Dacia gets a feel for the outdoors with wild Manifesto buggy concept
The Renault Group's budget-friendly car maker Dacia is rolling into the Paris Motor Show next month with a striking mobile design lab called the Manifesto, which showcases outdoors-focused ideas that may or may not make it into future production vehicles.
For the stripped-back Manifesto concept, Dacia has opted to put "no barriers between passengers and the environment" – meaning that the concept lacks doors, windows and windshield. It does sport a roof though, but this seems to have been included to host a fold-out modular rack with adjustable bars rather than shield occupants from a downpour.
Indeed, the interior has been made waterproof so that users can direct a jet washer inside to clear away accumulated mud and dirt – though campers might want to remove the seat covers beforehand, as these can do double duty as sleeping bags.
As with last year's Sandero, the concept integrates the driver's smartphone into the dashboard for infotainment as well as linking up with the vehicle's onboard computer. The "living lab" also debuts the YouClip system that's expected to feature on next-generation Duster models, where modular accessories can be attached to mounting points in the cabin.
The hood sports running lights to the front of the hood, but there's just a single headlamp. However, in a nifty twist, this module can be removed and used as a handheld torch. A winch has also been fitted to the front "to help you handle your gear and hold it in place."
Continuing the removable tech theme, the Manifesto features a dedicated battery supply out back that can be pulled out and used as a portable power source at camp, or at home. And the rear area can optionally be transformed into a workbench or table, with built-in storage.
As the Manifesto is strictly a concept and won't go into production, Dacia hasn't defined the powertrain – though the show car has been confirmed as an electric vehicle with four-wheel drive and large puncture-proof airless tires.
The concept is described as compact and lightweight, which will help with energy efficiency, and its main (hidden and visible) plastic body parts are fashioned using a composite material called Starkle that can include up to 20% recycled plastic without affecting durability or aesthetics.
"We want to build a range of products that strengthens our brand promise, focusing on the essentials and adapting our vehicles for outdoor activities," said Dacia's design director, David Durand. "Beyond our models, we are also working on innovative features that match our customers’ need and lifestyles even more closely. Manifesto concept is a 'lab' to try out and mock up new ideas. The version you can see today will keep on evolving as we keep on exploring. So don’t miss the next models: they will be ever smarter, ever more tailored to outdoor activities and ever more Dacia!"
Check out the gallery for renders and photos of the Manifesto ahead of its appearance at the Paris Motors Show, which starts on October 18.