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Dacia 'C-Neo' Unofficially Drawn Up As French-Romanian Automaker's Premium Coupe SUV

Automobile Dacia was once a little-known Romanian car manufacturer named after the namesake historical region. Still, in recent years, it has surged as the go-to affordable car brand in Europe and other places worldwide. Naturally, it's all thanks to Renault's patronage.
Dacia C-Neo coupe SUV rendering by KDesign AG 14 photos
Photo: KDesign AG / Behance
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The French automaker bought the company in 1999 after already having historically solid ties with the manufacturer – Dacia initially produced the Renault 8 and 12 under license. After the 2000s, and while other affordable European brands like Skoda or Seat were moving upmarket, Renault pushed Dacia to occupy that position in a bid to expand its appeal to additional regions.

The strategy proved way more than successful, and today – even though it's not a cheap brand anymore – Dacia has some of the best-selling models in Europe, particularly the Sandero hatchback and Duster subcompact SUV. And they're growing still – after the first six months of the year, the brand jumped more than 24% compared to 2022, while its retail customer market share placed it second across the entire European region!

As such, it is no wonder the Renault and Dacia head honchos are thinking in their corner offices that the brand can expand into new territory still. For example, they introduced the Jogger model, a true crossover, as it mixes elements from the station wagon class with SUV elements. Soon after they release the third generation Duster into the wild (sometime later this year or early 2024), the company will also start production of its first-ever compact SUV – based on the Bigster concept that premiered in early 2021 and is supposed to reach the production line in 2025.

If successful, from then on, Dacia will continue to tread water on its new smart-buy image that focuses both on adventure models like the Stepway series as well as upscale variants of existing nameplates. However, if we are to trust the rumor mill and the imaginative realm of digital car content creators, the Romanian automaker might one day venture into near-premium territory, too.

According to Kleber Silva, a Brazil-based virtual artist known as KDesign AG on social media, Dacia might consider a new project car based on Renault's recent foray into the posh world of coupe-SUVs. The French automaker dipped its toes into the niche with the Arkana compact crossover SUV that first appeared in Russia in 2019 and then in mainland Europe in 2020 based on a more evolved South Korean version built on the CMF-B platform.

Now, Renault even has a second, larger model – Rafale. The mid-size crossover coupe-SUV will be produced starting next year in Spain on the most recent Renault–Nissan CMF-CD architecture and acts as the sporty twin of the newly released Austral and Espace V SUV models. It's also an advanced powertrain design, as it uses full hybrid and plug-in hybrid options with up to 300 hp and AWD – so it is naturally considered as the new flagship offering of the French brand.

Seeing all that, the pixel master quickly imagined a potential badge engineering case where a future Dacia coupe-SUV dubbed 'C-Neo' would conquer the European market with a lower price point, Duster and Bigster DNA, as well as many of the same underpinnings as the mid-sized Renault Rafale. According to the author, the "resulting coupe-SUV (has) a dynamic look and unique personality." He also asked our opinion about this fusion of styles – and we think it's much better than what Mitsubishi is doing with the Captur and Clio-based ASX plus Colt!


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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
Aurel Niculescu profile photo

Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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