The Pope has taken delivery of a Dacia Duster 4×4. As celebrity endorsements go, they don’t come more heavenly than this.
Remember that you are Duster, and to Duster you shall return. Or something.
Pope Francis is known for his modesty and the promotion of frugality, so Europe’s cheapest family SUV ticks many boxes. He certainly looks delighted with his latest wheels.
The Duster was transformed by the Prototype Department and the unfortunately named Dacia Special Needs team in Romania, in partnership with coach-builder Romturingia.
The converted Duster has five seats, including ‘a particularly comfortable rear bench’, plus a large sunroof and a removable glass superstructure.
It sits 30mm lower than normal to suit the Pope’s love of slammed vehicles. It also makes for easier access.
These aren’t upgrades you’ll find in the Dacia Duster brochure, but the entry-level Access model comes with Vatican-friendly white paint and is available from £139 a month. Pope Francis would almost certainly approve.
Xavier Martinet, general manager of Groupe Renault Italy, said: “With this gift to His Holiness, Groupe Renault renews its strong and continuous commitment to putting Man at the centre of its priorities.”
This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has experienced life with a Dacia. During a visit to Armenia in 2016, the Pope used a standard Dacia Logan saloon, a car not available in the UK.
Back in 2013, the Pope accepted a gift of a Renault 4 for use in the Vatican City, while his global visits have seen him travelling in everything from a Fiat 500L to a Kia Soul. Not that this has stopped Pope Francis from accepting expensive supercars…
In 2018, a Lamborghini Huracan created for Pope Francis sold for €715,000 (£610,000) at an auction in Monaco. The special edition was built by the Lamborghini ‘Ad Personam‘ department, and was painted Bianco Monocerus with Giallo Tiberino stripes running along the body to pay homage to the colours of the Vatican City flag.
The proceeds from the sale were handed over to the Holy Father for the benefit of four charities.