typical round ventilation intakes, which are economical to produce because they are made up of only two pieces, work very well”.
While the focus in the passenger compartment was on the quality of the plastics, storage compartments and general wellbeing (with improvements to, among other things, the soundproofing, seats and driver’s seat ergonomics), revisiting the bodywork required more expertise to provide an impression of maturity without betraying the simplicity of approach. “We started from the proportions”, continues Durand, “with important modifications to the front pillar and glazing, but without eliminating the elements typical of the previous Duster, such as the square wheel arches, the solid surfaces, some very geometric lines, the front and the headlights with full sheet surround. All elements that contribute to an air of sturdiness. To which can be added some new ribbing, such as that round the third side light”. On the whole, the desire to hold on to the feeling of the previous generation emerges clearly. Not by chance.