When going to overseas auto shows, one can't help but spend an inordinate amount of time eyeballing forbidden automotive fruit. It's often of the seriously rare, criminally powerful and six- or seven-digit variety. But more often than one might think, the genuinely affordable overseas hero makes us swoon, too. So it is with the Dacia/Renault Duster, the cheap-as-chips, hard-wearing utility vehicle. We've often thought that its basic, rugged charms would play well in the US if saddled with a low enough price tag, but we've never seen much of a window for that to actually come true.

But now, Autocar India is reporting that Nissan will flex its alliance with Renault to spin off a Duster of its own, one that exhumes the Terrano nameplate, a moniker once used for overseas versions of the first- and second-generation Pathfinder. The new model will feature unique sheetmetal to give it a familial look, but the interior will be the same, and we expect the same goes for the powertrain, meaning there will be a range of gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines with both manual and automatic gearboxes and front- or all-wheel drive.

So, does that mean we'll get a Nissan version of the Duster-based Terrano to call our own? Sadly, almost certainly not. Company spokesman Dan Bedore tells Autoblog flatly, "There are no plans to bring this model to the US." Bummer. Even if it isn't ultimately as capable as the larger, long-in-the-tooth Xterra (it's more on par with the now departed Canadian-market X-Trail), we think the Duster's archetypal SUV looks and low cost barrier would win it plenty of fans in our market. Our guess is that redesigning the model to meet US regulations (crash, emissions, lighting, etc.) would be prohibitively expensive, and the Dacia/Renault model is built in some pretty distant facilities – Brazil, India, Romania and Russia among them – making the business case harder still.


