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New Renault Duster: First Look Review

  • Mar 18, 2015
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[caption id="attachment_15735" align="alignnone" width="879"]New Renault Duster New Renault Duster[/caption]

When Renault launched the Duster in 2011, little did we know that it would turn out be such a huge market hit in India. Over the last three and a half years, the French automaker has sold more than 2 lakh Dusters in the country, and till date the compact SUV is selling like hot cakes. The soaring success of the Duster can be attributed to the fact that it’s in many ways a perfect car for our road conditions. It rides and handles beautifully for its segment, and comes packaged with all the necessary bits and bobs one would want in their car.

Later in 2014, Renault also introduced an AWD variant to the Duster range so as to broaden the car’s appeal among consumers. However, there have been a number of new car launches in the market in recent times, especially at a price-point where the Duster is also marketed and sold. Due to this very fact, the best-selling Renault SUV is now feeling the heat while it has also resulted in stagnant monthly sales of the Duster. As a consequence, Renault has updated the Duster with additional equipment, exterior and interior enhancements, uprated powertrain and a few new features. Lets take a first look low down on each of these new additions and improvements on the car,

Exterior:

[caption id="attachment_15751" align="alignnone" width="659"]New Renault Duster smoked headlamps New Renault Duster smoked headlamps[/caption]

The Duster has always been an elegant and understated looking SUV unlike most of its competitors which are outright edgy and aggressive. The new Duster is no different in this respect, and carries forward the same design and bodyshell. To make it look more appealing though, Renault has tweaked the exterior with a fresh look by adding smoked headlamps, body-colored ORVM covers and body-color door handles.

[caption id="attachment_15752" align="alignnone" width="1024"]New Renault Duster gets new alloy wheels New Renault Duster gets new alloy wheels[/caption]

Apart from the aforementioned inclusions, the sporty bits like massive wheel arches, roof rails, blackened alloy wheels etc., have been retained from the outgoing model. All in all, the exterior updates on the new Duster are minimal.

Interior:

[caption id="attachment_15749" align="alignnone" width="669"]New Renault Duster interior New Renault Duster interior[/caption]

Inside the new Duster, it’s a similar story. The cabin layout and design remains unchanged from the outgoing car but, Renault insists that it has improved the quality of materials inside by incorporating soft-touch plastics, new fabric upholstery and better sound deadening for added comfort factor.

[caption id="attachment_15750" align="alignnone" width="937"]New Renault Duster instrument console New Renault Duster instrument console[/caption]

Among other highlights, the 3-spoke steering wheel comes as standard across all variants, and it also features buttons for infotainment & cruise-control.The new Duster 2WD variants also get a new instrument cluster, lifted directly from the AWD variants of the car. This means the top-end variants of the new Duster come with a MID (multi-information display) with service reminders, real-time fuel efficiency display, distance to empty warning, ambient temperature, gear-shift indicator and average speed display. In addition to that, a three-pod instrument cluster with chrome-surround dials with white backlight, is standard across the range.

[caption id="attachment_15748" align="alignnone" width="579"]New Renault Duster now comes with cruise control New Renault Duster now comes with cruise control[/caption]

The new Duster gains a lot of equipment as compared to the previous model. Driver comfort has been improved by an 8-way adjustable seat, arm-rest, one-touch turn indicator, cruise control and speed limiter etc. There’s also an all new multimedia system with integrated navigation. Safety net on the new model comprises dual-front airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, rear defogger and wiper with washer, speed sensitive door locks, impact sensing auto door unlock, rapid deceleration warning etc.

The Duster has often being criticized for its subpar interior quality. In the new model, Renault seems to have improved on that factor, while it has also given an added set of new features and equipment.

Engine & Transmission:

[caption id="attachment_15742" align="alignnone" width="614"]New Renault Duster engine New Renault Duster engine[/caption]

Powertrain choices on the new Duster continue to be the same as before, although, Renault says it has made some tweaks for better refinement and driveability. Powering the petrol version of the car is the same 1.6-litre petrol engine that develops 104PS @5, 750rpm and 148Nm @ 3,750 rpm. While the power figure remains identical, the torque has been raised up from the previous models’ 145Nm. The engine comes paired to a 5-speed manual transmission, and is claimed to return a fuel-efficiency of 13.24km/l (ARAI certified).

The diesel variants of the new Duster will be made available with the same 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine in two states of tune. The lower powered engine tune develops 85PS @ 3,750rpm and 200Nm @ 1,750rpm- note that the peak torque is now produced at lower rpm as compared to 1,900rpm previously. The more powerful diesel engine tune is rated at 110PS @ 4,000rpm and 245Nm @ 1,750rpm. This suggests the engine now develops its peak-power at a higher rpm than before (110PS @ 3,900rpm). The torque is also down in the new model, which earlier stood at 248Nm @ 2,250rpm.

[caption id="attachment_15747" align="alignnone" width="659"]New Renault Duster comes with a 6-speed manual in 110PS diesel version New Renault Duster comes with a 6-speed manual in 110PS diesel version[/caption]

The 85PS diesel version comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission whereas the 110PS is offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Surprisingly enough, the fuel economy for the 85PS diesel has gone down from 20.45km/l to 19.87km/l in the new model. On the other hand, the 110PS engine is more efficient now and returns 19.64 km/l as compared to 19.01 km/l earlier. The new Duster is also equipped with an ‘ECO mode’ button that helps the 110PS diesel mill achieve about 10% more in terms of fuel-efficiency.

The new Renault Duster is priced between Rs 8.30 lakh to Rs 13.55 lakh across diesel and petrol variants.
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