Renault Duster Expert Review

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Introduction

Renault Duster
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Renault originally entered the Indian market in a joint venture with Mahindra in the year 2007 with the  Logan (Now the Mahindra Verito). Even with all the experience from the joint venture and data from its sister company Nissan, it failed to create traction with its initial portfolio which included the Fluence, Koleos and Pulse. Renault entered India as a standalone in the year 2011, but continued to see dismal sales figures. The Duster debuted in mid 2012 and turned things around for Renault in India almost overnight.  Banking on its success, Renault also added an All-Wheel Drive variant to the lineup.  

The Duster captured the mini SUV market with its SUV form and compact size. A segment that everyone, right from Hyundai, Ford and even Maruti, now have their eye on.

The market has had an onslaught of cross-over SUVs since the Duster broke cover, but the Renault has managed to hold its own. What makes the Duster so desirable as opposed to a full-size SUV’s which boast better off-road capability and could seat 2 more than the mini SUVs? We find out!

Pros
  • Diesel motor (especially in the 110PS variant) can munch miles for ages. Complements the Duster’s go-anywhere nature to the T.
  • Has good road presence. Looks like a scaled down SUV rather than a blown up hatchback.
  • Available in an AWD (All wheel drive) variant. The Creta, Ecosport and other crossovers are offered only in FWD (Front Wheel Drive).
Cons
  • The cabin feels dated in terms of materials. Ergonomic issues = central locking button, mirror adjustment knobs etc. placed in unconventional locations.
  • The design is ageing. With a host of fresh offering from the competition, the car is crying out for an update.
  • Can seat a maximum of 5 people comfortably. Other full-size SUVs can seat 7. While the duster is offered with a jump seat, they are not very useful.
  • Petrol engine feels out of breath quickly, not the most fuel efficient either.

Stand Out Features

  • Only compact SUV to feature AWD. Neither the Creta nor the Terrano offer a 4WD variant.

    Only compact SUV to feature AWD. Neither the Creta nor the Terrano offer a 4WD variant.

  • Features India’s only 6-speed AMT. It is the first AMT in India to be paired with features like cruise control and hill assist.

    Features India’s only 6-speed AMT. It is the first AMT in India to be paired with features like cruise control and hill assist.

  • Space. The cabin is roomy & offers an enormous boot of 475 liters.

    Space. The cabin is roomy & offers an enormous boot of 475 liters.

CarDekho Verdict

The Duster stands as our favorite as it ticks two boxes. One, it’s a capable highway vehicle. Two, it’s a capable off-roader. Obviously, it won't climb rocks like the Thar, but soft off-roading is fun in the AWD Duster. While the Creta is a looker it lacks out on the 4x4 option.

"If you want the best of both worlds, the Duster AWD is your best bet!"

Bottom line, pick up the Thar if you want a pure off-roader. A Creta if you want the comfort of a premium hatch but the feel of an SUV. If you want the best of both worlds, the Duster AWD is your best bet! You could also get your hands on the regular/Explore editions of the Duster to skip the waiting time of the Creta and get a good deal before the revamped version make their way to the showroom.

For all we know, the updated Duster could shake this space up even further! We’ll keep you updated as soon as it gets here.

Variants

  • Diesel
  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
85PS Diesel STD Tilt Adjustable Steering, Air Conditioner With Heater, Remote Central Locking, 9.36 Lakh*
85PS Diesel RxE [ In adition to 85PS Diesel STD ] ABS With EBD, Front And Rear Power Windows, LED Taillamps, [ Variant 85PS Diesel STD price ] + 19,700 =  9.56 Lakh*
85PS Diesel RxS [ In adition to 85PS Diesel RxE ] Alloy Wheels, Dual Airbags, Touchscreen Infotainment, [ Variant 85PS Diesel RxE price ] + 1,07,400 =  10.63 Lakh*
85PS Diesel RxZ [ In adition to 85PS Diesel RxS ] Reverse Parking Camera, Driver Seat Height Adjuster, Cruise Control, [ Variant 85PS Diesel RxS price ] + 90,300 =  11.54 Lakh*
Variants Features Price
1.5 Petrol RXE ABS With EBD, Front And Rear Power Windows, Side And Tailgate Decals, 8.43 Lakh*
1.5 Petrol RXL [ In adition to 1.5 Petrol RXE ] Multi Information Display, Driver Airbag, Infotainment System, [ Variant 1.5 Petrol RXE price ] + 79,100 =  9.22 Lakh*
Petrol RXS CVT [ In adition to 1.5 Petrol RXL ] Automatic Transmission, Touchscreen Infotainment, Dual Airbags, [ Variant 1.5 Petrol RXL price ] + 93,000 =  10.15 Lakh*

The Renault Duster is offered in five variants - STD, RXS, RXL, RXZ and RXS CVT

Renault Duster similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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