Renault Duster Review

By Somdatta Basu   |  October 31, 2013

Overview

The Renault Duster is the car that turned the fortunes of Renault in India and gave the company a name that is well regarded in the subcontinent. Renault had not been doing too well with their cars when they first came to India but with the Duster, they offered a car that was spacious, built ruggedly and equipped with a good bunch of features. The Renault Duster is available in the following variants - Petrol (RxE and RxL), Diesel 85 PS (RxE, RxL and RxL Optional package) and Diesel 110 PS (RxL, RxZ, RxZ Optional package and RxZ Plus). It is available in an array of six colours - Metallic Woodland Brown, Metallic Fiery Red, Pearl Supreme White, Metallic Moonlight Silver, Pearl Galaxy Black and Metallic Graphite Grey.


Powertrain & Performance

The Renault Duster is available in two fuel options (petrol and diesel) and three engine options. The first is a 1,598 cc K9K diesel engine which churns out 108 bhp and a maximum torque of 245 Nm @ 1750 rpm. Then there is another version of the 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder K9K diesel engine which has been detuned to put out 83 bhp and a maximum torque of 200 Nm @ 1750 rpm. Lastly, there is the 1.6 litre K4M petrol engine which has a peak power output of 103 bhp and a maximum torque of 148 Nm @ 3750 rpm. The petrol engine returns a fuel economy figure of 13.24 kpl. The 108 bhp 1.5 litre diesel motor returns 19.64 kpl and the 83 bhp version of the same engine returns an impressive 19.87 kpl (all fuel efficiency figures are ARAI-certified).

Interested customers can also buy an all wheel drive version of the Duster. This particular model comes equipped with the 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder K9K diesel engine that delivers 108 bhp. This engine is hooked up to a 6 speed manual transmission and returns a fuel efficiency figure of 19.72 kpl. The Duster AWD also has a special Eco mode, which reduces fuel consumption by up to 10%. The driver can select between 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive and automatic modes using a shift-on-the-fly controller. Thanks to the suspension setup, the drive is engaging and the ride quality is pliant, even over rough roads. The turning radius of 5.2 metres helps it to manoeuvre easily through crowded city traffic and fairly tight corners.


Build & Styling

The exterior of Renault Duster features new double barrel headlights, two-tone bumpers, front grille surround, back door embellishments and stylish roof rails. The higher end models also display body coloured outside door mirrors, chrome satin finish door handles, chrome exhaust pipe finisher and sporty aluminium alloy wheels. The interior of the Renault Duster is well appointed with dual tone premium leather seats with beige coloured interiors which enhance the pleasures of travel. The 8 way adjustable driver seat provides lesser fatigue while on a long drive. The chrome gear knob finish, glossy metallic grey centre fascia finish, charcoal grey floor console finish and glossy metallic grey door grab handle finish impart a sumptuous look.

Features of the new Duster include equipment such as instrument cluster and upholstery, a new improved soft-touch dashboard, new upholstery, a multi information display panel which comes with a service reminder, real time fuel efficiency display, distance to empty warning, and average speed. The car also gets a driver armrest, one touch lane change indicator, ambient temperature display, a navigation console, steering mounted audio and phone controls and a sporty 3-spoke steering wheel. in terms of safety, the new Duster has ABS with EBD and brake assist, airbags for both front passengers, a rear defogger, a rear wash/wipe system, speed sensitive auto door locks, hill start assist, ASR, rear parking sensors, impact sensing auto door unlocking mechanism and rapid deceleration warning.


Verdict

The Duster single-handedly changed the way Renault was viewed in India and that was no lucky accident. Indian car buyers immediately fell for its solid build quality, reasonable price, frugal engines and feature list. But Renault has observed that the SUV segment in India is becoming increasingly competitive and therefore, they decided to take the Duster and improve it. And in simple words, the Renault Duster is an even better vehicle than it ever was.