Remember when Pope Francis visited the Philippines back in 2015? During his visit, his Holiness was transported mostly by a modified Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck. Pope Francis himself stood on the bed and was shielded by a glass canopy.
We never saw the Pope being transported by an SUV or a crossover, expect for that one time he was in Korea where he rode in a Kia Soul. Back home at The Vatican however, his latest Popemobile does not come in the form of another pick-up. Instead, the newest vehicle to join the Pope's fleet is a Dacia Duster, a small family crossover.
Gifted by the Romanian-based automaker, along with parent company Renault, the donated Duster will serve as Pope Francis' newest mobility needs. Modified by the Dacia's Prototype Department and the Special Needs team in Romania, this Duster is not your typical crossover. It has a large sunroof at the back which can allow the Pope to stand up and wave at the crowd. And, just like the D-Max used here, it too has a glass canopy that shields his Holiness.
Dacia also took into consideration in making the Duster more comfortable. In fact, the automaker claimed that it has one of the most comfortable rear bench seats. It is then complemented by a full beige interior for a warm cabin ambiance.
As for its exterior, it has an all-white livery and comes with The Vatican's own flags mounted up front. In addition, this particular Duster is 30mm lower than standard in order to help the Pope get in and out of the vehicle safer and faster.
“With this gift to His Holiness, Groupe Renault renews its strong and continuous commitment to putting Man at the center of its priorities,” said Xavier Martinet, General Manager of Groupe Renault Italy.
With the Dacia Duster now part of the Holy See's fleet of vehicles, we're now wondering whether this will influence buyers in actually getting a Dacia (or its French cousin, the Renault Duster). But other than that, we're just glad that the Pope has a new vehicle to go around in.