Renault Duster Performance & Overview

Renault Duster Overview

There has been considerable hype surrounding the Duster. That it was going to be launched with a killer price tag, that it will be a make or break vehicle for Renault in India and that it will be well-built, reliable and easy to maintain. Does it live up to all that hype and more importantly, will it satiate this fast emerging hunger amongst car buyers for a vehicle that is like a sports utility and is yet as practical as a car? Just like the scenario in the late nineties when there was a latent demand for small cars, we are now at the cusp of an explosion in demand for SUVs and vans. What is driving the surge in demand – the need for a second car, the pent up desire to own a vehicle with a butch road presence and possibly to a much lesser extent the need for a people’s mover. Request a test drive for Duster in Tryaldrive

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Renault Duster Design & Style

The vehicle which was caught testing was the first prototype and although it was covered in heavy camouflage some of the visual traits like the silhouette and the overall dimensions looked almost identical to the current Duster. Towards the front, the new generation Duster will get slightly more rectangular headlamps and a differently styled grille. Expect it also a get a slightly different and more purposeful looking front bumper as well. According to the reports, the new generation Duster, unfortunately, does not underpin the same old platform which underpins the current generation car and is not switching to the Renault-Nissan’s CMF architecture.

Renault Duster Cabin & Comfort

Expect the updated Duster to get a new dashboard which will feature three new circular vents in the middle of the dash while expect the touchscreen to be positioned just below those air vents. Expect the Indian spec Duster to carry over the same touchscreen unit from the current generation SUV, but perhaps it will get slightly modified graphics. The interior is also expected to get a new three-spoke steering wheel as well. The rest of the interior will most probably remain unchanged. However, there is a fair possibility that the rear seats will perhaps also be modified for better under thigh support.

Renault Duster Engine & Gearbox

The Duster is offered with two engines, one each of petrol and diesel. Knowing well that the diesel is likely to be the overwhelming choice, Renault India is offering the engine in two states of tune. Of course, the engine here is the now familiar 1.5L K9K dCi engine, which is shared by quite a few cars from the brand. The variant with the higher state of tune features this 1,461cc diesel engine with a variable geometry turbocharger and an intercooler, which together bump up the peak power to 110PS, which is available from about 3,900 rpm. Peak torque of 248Nm is delivered at a bit delayed 2,250 rpm. Just like the numbers indicate, the engine starts delivering decent levels of pulling power to the front wheels only after the needle crosses the 1,500 rpm level.

I drove this version of the Duster only and though I felt the turbo lag a bit more due to the hilly terrain that I was testing it out in, buyers who will be mostly driving it in urban conditions will probably not miss more torque in lower end of the rpm band. This 110PS variant is mated to a six-speed gearbox with a very sedan-like short throw, slick shifting gear stick. The same common rail direct injection engine is also offered with a lower tune state. Here the engine produces 85PS of power at 3,750 rpm and peak torque output is 200Nm at 1,900rpm.

Going by the stats, this engine could be the one that is more suited to urban driving conditions, with more lower end torque and possibly more fuel efficiency too. This could be the version that rakes in the most numbers, since most city buyers should be satisfied with this level of performance. Both the diesel variants offer the best performance when the engine is kept within a 2,000 to 3,500 rpm band.The petrol engine on offer is the Renault 1.6 K4M engine. The 1,598cc engine produces 104PS of peak power at 5,850 rpm and 145Nm of peak torque at 3,750 rpm. The petrol engine version and the 85PS diesel version are both paired with a 5-speed gearbox. The Duster is not being offered with a four-wheel drive option, though it is available in other markets.

Renault Duster Ride & Handling

Ride quality of the Duster is also a big plus. The monocoque construction, the rigid chassis and a good match in the 215/65 R16 tyres give the Duster confident handling characteristics on the highway and winding hill roads. The suspension set up includes anti-roll bars at the front and the rear. Though very bad roads momentarily seem to leave the Duster a bit unsettled, the suspension does an excellent job of soaking up most of the challenges that regular roads throw at it. Some amount of road and wind noise seeped into the cabin in the RxL variant I was driving, but that could be a one-off. The noise was absent in the RxZ variant I drove later and I am also told by Renault engineers that considerable work has been done on insulating the cabin.

Renault Duster Braking & Safety

The vehicle comes equipped with ventilated disc brakes for its front wheels, while its rear wheels are fitted with drum brakes. The SUV range comes with many advanced safety features including ABS with EBD & rapid deceleration warning, seat belt reminder, brake assist system, engine immobilizer, rear defogger, rear washer and wiper with timer, fog lamps, hill start assist, EPS, anti slip regulation, twin airbags, rear parking sensors, etc. Some of the passive safety features that protect the occupants like speed sensing auto door locks and impact sensing auto door unlock. To protect the engine during extreme off-roading, there’s an engine guard too.

Renault Duster Price in Bangalore

Renault Duster Ex-Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 8,53,064/- (Duster RxE Petrol) to 13,81,406/- (Duster RxZ Diesel 110PS 4×2 MT). Get best offers for Renault Duster from Renault Dealers in Bangalore. Check for Duster price in Bangalore at Carzprice

Renault Duster Conclusion

The Duster is compact, yet offers the right road presence, its kerb weight is just about 1,300 kgs, has a turning radius of just 5.2 metres and is said to be capable of a rated mileage of about 20 kmpl (85PS diesel variant). All of these are almost small car like and just the attributes that value conscious buyers will look for. Between the three engine versions there are a total of 8 variants and they are priced in the range of Rs 7.2 lakh to Rs 11.3 lakh (ex-showroom). That positions it squarely next to the existing SUVs like the Scorpio, XUV 5oo, Tata Safari and even sedans like the Hyundai Verna and the Honda City.

Despite the automobile scenario being a bit dull overall, the Duster has still come in at just the right time for Renault India. While it is still going to be a tough task to keep the tempo going for the Duster, it is quite clear that it is not without reason that prospective buyers are queuing up for test drives and causing traffic jams outside Renault showrooms around the country.

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