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Hands on a review from 2016 Renault Duster AMT Owner

for 110PS Diesel RxZ AMT
On: Oct 12, 2016 | 169 Views

You all would have read the reviews by professionals and seen the first drive video at the online auto portal. This one is different, thinking aloud kind of review from my experience with Duster RxZ AMT since May 2016. I have done the mixed driving (in City 2000 Kms and Long drives 3000 Kms). The blended mileage is 15.9 KMPL, as I read from the trip computer. I have done a thorough test drive before buying and know all the shortcomings, at least most. The car handles city roads, potholes, rumble strips and bad roads nicely. It is a pleasure to drive this car when it's dark and raining. The AMT is just the right thing for inching city traffic.(I live in Chennai). On the highway, it rides like dream. Acceleration is not the forte of AMT version, but one can't have it all for 16 Lakhs.

I said nothing wrong about this ride yet I gave it 3 stars only. You want to know why for sure. There are few serious problems with Duster AMT, apart from the tiny glove compartment, imaginary water bottle holders and impractical driver seat height adjustment.

1) The new roof rails generate huge amount of wind noise that you can't hear conversation from back seat passenger or music. Of Course after 90 KMPH, but with such powerful car one would like to cruise on highway at reasonable highway speeds. It got my temperament so badly messed up.I tried covering the holes in 4 supporting blocks that house the roof rails, to no respite. I don't have time to get rid of the handsome looking rails, beauty after performance and comfort, right??? It beats me why Renault engineers didn't do a wind tunnel experiment to check the noise levels of this vehicle. The roof rail and supporting blocks are so against aerofoil theory thus generating maddening noise.

2) The cruise control logic is so messed up. Let me qualify myself first, I have been using cruise control on automatic cars in UAE and USA for several years. After braking when you reach close to cruising speed you want to use the "resume" button. I did that and my set speed was 120 KMPH. What a normal car will do is accelerate and reach that speed in reasonable time. What Duster did is to try and reach that speed in a very short time. I was in 90 KMPH when I hit the resume button. The car promptly when down to 4th gear from 6th and engine howled. Around 110 it came to 5ht gear and only after reaching 120 it changed to 6th gear. That's pretty foolish, even a novice like me can write a better algorithm for cruise control.

3) The air conditioner is not powerful enough to cool the cabin. Front windshield angle make the cabin warmer by facilitating direct sunlight inside. I have fixed 3M CR70 film inside front windshield yet no respite. Black plastic over the dash heats up A/C ducts so much that the air conditioner becomes even less effective. I am using a grey colour turkey towel now to keep my A/C ducts cool.

Do I repent my decision to buy this car, I don't know really. I am trying to get the roof rails removed this week. Be smart with cruise and keep the towel on.

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