Earlier this year, Dacia, a subsidiary of Renault, unveiled the Bigster concept and it was speculated to pave way for a larger three-row version of the Duster SUV. Following this, there were several digital renders of the upcoming SUV on the internet imagined as the Grand Duster. The same now seems to be stepping out of imaginations and materializing towards reality. Reports claim that Dacia is working on a seven-seater version of the Duster going by the name Grand Duster along with a facelift for the standard second-gen Duster as well.
It must be noted that the Duster is already in its second generation in markets abroad, while India continues to get the first-gen model. In markets where Dacia does not operate, the Duster is sold under Renault branding - like in India. Test mules of the larger seven-seater Grand Duster along with the facelift for the standard Duster were recently spotted testing on the roads of Romania. Although the standard Duster facelift test mule was covered in partial camouflage, the Grand Duster was completely under wraps.
That said, the SUV is visibly longer than the five-seater Duster and if the Bigster concept is anything to go by, it will measure 4.6 meters in length. The Grand Duster also comes with a more upright tail section and a pair of tail lights that are longer and vertically stacked. The face and the silhouette will most likely be very similar to the second-gen Duster that's already on sale in global markets. As for the facelift on the standard Duster, the SUV could be updated with reworked bumpers and new detailing for the headlamps and tail lamps.
The Dacia Grand Duster will be underpinned by the CMF-B platform that already underpins the second-gen Duster. The standard Duster is offered with a variety of powertrain options depending on the logo it is wearing (Dacia or Renault) and the market where it is being sold. That said, the 154hp/250Nm 1.3L turbo-petrol engine that's offered with the India-spec Duster seems to be the most suitable candidate to be put under the hood of the Grand Duster. Transmission options could include a 6-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.
While the interior is also expected to be largely similar to the standard Duster, it could be offered in both 7-seater and 6-seater with captain seats configuration. Internally called the RJI, the Grand Duster is likely to hit production by October 2021 before debuting in the market late this year or early next year. As far as launch in India is concerned, there has been no official update. However, given how three-row mid-size SUVs are increasingly becoming popular in India, Renault certainly wouldn't rule it out for our country. If launched, it will be a direct rival to the likes of the Tata Safari and Hyundai Alcazar.