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Pope scores fresh wheels: Dacia Duster revealed as new Popemobile

The four-wheel-drive Dacia Duster features lowered suspension and a more comfortable rear seat.

Groupe Renault has delivered a uniquely modified Dacia Duster to the Catholic Church’s Pope Francis.

The new Popemobile was built by Dacia’s Prototype Department and Special Needs Team, with help from Romanian coachbuilder Romturingia.

A number of modifications were made to accommodate Pope Francis including a ‘particularly comfortable’ rear bench seat.

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The 4x4 also features a large sunroof, roof-mounted grab handles, and a removable transparent display box to give crowds better vision of the man himself.

For easier access to the vehicle, the suspension has been lowered by 30mm.

As usual, the latest Popemobile is finished in white, and the interior is upholstered with beige leather.

The vehicle was gifted to the Vatican by Groupe Renault Romania managing director Christophe Dridi and Groupe Renault Italy general manager Xavier Martinet, who emphasised the brand’s commitment to the cause.

“With this gift to His Holiness, Groupe Renault renews its strong and continuous commitment to putting man at the centre of its priorities” said Martinet.

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The Pope last used a Dacia in 2016 during his visit to Armenia, where he rode in a standard, unmodified Logan sedan.

Depite his preference for more modest vehicles, Lamborghini presented Francis with a one-off Huracan in 2017.

The Pope autographed and blessed the Italian sportscar before it was sold at a charity auction for £630,000 ($A1.1m).

While the Renault-built Dacia Duster has been a high-selling budget SUV in Europe, the French carmaker has revealed no plans to sell it in Australia.

Spencer Leech
Contributing Journalist
It's little surprise that Spencer pursued a career in motoring journalism; a born car and motorcycle tragic coming from a long line of typesetters and writers. In short, it was meant to be. He cut his teeth in the automotive industry freelancing as a writer and photographer for titles including Wheels, Unique Cars, Street Machine and Carsales, before filling editorship roles at Australian Road Rider and GoAutoMedia. Spencer contributes regularly to Carsguide, sometimes corresponding from far corners of the globe. By night, he shreds the synthesizer in a little-known Melbourne rock band called Midnight Medley.  
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