Dacia Duster 4x4 Popemobile Conversion Enters Vatican's Fleet

His Holiness Pope Francis now has a Dacia, a one-off based on the Duster 4x4 converted into a popemobile by coachbuilder Romturingia. The Romanian automaker has also employed the know-how of the Special Needs team and Prototypes department, hence the specific solutions such as the 30-mm lower ground clearance for easier access.
Dacia Duster 4x4 Popemobile 5 photos
Photo: Dacia
Dacia Duster 4x4 PopemobileDacia Duster 4x4 PopemobileDacia Duster 4x4 PopemobilePope Francia
The large opening in the roof, removable glazed superstructure, support elements, “particularly comfortable rear bench seat,” and white paint help the Duster stand out in the crowd. “With this gift to His Holiness, the Renault Group renews its strong and continuous commitment to put man at the center of its priorities,” declared Xavier Martinet, the automaker’s head in Italy.

One of the more curious aspects of the handover is that Dacia wouldn’t mention what kind of engine hides under the hood. All-wheel drive is available in conjunction with every powertrain available save for two options, namely the Blue dCi 95 and TCe 100. Taking into consideration who is going to use this Duster, it’s likely for the Romanian automaker to have picked the top-of-the-line Blue dCi 115 turbo diesel or the Tce 150 GPF turbo gasoline.

The Dacia brand is present in Italy as well, and sales are continuously improving since 2013. More to the point, we’re talking about 27,024 vehicles back then and 61,599 last year. The low-cost alternative to Renault is a commercial success pretty much everywhere in Europe, and with the right kind of driving skills, the Duster also happens to be capable off the beaten path.

It remains to be seen if Pope Francis will keep the crossover or sell it for charity. The pontiff received a Huracan from Lamborghini two years ago, and a few months later, that car went up for 715,000 euros. Earlier still, a Fiat 500L sold for $82,000 at an event during the 2016 Philadelphia Auto Show.

Dacia, on the other hand, gears up for the 2020 Paris Motor Show with a bit of a surprise for the all-new Sandero. According to French media, the Renault Group is much obliged to borrow the e-Tech hybrid powertrain in applications such as the Sander Stepway, tuned to produce approximately 140 horsepower.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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