The Renault Duster is a compact SUV that’s a great alternative to sedans and can also give some SUV’s a run for their money. It has macho looks and drives well, and will appeal to many urban buyers. But is the Duster really worth its price? Starting at Rs.7.19 lakhs, Renault Duster is not a price warrior instead it is priced correctly, it has started off very well with 6,000 bookings mopped up in the first week of its launch.
The Duster is a strikingly styled SUV that looks big, but is actually bigger than Skoda Yeti. Based on the Logan (now Verito) platform, the Duster is 4315mm long and 1822mm wide. Large chrome grilles and dual barrel headlamps give the Duster a ruggedized appearance up front. Buffed up wheel arches, chunky alloy wheels and sleek roof bars further enhance its SUV attitude. However, the rear didn’t impress me as much as the front did, although I liked the large chrome ‘Duster’ nameplate there.
Recently, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga opened up a whole new Mini MPV segment in India. Now, the Duster opens a new compact SUV segment which will soon see participation from Ford, Mahindra and Maruti. The Duster is fourth product by Renault India after Fluence, Koleos and recently launched Pulse. It is available in both diesel and petrol.
On the inside, the first thing you’ll really appreciate is the SUV’s-high driving position. Although there are some hard and glossy plastics, the cabin is solidly built. Seats are comfortable and the Duster offers plenty of room for four, even for five if those in the backseat are willing to snuggle up. The company has also added rear AC vent especially for India, keeping in mind the hot summer season. Additionally, you get rear A/C with independent control, but with only one vent in the centre.
Other notable features are steering mounted audio controls, global positioning system, dual SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, dash integrated music system, electrically adjustable outside rear-view mirrors and remote central locking system. The audio controls are placed behind the steering wheel, but it’s not all that tricky to access them as you would expect. The door mirror controls are weirdly placed under the handbrake, headlight height adjuster switch near the bonnet release and door lock switch on the centre console.
A very large 475 litres of boot volume deserves special mention. I would however be happier with a roomier rear seat than the sizeable boot. Unlike the Tata Safari, the Duster is a 5 seater. However, Renault plans to provide 2 extra jump seats as a paid accessory. We doubt these jump seats are suitable for 2 kids. There’s a large, sturdy parcel tray covering the boot space that offers more convenience and easy storage. I also found a smart storage area on the centre console to keep my camera and cellphone.
Under the hood, the Duster is offered in three engine options. The 1.6-litre petrol engine that delivers 104 PS at 5850rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 3750rpm is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Two variants of the 1.5 dCi K9K diesel engine are available — one developing 85PS and the other, 110PS. Both diesel engines are paired to six-speed manual transmission. Renault claims the petrol Duster offers a mileage of 13.4 kmpl and the 85PS, 110PS diesels return 20.45 kmpl and 19.01 kmpl respectively.
The RxL (mid) variant of Renault Duster 85PS also comes with optional package which comes host of features including dual SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, driver seat belt reminder, impact sensing door unlock, speed sensing door lock, sporty aluminum alloy wheels, reverse parking sensors and brake assist. The top-model comes fully loaded with these features: Stylish Chrome grille, Twin barrel headlamps, 16” Alloy Wheels, Front Fog Lamps, Rear Defogger, rear wiper & washer, Electrically adjustable ORVMs, Rear parking sensors, Key-less entry, ABS with Brake Assist & EBD, Dual front Airbags, Plush Leather Upholstery, 4 Speaker Music System, USB, AUX-IN & Bluetooth Connectivity and GPS Navigation.
The Renault Duster comes with a warranty of 4 years/80000km under “Renault Complete Care” which the company claims is globally benchmarked. In India, it will be manufactured in Renault’s manufacturing facility at Oragadam in Chennai. (See more pictures of Renault Duster below the jump.)
(Special thanks to Renault car showroom, Mangalore for the pictures)
See more pictures of Renault Duster –