Renault Duster
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Customer Rating
: 4/5
Expert Rating
: 8/10
: 2 Yrs / 50,000 kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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8 Lakhs-12.5 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Stylish Demeanour
  • Convenience Of AMT
  • Powerful Performance
  • Superior Dynamics

Weak Areas

  • Lack comfort features 
  • Average boot
  • Small rear space
  • Low mileage
Renault Duster

Renault Duster a bulls eye shot from Renault in Indian car market

Duster to say the least has helped establish the Renault marquee in India. What Renault's Koleos, Pulse, Scala and Fluence could not achieve has been done by Duster for Renault. Long waiting periods with even longer ques in front of it's dealership showrooms.

Renault Duster - Road Test

Though in the past Renault’s attempts to crack the code of Indian automobile industry has not met with desired response from customers; this time it seems that company has finally managed to hit the bulls eye with its mighty-muscular compact SUV; Duster.

With its rugged, flared and practical design, Duster instantly got a connect with the buyers and the long waiting period stretching between 6-8 months on its diesel variant is the testimony of the demand Duster today commands in market. Compact dimensions, easy maneuverability and monocoque construction are some of the trump cards in the Duster’s offerings which have actually made the customers lapping up its package with open arms.

Duster’s aggressive style has emerged as one of its key competencies, however we are interested more in ascertaining what lies beneath this stylish package. How good the overall offering of Duster is and will it be able to prove its mettle on other parameters (in addition to styling) too? Is Duster made only for the practical city dwellers or hard off-roaders can one also expect some daring performance from it? All these questions have been puzzling us for quite some time and then we at ecardlr thought there is no other way round to get the answers than taking this new kind of beast on our comprehensive road test. So make yourself comfortable as we go on a journey to explore the all new Renault’s Duster albeit slightly later in the day.

Renault Duster - Exteriors

Duster is altogether a new kind of animal on the India roads. Its strength lies in its design and style and Duster shows no hesitation in exploiting this fact. Despite its compact dimensions, it is not all that compact. It looks like a proper, well built SUV with all the characteristics intact and right at their places.

Front face of Duster has chrome slatted grill with Renault’s logo resting in the middle. Angular headlamps flanks the wide grill on both sides though small air dam doesn't exude the strength. Use of the plastic cladding has been restricted to the minimum in order to retain the up market look of Duster.

Profile of Duster is characterized by the flared wheel arches though tyres could have been bigger to fill them completely. Roof rails add the sporty touch though the stout D-pillar has potential to hinder the rear view. Glass area is not very generous and window line is too a tad high; thereby making the overall space feeling at premium inside this compact SUV.

In comparison to the profile, rear tail gate is displays a good surface area of glass. Chrome bar with prominently displayed Renault marquee is the highlight of the back, though big tail lamps could have suited and enhanced the overall aggressive stance of Duster.

Renault Duster - Interiors

Interiors of the duster is good amalgamation of the different colours and material, though it is not a cabin you just sit and say wow. Material though feels hard wearing but they are far from being called luxurious. Grains don’t exude any luxury, though they are made to wear well for the rough usage.

Also the fit-finish does not match the standards of the segment with many obvious and visible rough edges which announce their presence in high decibel. Doors handles are simple old school with grab styling and the thud of the door is too not very assuring.

Black and beige colour combination however fares well for Duster and so is the centre console design and buttons. Rotary knobs for HVAC do a good job but vents’ built quality is quite flimsy.

On space front Duster feels quite nice despite some of our apprehensions about low glass area and high window line. Front seats are generous in space and good in support though the view is not as good as some other SUVs’ boasts of. Being a strict 5-seater means Duster has no third bench, which makes it quite inflexible in accommodating any extra person. Second bench however is wide enough to sit. Three adults can accommodate themselves quite comfortably. Rear seat does boast of  wonderful thigh support. All sort of rooms are available in plenty in the Duster and there is also a provision of jump seat though it is only good for a small kid.

Boot space to the tune of 475 litres is available, the same can be increased to a whopping 1064 litres the moment one flat fold the row 2 seats. Even without folding the rear bench, trunk space is big enough to swallow the luggage of your week’s trip. Duster can swallo decent luggage thanks to its well laid out design which is the key enabler behind accomplishing this feat. 

Renault Duster - Engine

Duster comes with both petrol and diesel power train with total of 7 variants build on these 2 power plants. While pin petrol version Duster uses 1.6 L of capacity of engine, diesel avatar goes with very familiar K9K 1.5 L dCi engine which powers a range of Renault and Nissan cars. We took out the diesel version for a spin as India thanks to dieselisation of the Indian car market.

Duster, dCi engine delivers 110PS of power@ 3900 rpm and a good 248 Nm of torque @ 2250 rpm. Engine uses single overhead cam and that mean there is only two valves per cylinder for the breathing purpose. This in turn could have its limiting effect on the refinement and top end performance.

Idle of Duster is not very refined as a good clatter of the diesel is very much evident outside. Inside, however, the intrusion is less, but that doesn’t mean a smooth affair ahead of you. We feel the clutch of the Duster a tad bit heavy when compared to other modern diesel cars. This definitely is a pain to use in city as low end torque of the Duster is also not very generous. You need to shift the gears in order to keep the momentum going with feeling of lag even obvious at low speeds.

Once one gets past the rpm hurdle, Duster gains momentum with its brisk progress. Highway and open stretches is sure to excite the Duster owners more than the congested slow moving city traffic. Mid range is the strength of this K 9 K Duster diesel motor and gear ratios are also matched for performance than the drivability.

Engine is mated with 6-speed manual transmission. As we already told you that clutch feels heavy which is not very comfortable in the city. Brakes however bite well and are reassuring with disc-drum combination at the front and back respectively.

Renault Duster - Suspension

Duster features McPherson struts up front and torsion beam axle at the rear to suspend the wheels. Front hardware also consists of coil spring and anti-roll bar for 16” alloy wheels shrouded with 215 mm wide rubber.

Monocoque construction and rigid chassis had made their difference with Duster behaving like an accomplished vehicle on dynamics front. Though ride is not that well sorted especially at the slow speeds, Duster tends to stabilise as whack increases. On speed Duster feels quite flat to run and its wider body must be given some credit to this stability. 

Handling of Duster is quite entertaining with almost no signs of body roll. Compact length and rigid controls makes the handling this compact SUV like a child’s play and Duster has nothing to offend you even if you throw it aggressively around the corners. On dynamics front Duster is far more accomplished than many class higher SUVs’ and this feature is sure to get liked by the masses. 

Renault Duster-Overall Verdict

Duster range starts from 7.49 lakh for base petrol model however the range stretches itself to 11.70 lakh for top end diesel variant RxZ (prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). This time Renault’s got it right as Duster hasn’t repeated the Koleos mistake. With excellent VFM proposition, Duster has a lot of things going for it. Styling, performance, dynamics and practicality are sure to pull the customers into company’s showrooms though there are some areas which require urgent attention too. Interiors are not all that perfect, material quality left us wanting more and ergonomics are not perfect too. In addition expanding and revamping the company’s dealership networks to tier-II and tier-III cities must be on the high priority list of the Renault’s because it is now these cities which are driving the market and supposedly  going to write the second success story of Indian automobile sector.

Renault Duster-Overall Rating

Style & Substance              : 4.5/5                                        Ride & Handling         : 4/5

Interiors & Ergonomics:    : 3/5                                           Safety & Equipment  : 4/5

Engine &Transmission       : 3.5/5                                        Fuel Efficiency            : 3/5

Value for Money                : 4/5

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