James May, aka Captain Slow, is surely going to be excited about this report. While he was still working for Top Gear, the presenter went on an on about the Dacia Sandero coming to British showrooms.
The funny thing is that supercars and other exotics are quite common in the Los Angeles area, so people won't take a second glance at a Ferrari 458 Italia, even though it costs about 20 times more than the Duster.
We might be making fun of the little crossover, but it's a car that deserves to be taken seriously. Out of a bastardized platform made using old Clio and Megane parts, French engineers were able to make a crossover that rides well and can do 4x4 things. The Duster is sold across the world, from Russia to South America, making it the most important new Renault model of this decade.
So what's it doing in Southern California? Well, it most likely came from Mexico, where Renault, SEAT and many other European companies sell their cars. There are other kinds of weird cars south of the border, including the Dodge Attitude, which is now a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage sedan and used to be based on the Hyundai Accent.
If this is indeed a Mexican Duster, not one made in Europe, the engine under the bonnet is a 2-liter naturally aspirated one making only 133 horsepower. It's linked to a 4-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive.
The US Department of Transport dictates that you cannot legally drive a Duster or any other non-officially imported car. So James May's dream car is like the Focus RS and R32 GT-R – an impossible dream.