New Dacia Manifesto revealed
It might look wacky, but this concept car previews the new technology, features and design cues we’ll see on future Dacia models, including the new Duster and Bigster SUVs...
In politics, it’s commonplace for a political party to publish its policies, future plans and views in a manifesto. However, in the automotive industry things work rather differently, and in the case of Dacia it has published its future plans in the form of the aptly named Dacia Manifesto.
The Manifesto is an off-road buggy that displays Dacia’s new look as well as design cues and features we will see on upcoming models, including the next-generation Dacia Duster family SUV and the forthcoming Bigster seven-seat large SUV.
While Dacia will offer electric cars in the future, the company has confirmed that it won't be abandoning traditional petrol, diesel or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) power, or hybrids, any time soon. Indeed, the Manifesto concept car is described as being a 'multi-energy' vehicle, suggesting that, like some of the manufacturer's current models, it can run on multiple sources of fuel.
Electric cars are much more expensive to buy at the moment than combustion-engined equivalents, and Dacia's gradual transition to electrification will help it keep the cost of its car models as low as possible in the years ahead.
The Manifesto has a very rugged look with a single front spotlight, a raised ride height (for better off-road ability), metal skid guards and chunky airless (and puncture-proof) off-road wheels. It has no doors, windows or windscreen to help save weight. Dacia says its new production models will be as lightweight as possible to maximise efficiency.
The chunky off-road look of the Manifesto also outlines how Dacia plans to make its cars more rugged for outdoor pursuits. That includes the addition of a new optional feature on the Dacia Jogger MPV known as the ‘all-in-one box’ – a storage box that sits in the boot of the car and folds out into a bed for camping.
The body of the Manifesto concept is partially constructed using Dacia’s new ‘Starkle’ plastic, which is made up of 20% recycled plastic and is itself 100% recyclable. It will feature on all upcoming Dacia models, starting with the new Duster.
Inside, the Manifesto features the company’s new ‘YouClip’, which enables the driver (or their passenger) to clip their smartphone on to the dashboard in place of an infotainment screen, and run the Dacia Media Control app on it. The feature aims to simplify the interior controls on all of Dacia's future models.
The phone and car are connected using Bluetooth, and the driver can control features on the app (such as the volume) with the steering-wheel controls. Media and sat-nav apps such as Waze will be controllable using the app.
Dacia Media Control also includes a new safety feature that allows the driver’s phone to monitor drowsiness by using health data on your smartphone or smartwatch, or by monitoring the driver’s eyeline with the smartphone's camera.
In Dacia’s new models, the YouClip will be available on lower-spec cars, while higher trims will include a central infotainment screen instead. Physical buttons will continue to be offered for climate control and other functions.
Other new features inside the Manifesto concept car include removable seat coverings that double as sleeping bags and a cork dashboard, so you can pin notes to it. Those features are unlikely to feature on upcoming Dacia models, though.
So, with the car maker revealing some of its plans over the next few years, which new Dacia models are coming and when?
New Dacia Duster
On sale: 2024 | Price from: £20,000 (est)
While the technical details of the new Duster are yet to be confirmed, it’s likely to use hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology found in the current Renault Clio and Renault Captur rather than the next-generation models.
In hybrid form, the new Duster will feature a 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with a small battery and an electric motor, allowing the car to run on electric power at low speeds. In PHEV form, it will combine a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery (in the region of 10kWh) to give an electric-only range of approximately 30 miles. Front and four-wheel drive are likely to be available.
Design wise, the styling of the new Duster will be inspired by the Dacia Bigster concept, with a squared-off body shape, chunky Starkle plastic cladding, pronounced wheel arches and a front LED light bar. Inside, it will also debut the ‘YouClip’ smartphone app-based infotainment, plus Dacia’s own built-in infotainment system.
As already rolled out on Dacia’s current model range, the new Duster will feature Dacia’s new logo and branding. This includes a new grille and logo design, plus Dacia being spelt across the tailgate and on the steering wheel.
On sale: 2024 (est) | Price from: £15,000 (est)
Launched in Europe in 2021, the Dacia Spring is the company’s first electric car. It features an electric motor that makes 44bhp and 92lb ft, plus a 26.8kWh battery for an official range of 140 miles. That’s only marginally less than the Mini Electric (which can travel 145 miles officially).
At 3.73m long (0.35m shorter than the Dacia Sandero), the Spring is small, but there’s just enough room for four adults to sit relatively comfortably. The boot is 300 litres, which is only marginally less than the Renault Zoe boot (338 litres). Plus, there’s 23 litres of storage in the front.
While there’s no current timeline for the Spring’s arrival, Dacia has said it will aim to launch it in the UK in 2024.
On sale: 2025 | Price from: £30,000 (est)
The Dacia Bigster is an all-new model that will sit above the Duster in the company’s model range, making it the company’s new flagship. As a seven-seat SUV, the Bigster will be taking the fight to the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq in the large SUV class.
As with the new Duster, the new Bigster will feature engines from the Clio and Captur, meaning that a 1.6-litre hybrid and 1.5-litre PHEV will be offered.
It will have a similar look to the new Duster, but scaled up, with a squared-off body shape, chunky plastic cladding and pronounced wheel arches. Overall, the Bigster is expected to have a purposeful, rugged and chunky look, like the styling of the Manifesto concept.
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