Dacia is back with its mischievous antics in the UK, this time with a little bit of self-awareness to ring in the new year. Dacia is encouraging Duster owners in London to come in for a free “mud-wash” so these owners can at least pretend to take their 4X4 off-roading. It’s a playful, funny way to coax drivers into going off-road in machines that were made to do so, but rarely ever do.
Dacia’s “Adventure Ready” mud-wash is the next best thing to having to go out and drive your Duster 4X4 on a trail, and I can’t really tell if this looks more fun for the Duster owners, or the Dacia employees who get to sully the SUVs.
In the run-up to the mud-wash, Dacia surveyed a bunch of 4x4 owners. The carmaker found that the majority of people seldom take their vehicles anywhere near trails, while nearly half of them admitted that they’ve literally never taken their car off-road:
The [mud-wash] launch comes after new research reveals that 4 in ten (40 per cent) of 4x4 drivers have never taken their car off road, while a further fifth (19 per cent) admit they’ve never even driven their 4x4 down a dirt track.
Researchers polled 1,000 city-dwelling 4x4 owners and discovered they’ve hardly got their wheels muddy. According to the survey, over a third (67 per cent) said the closest owners of off-road vehicles have come to tackling “challenging terrain” is negotiating the speed bumps on the school run.
17 per cent of those polled also said they wished they could be more adventurous with their 4x4, with one in ten (13 per cent) saying their family isn’t very adventurous.
Dacia’s survey confirms (to some degree) the suspicions many of us harbor about most off-roaders; that they’ll rarely — if ever — actually go off-road. It turns out that terms like “mall-crawler” and “bro-dozer” really do apply to some cars. In the UK, these faux-by-fours are called “Chelsea Tractors,” (after the London borough) according to our own Owen Bellwood.
Dacia’s mud-wash could give these Dusters some much-needed street cred. I’m unsure how far I’d equate a Dacia Duster 4X4 with the likes of the spotless, lifted Wranglers and Tacomas I regularly see in Texas, but the same applies if the most eventful terrain these Dusters see are speed bumps. Overall, Dacia means well. The carmakers wants to get people out on the trail, which is great.