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Dacia heads for VW Golf and Ford Focus territory with new C-Neo that’s definitely ‘not an SUV’

As big names vacate the traditional C-segment, Dacia sees an opportunity for its new petrol family car

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Dacia’s forthcoming pair of family-sized cars are indeed going to take the Romanian brand into a new area of the market by targeting non-SUV customers – as predicted by Auto Express.

The Renault-owned value brand has just launched a new generation of Duster, and it also has the Bigster SUV coming next year. As Auto Express revealed, the company has two additional family-sized models in the pipeline. Currently known as the Dacia C-Neo, this new model is likely to be a rival for the Skoda Octavia hatchback. An estate variant could also be on the cards.

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Speaking to Auto Express at the Geneva Motor Show, Dacia’s new executive vice-president for product performance, Patrice Lévy-Bencheton, declined to confirm the body styles for the additional models, but admitted, “If you look at the C-segment [Golf and Qashqai class], we will have an offer with Bigster in the SUV body type. We also have Duster, which is ‘B-plus’. We have this line-up planned with those two cars, so it would not make that much sense to bring an extra SUV into the C-segment, so of course we will diversify our offer. The idea is to have the best possible coverage of the C-segment; it’s still a huge area of the market, including the UK, and not just SUVs.”

With the likes of Ford dropping its Focus, Renault abandoning the petrol-powered Megane and VW switching its next-gen Golf to an EV project, Dacia stands to benefit by offering petrol or petrol-hybrid models. “People moving out of some areas of this market might leave some space,” Lévy-Bencheton said. ”That’s what we’re looking at. With C-segment models, you need a versatile car with good autonomy [range]. So in EVs, that means a big battery, which pushes up the cost. We’ll continue to be a segment breaker, a rule breaker. We’ll do the same on the C-segment, and we’re here to propose something different to our customers.”

Auto Express understands that designs are not yet finalised for the models in question, making a debut before late 2026 or early 2027 unlikely.

Now read our list of the best family cars to buy...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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