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Welcome to 1987.
Its a great concept, and a reasonable vehicle, but there are design errors, just look at that mesh area on the front bumper, it will allow saloon sized cars to penetrate beyond the bumper in a frontal accident, writing off and causing severe structural damage to both vehicles, that bumper should be solid all the way up the front, with scoops and ducts in the fascia and front scuttle to duct air down on the the radiator., its an easy design remedy. Also, £8995 is a great entry level price. I would very strongly recommend an Access Plus model priced at £9995 which includes aircon and a stereo. I'm not being woolly when I suggest that, I need aircon, mainly in winter to dehumidify the windscreen and side windows during icy weather or damp humid conditions, a heater alone simply fugs up the screens making the vehicle undriveable, I live in rural Derbyshire, which tends to get a lot of bad winter weather. I am a serious potential buyer for a Duster as well. An RDS stereo is a worthwhile edition. Which has proved its worth maybe a hundred times over to me for traffic accident reports.
With reference to my comments below. about the bumper design. I had a look at the German crash test video on Youtube. I noticed that in a frontal impact against a deformable aluminium barrier, that the latch on the front of the bonnet appeared to detatch, allowing the bonnet to no longer be a structural componant of the frontal strength,. This is quite easily remedied, by fitting 2 bonnet latches, at the front of the veicle, at the 1/4 and 3/4 width positions across the front slam panel, this along with 2 forward facing hooks on the top of the inner wings down each side of the car, wich slot into 2 cutouts in the bonnet down each side will ensure the front of the bonnet does not detatch in a frontal and deforms properly as an integrated structural member, increasing your cars crash score slightly. These are cheap ten quid fixes, which I have seen successfully used on the old Alfa 155 and Proton MPI saloon, seriously guys, theyre dead simple to install and only add a tenner to the cars cost and Ive seen the work in smashes as well.
This shouldn't be a bad product. Yes, the dash looks plasticky. Yes, the looks appear a little dubious. But I'm sure I've read that Dacia reliability isn't bad at all (ironic; given Renault's track record). I seriously think that the biggest obstacle for Dacia in getting established in the UK will be the appalling levels of customer 'service' that are so typically/routinely experienced at Renault dealerships. Pity.
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