Mahindra and Renault avoided the direct face-off in past though today by look of things, this comparison has become inevitable. Scorpio and Duster have gone all-out to lure the young demographics that make for chunk of entry-level SUV demand. Scorpio is ruling this space for eons and its latest iteration has further raised the segment benchmark. Equipped by new chassis and comprehensive makeover, Scorpio is vying to rewrite the rules of the game. Renault too, has hit the sweet spot with its Duster as this French automaker is selling more Dusters than combined sales of all its other models. Further the company has recently kited out Duster with All-Wheel Drive software; an attempt clearly aimed to widen Duster’s appeal among hard-core off roaders and auto enthusiasts’. Further the unmistakable hostility on pricing front makes both these players a potential contender for our road test comparison review. So before you sign on dotted line to go ahead with purchase of either vehicle make sure you read our comparison review before going ahead with purchase of either vehicle.
Manly and muscular turnout is one of the very basic prerequisites for success in SUV category. Size, dimensions, masculinity etc. are stepping stones of success here and despite of being dwarfed by Scorpio in every dimensional parameter, Renault Duster emerges on top of the game.
Wide-shouldered Duster AWD
Its broad shoulders, flared arches, characteristic creases and AWD badging make it a living testimony of strength and virility. No other SUV can match the dynamism and sheer strength that Duster AWD brings to table and even Mahindra Scorpio struggles to match the standard of Duster.
The real spoiler in Mahindra design is its upright stance and bland slab-like rear that even neutralize the advantage of new frontage Scorpio has successfully accrued to its account. That said, Scorpio is not unwatchable and has right mixture of strength and heroic attitude. Smartly designed LED lids, new lineage grille and DRLs’ makes Scorpio both visually effective and practically efficient in its demeanour. It has larger footprints compared to Duster and will definitely commands more respect once viewed in rear-view mirrors.
Duster AWD: 4/5 2014 Scorpio: 3.5/5
Interiors and Space
Interiors tip the scales in favour of new Scorpio as it has more contemporary and coherent design theme inside the cabin. Duster AWD come with good amount of equipment though can’t hold candle with Scorpio’s better managed and disciplined approach.
Scorpio’s attractive 2-tone shade
Scorpio has used dual-shade on both dash and seats that looks pleasing and quite appealing as well. Scooped dash-board is tucked away into the front and frees up lot of space up front. Room at the back is abundant too and unlike Duster AWD, which is strictly 5-seater, Scorpio can easily take your extended family of up to 7 members to places in utmost comfort.
Duster AWD lacks finesse
Duster, on the other hand, has nothing special in its kitty to boast about. Instrumentation, dash, central stack and space; each of these parameters performs on par with average standards and though these are liveable, there is nothing to write home about. Plastic devoid soft-touch feels and though these are hardwearing, lacks the premium feel that a vehicle at this price point must exude. Space at both front and back row is good but it loses the plot as Scorpio can carry additional passengers courtesy of its third-row of seating layout.
Duster AWD: 3/5 2014 Scorpio: 4/5
Powered by different capacity diesel engines, both Duster and Scorpio claim to be best in the crucial area of performance. One quick peek into spec sheet and it is immediately evident that Scorpio triumphed over Duster in terms of pure displacement and performance figures. 2.2-litre engine that pushes out 122 PS and 280 Nm while Duster delivers 110 PS and 248 Nm derived from 1.5-litre dCi mill.
Addictive powerful 1.5-dCi Duster
Now these initial impressions are though not long lasting as Duster makes up for lost ground owing to its light weight. It is way off lighter than bulky Scorpio and this explains why it in fact it feels better on real-world performance. The engine runs smoothly and without any power hiccups. The 6-speed gearbox feels nice and well thought out gear ratios complements the nature of engine. Drivability is strong and high-way performance is smooth as well.
Mahindra 2.2-litre m HAWK
Scorpio’s engine feels competent too and its higher torque output makes it quite an effortless puller under wide range of driving situations. Drivability, however, is not as good as of Duster and the higher noise intruding inside the cabin makes the things a little unpleasant. NVH levels in isolation is well-controlled though compared to Duster, lags behind by few notches. Gearbox is 5-spped and though it is considerably improved over its previous iteration, it still lacks the snappy feel. Shifts require some directional efforts that don’t bode well for the overall feel of driving experience.
Duster AWD: 4/5 2014 Scorpio: 3/5
Duster light weight and small foot-prints have direct bearing on its dynamics as this SUV conquers all terrains in comfortable and competent manner. Ride quality is plaint and despite of being softly sprung, the suspension handles the handling tasks quite well. There is limited body roll and even thrown out manoeuvres doesn’t completely deter composure of Duster. Steering provides good feedback and the way it gets weighted up at high speeds, makes it quite entertaining and engaging to drive.
Renault Duster with better dynamics
Scorpio has covered lot of ground with its new chassis and suspension system as its previous iteration was cursed heavily for poor driving dynamics. This new version is definitely a huge improvement in right direction though it still has to travel some way before it matches with Duster’s capabilities.
Mahindra Scorpio: Still an errant child
Despite of being underpinned by lighter and rigid chassis, Scorpio still teds to err at high-speeds. Stability has no doubt improved over earlier Scorpio, it has that typical woollen-layer feel that makes the driver alert all the time. Handling has got improvement shot though you can’t be too careful about it.
Duster AWD: 4/5 2014 Scorpio: 3/5
On value for money (VFM), Scorpio takes the driving seat as it costs a good Rs 1 lakh cheaper than Duster AWD that retails at Rs 13 lakh. Scorpio’s appeal is hard to beat and in its latest version, Mahindra has further upped it ante. It is more imposing, having better road presence and backed by wider dealership network. That said, the result of comparison review definitely favours the Renault Duster that has emerged victor in almost all the parameters expect space. Duster emerges as well-engineered product that has better overall value constellation. It looks more macho, performs better and drives like a dream. It sips fuel less and its city-practicality put it in altogether different league. So if you are looking for a complete SUV package and can live without extra row of seats, then Duster makes an ideal choice. Agreed it costs more than Scorpio but then it doles out the benefits that are simply out of Scorpio’s reach.
Duster AWD: 4/5 2014 Scorpio: 3/5