Having said all that, if CEO Carlos Ghosn and friends are still considering the project, please mark us down in the "Yes, please" column... we'll even trade in the Cube or Murano CrossCabriolet as a gesture of good faith.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      Temple
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Duster is £8,995 in the UK including VAT. And VAT being 20% it should really be ~£7,200 without the tax. Meaning the car itself costs around $11k. If Nissan could get a $11k ute in the US it'll sell like hotcakes.
        May
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Temple
        But that's for 4x2, 1.6 105hp model with no equipment at all (black bumpers). Still fully loaded 4x4 diesel is available for less than $20k but that's with EU taxes so it could be less in US (on the other hand US certification, shipping etc. is not cheap).
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think Nissan can have much success here if they brought back Datsun like they are doing overseas, inexpensive cars and light trucks, they can allow Nissan to mature more from always being a third tier Japanese automaker let Datsun branded vehicles be basic cars and light trucks without all the extra features and expenses of the larger counterparts and have their own unique styling and marketing approach coupled with chepeast cost of ownership. Datsun Duster has a nice ring to it.
        transam
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        I agree. I think that Americans would appreciate a small inexpensive SUV, so there would certainly be a market. Although you can get a great deal on a new Jeep Wrangler these days. That would be my choice.
        Travis C. Vasconcelo
        @Cruising
        Nissan could do themselves a great favour by bringing Datsun back to the states, as it is a revered badge from the past. The Baby boomers (the largest new car purchasing group in the nation) remember it well and it would thrive with them. Simple, affordable cars (like this Dacia Duster) would be welcomed by other generations who can ill-afford a new car now days. I for one like the looks of this vehicle and would definitely consider it as an alternative to larger and more complex SUV models. I say, bring it on Nissan! So long as you don't saddle it with a CVT (make mine a manual, please) I would be very interested.
          wrxfrk16
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Travis C. Vasconcelo
          A revitalized Datsun would be a beautiful thing. Hell, it could be brought back as the entry level of Nissan, like Scion just without the lineup of horrible cars. A cheapo little four door, preferably rear drive, to echo the old 510. Bring some entry level Dacia and Renault models, perhaps a stripped down Xterra and/or Frontier. Hell, they could even appeal to enthusiast tastes; offer a Z car with fewer options, lower curb weight, and perhaps a turbo four for a BRZ competitor. For that matter, they could even appeal to the Skyline crowd and revive the name with a GT-S version of the current GT-R. Dump some of the computers, swap in a real manual, lose the four wheel drive and offer a GT-S for a lower price...
      Wojo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bring it, it looks better than the Nissan Cartpathfinder.
      chanonissan
      • 1 Year Ago
      the Dacia's are are getting very safe in crash test beating out higher cost cars in crash test, the sandero for example score 4 star in the latest euro crash test even score higher that newer vehicle that cost alot more in its class, the duster got a 3 star, that not bad for a cheap car, in comparison to other that are getting 3 and cost alot more. The main reason the duster getting a 3 star was it never had airbags, the 2013 versions will and that might give it a 4 star.
        Iosif Bogdan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chanonissan
        I saw a review on Youtube where it was stated that the reason why Duster got 3 stars instead of 4 was not having airbags in the cheapest trim level. It does have them in all the other trim levels though.
          May
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Iosif Bogdan
          It doesn't have ESP or voice seatbelt reminder as standard, that's why they gave it 3 stars instead of 4.
      Ron McCord
      • 1 Year Ago
      We have these all over Colombia. Cars are not cheap here though this thing cost around 27,000 bucs in Colombia. Jeep Wrangler sport 50,000 dollars so a big reason moving back to usa to avoid 85% taxes on new cars. Oh and supermarket is similar prices for about half the goods you take for granted in Usa like peanut butter, icecream, blueberries, dried fruit, alcholol yeah third world living with beyong first world prices
      ccweems
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've seen the Dacia and while it's cheap it is not the "cheap" of old when you wondered if it would last till the end of warranty. It most certainly is the new "cheap" of shiny plastics and exposed screw heads. As mentioned before US safety and emission regs are no longer much of a hurdle for cars that meet current European regulations. As an SUV takes a miss on the "chicken tax" applied to small pickups. What it does do is potentially steal sales of other Nissan products on which the maker earns a much higher margin. Often the prices charged have no relation to cost but to positioning - the mid-level model will be priced between its companion models regardless of the cost. A cheap Terrano would likely steal sales from the Juke, Rogue and Altima. This much can be reliably predicted when the models share the same showroom. Sure it would steal sales from competing makes but that is far harder to predict and the unit profit is low to begin with. If the government wanted to be truly disruptive it would meet with European regulators and agree on a unified set of regulations. The German nameplates would be apoplectic. Americans would have access to less equipped models better tailored to their needs. To compete they would have to allow far greater choice than they do now which would lower the average price of cars sold. As it is right now BMW and Mercedes European customers can order cars/SUVs with much greater precision than US buyers on models made in the US. Thankfully Porsche has a much more egalitarian approach and allows customers on both sides of the Atlantic to order as they wish.
      T-Mille
      • 1 Year Ago
      We won't get it because America never gets the good cars.
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @T-Mille
        Sad trombone...We don't get all the good cars, but we get a lot, and they're very cheap compared to the rest of the world
        Snark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @T-Mille
        So you're playing the sad trombone because we don't get some cheap-ass third-world spec crossover, when we get $27k Mustang GTs and $23k Mazda3s. There's not a goddamn thing the ROW gets that's better than what we get here.
      groingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      As the US is seeing, there are fewer and fewer choices coming to the US and the key reason is the high cost of "Dumbing them down" for the US market coupled with politically driven regulations.
      tmush3
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great news
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tmush3
        [blocked]
        Dean
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tmush3
        The Dacia Sandero?
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does Chrysler no longer own the Duster name? Remember the Plymouth Duster.
      360_AD
      • 1 Year Ago
      If it ends up being better looking than the "Totally Radical" Cherokee, how do you say "ut oh" in Italian?
        Snark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @360_AD
        The Cherokee will be a third again more expensive and is a full size class larger, and this craptacular Duster rebadge won't be sold here.
      paqza
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Duster (called the Renault Duster in the market where I live) is an awesome little SUV. Good ground-clearance, fairly rugged, and cheap. Would be fantastic if there were a version for the US. Something like the Xterra but newer, not as expensive, and with better fuel mileage.
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