Codenamed Project RJI, the seven-seater Duster will undergo production later this year in Romania
A few months ago Renault subsidiary, Dacia revealed the upcoming Bigster Concept which should pave the way for a larger three-row Duster. Post this development, a digital render of the same also surfaced on the internet and imagined as Grand Duster. It seems that the upcoming SUV has come out of imagination and is taking steps towards reality.
Dacia is planning to develop a seven-seat version of the crossover going by the name Grand Duster alongside a facelift to the current-gen standard Duster. For reference, Duster in international is in its second generation while the Indian market still gets the first-gen model. In markets where Dacia is not present, Duster is sold under Renault branding – like in India.
Test mules of the regular and larger seven-seat Duster were recently spotted testing on the roads of Romania. Spotted at a parking lot in Mure County, the test mule was partially covered in camouflage.
The SUV is visibly longer than its five-seater sibling and if it goes by the Bigster Concept, it will measure around 4.6 metre long. Another subtle difference is the pair of taillights that are longer and vertically stacked.
The front face and silhouette are very similar to the second-gen Duster currently on sale in many international markets. Other notable highlights are aggressive front and rear bumpers with a larger bash plate on each of them, 18-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, silver-coloured wing mirrors and functional roof rails. More importantly, it will be built on the same CMF-B platform as the second-gen Duster.
Interior Layout & Expected Powertrain
There isn’t going to be much of a difference to the regular five-seat Duster as far as interior layout is concerned just the fact that three rows of seating will be available. A seven-seat configuration should be offered as standard while higher trims could also offer a six-seat layout with the middle row offering two captain chairs. We can expect the same set of features to be offered in Grand Duster.
Across markets, Duster is offered with a variety of powertrain options, depending on the logo it is wearing (whether Duster or Renault). Of all the options, the 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine option currently on offer in India as well looks the most suitable candidate to propel the seven-seater Grand Duster. This motor churns out 154 bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque and can be paired to either a 6-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.
Expected Global & India Launch
Internally codenamed RJI, the seven-seater Grand Duster is likely to undergo production at Dacia’s manufacturing facility in Pitesti, Romania starting October 2021. Whereas it is expected to hit markets at the end of this year or early next year.
As far as launch in India is concerned, there has been no official update. But considering the success Renault has been meeting with their UVs in India, it is likely that they launch the 7 seater Duster in India sooner than later. Once launched in India, the 2022 Renault Grand Duster will be a direct rival to the likes of Tata Safari and Hyundai Alcazar.