I see Renault Dusters all the time in South Texas, making their way north from the border town of Hidalgo or in downtown shopping centers. They look like average crossovers and seldom wrest my attention as they drive past, but a product render from Prior Design is making me rethink my opinion of the Duster.
Prior Design is a high-performance tuning and modification company that seems keen on expanding its market share. The company advertises kits for the likes of Bentley, McLaren and Porsche stateside, but in its home country of Germany it has a broader range. Prior produces aero kits for the Hyundai Kona and even the Ford Ranger there.
Prior’s experience with a range of marques gives me some hope that this kit will make it through the concept stage and onto real-world cars, but a production kit is not certain. Here is the video discussing the concept and Prior’s take on the affordable Duster, which starts just under $14,000 USD in Germany.
The Duster looks like a competent crossover in stock form, but it’s nearly unrecognizable in the render, going from a run-of-the-mill CUV to a sleek and purposeful machine. Of course, we’d want some performance modifications to go with those looks, but even without the performance boost that rear spoiler is too good to resist.
I would not have expected to look at a Duster and actively want to get behind the wheel, though I’ve always been curious about its stock wheel arches and tall(ish) departure angle.
There is some distant precedent for this. Alain Prost piloted a low, widebody Dacia Duster to victory in multiple Andros Trophy races a decade ago. The Formula 1 champion took the joint Renault/Dacia Duster over the finish line in an ice race! Meanwhile, I’m afraid of driving on cheap all-seasons anytime it rains.
Prost’s Duster was powered by a Renault-Nissan VQ30 V-6 engine that produced 350 horsepower when tuned for the high altitude of the mountain races. Power was transferred to the wheels through a four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steering setup with a limited-slip differential. And it weighed only 950 kilograms, or a little over 2000 pounds.
The next time I see a Duster, I’ll happily watch as it crosses a stoplight. I’m going to think either about what could be, and I’ll superimpose the concept kit’s wider arches and rear spoiler. Or I’ll think of what has been and conjure the blue and white livery of Prost’s championship Duster, its magnesium wheels whiter than snow.