At a time when SUVs are on the rise all over Europe, this Italian brand offers one at an unbeatable price. From there to roll on the flowerbeds of Dacia’s “low-cost” crossover?
In a few years, SUVs have invaded our roads. These crossovers, long shunned in Europe when they were a hit on the American continent, today represent nearly one in two new vehicles sold in France. Their raised driving position, their spacious interior, and their trunk, which is larger than a saloon, appeal to a large number of users and make SUVs the most popular vehicles today. Manufacturers have fully understood the lucrative market they represent and are struggling to develop their offer.
Just take the example of Renault which, after transforming the Espace from a minivan into an SUV over the course of its variations, added the Captur, the Koléos to its catalog and then recently the Arkana or the Australia in record time! Acquired in 1999 by Renault, the Romanian brand Dacia has surfed the wave and has been marketing for ten years – 2010 precisely – a crossover intended for small budgets. The Duster, the fourth best-selling SUV in France in 2022, behind the Peugeot 2008 (1er) and 3008 (3rd) and the Renault Captur (2nd), is not the only model positioned on the “low-cost” market.
The small Romanian adventurer also monitors with great attention what could become a cumbersome neighbor. Based in Italy, the DR Motor Company brand, born in 2006 under the thumb of Massimo Di Risio, a racing driver from the 1960s converted into the automotive industry, also manufactures SUVs at bargain prices. Finally manufactures, not quite… DR Motor Company in fact buys its vehicles from the Chinese company Chery, has them imported into its factory in Macchia d’Isernia, located in central Italy, then assembles them and retouching them a little to bring them up to European standards.
An SUV has 16,000 euros, unheard of!
Not (yet?) very well known in France, these SUVs with the DR logo are enjoying great success on the other side of the Alps. It must be said that the Evo 4 model, with the dimensions of a compact SUV – 4.34 meters long, 1.76 meters wide and 1.64 meters high – is unbeatable in terms of price. Its petrol model, with an engine developing up to 114 horsepower, is available in France from 16,900 euros! Who says better ? Person. By way of comparison, the Dacia Duster costs 1,000 euros more at entry level, in its Essential finish with a dual-fuel petrol + LPG engine (17,990 euros). And, the vast majority of SUVs are rarely marketed below 20,000 euros.
At this price, is this Italian adventurer really low-end? Not that much. Its body adopts a completely contemporary design and is comparable to its adversaries in the segment. As for its passenger compartment, the DR Evo 4 provides a beautiful interior space and is not outdone in terms of equipment despite somewhat coarse finishes. 10.3-inch multimedia screen, leather-wrapped bucket seats, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree cameras, automatic air conditioning…the SUV does the job very well! Remains for its transalpine manufacturer, it is true far from the prestigious Italian brands that are Ferrari, Bugatti and Lamborghini, to make themselves known outside its borders. In France, its main dealer (since 2020) is in the southwest, near Brive-la-Gaillarde. To no longer be confidential and invest in the French market, DR will have to develop its distribution network. At all costs…