When a manufacturer that has made the essentials its trademark decides to embrace minimalism – while remaining cool – the result is the Manifesto concept, a totally unexpected reinterpretation of the buggy.
But that’s just it! It is not because Dacia is distinguished by its very rational spirit that the brand cannot have a little fun and show – perhaps even more strongly – this spirit of concretising even the most outlandish ideas at low cost. The car will be a milestone because it is the first Dacia concept that is 100% fun, which means it is free of any commercial objective. Well, almost… The designers were simply asked to let loose with the identity that Dacia now wishes to instil: a brand increasingly linked to the leisure and outdoor world, through the robust simplicity of its models.
To achieve this, the teams quickly agreed on a concept for a four-wheel-drive vehicle with generous ground clearance and a body that would be suitable for off-roading. And, most importantly, in direct contact with the elements, and with the smallest possible ecological footprint, hence the choice of a compact two-seater and, above all, without “filters”; no doors, no windows, not even a windscreen. In short, a modern-day buggy, electrified (no data at the time of writing) and connected.
The main body parts contain Starkle, an innovative new recycled material. Its puncture-proof ‘non-pneumatic’ tyres could last the life of the car. The interior (fully waterproof) is fitted out with natural materials, such as cork for the dashboard, but also the upper part of the steering wheel. Speaking of the dashboard, it is reduced to the bare minimum and your smartphone is the intelligent centre of it. No need for expensive infotainment hardware. Other innovations include seat covers that can be turned into a blanket/sleeping bag!
Designed for fun, but also for work, the Manifesto can power outdoor tools and appliances. The Manifesto can be used on its rear platform, which serves as a handyman’s workbench. On its roof, a plate with deployable fixings, which remains perfectly flat and aerodynamic when nothing is being transported, but which integrates mobile parts (with eyelets and/or hooks) to, depending on the items to be placed on it, firmly harness objects that we could see again on the future Duster, for example… Another originality: its powerful single diode headlight. Starting from the principle of sticking to the essentials, why shouldn’t one headlight do the job as well as two? In addition, the headlamp can be removed and turned into a powerful torch.
With the Manifesto, the Dacia brand wants above all to show its willingness to change and evolve things, and to surprise you. To move away from the strictly low-cost world and become a more sexy and desirable brand… while continuing to offer models with an unbeatable price/equipment/practice ratio. Of course, the Manifesto prototype has no chance of reaching the industrial stage, but some practical ideas should be included in future Dacia models, starting with the next Duster and its C-segment big brother, the Bigster, expected for 2024/2025.