Renault Duster Adventure Edition : Road Test

  • Apr 02, 2014

Renault at the 2014 Auto Expo decided to spruce up its bestselling Duster with the launch of limited edition model called the ‘Adventure Edition’. We took it for a spin to the long sweeping roads of Rajasthan to put this adventurous Duster through its paces.


Most special edition / limited edition cars in India are subject to sticker jobs and a few frills in the name of equipment. The Renault Duster Adventure Edition though is a little bit apart even if it sticks to the basic idea that these special/limited edition models adhere to.

On the outside, the most prominent and best element of the Duster Adventure Edition I have to say is the colour. While the Duster is available with a choice of six colours to choose from, that metallic woodland brown never really worked for a lot of people. This new 'Amazon Green' shade though that appears to be based on the same shade but gets a nice green tint to it looks rather smashing. The Adventure Edition of the Renault Duster is also available in two other shades, namely, pearl galaxy black and pearl supreme white which are part of the standard colour options available for the Duster.

The pleasant new shade is complimented by black plastic body cladding that stretches from the standard lower black section of the bumpers and around the wheel arches, the meanwhile rocker panel continues to be finished in the same black plastic cladding like on standard models. The front bumper also gets a faux plastic bull bar housing two extra fog lamps. Because the quality of the plastic cladding is good, the Adventure Edition Duster does look rather nice which is further complimented by the smoked headlamps and alloy wheels. Completing the exterior make over are compass face stickers on the D-pillars and an Adventure sticker on the tail gate.

The rest of the exteriors of Duster Adventure Edition remains the same as the standard model with its large headlamps and chrome grille at the front, the bonnet retains its subtle lines for a power dome and the bumper has a silver insert on the bottom centre section of the bumper.

The side profile of the Renault Duster in Adventure Edition form retains its large flared wheel arches, the doors and window line retain their flat contour, black B pillars with a kink in the rear quarter window. The windscreen is steeply raked and the ORVMs and roof rails continue to be finished in black and sliver plastic.

The rear of the Adventure Edition Duster retains its nicely cut rear windshield, the thick strip of chrome over the license plate housing with Duster engraved on it, the bulges on the tail gate beside rectangular tail lights that do look quite bland. The bumper’s silver centre section at the bottom stands out with reflectors housed on either side and the tow hook located on the top right side. The centre section of the bumper retains its flat design, while the sides with their bulged design lend a muscular stance to the lower section of the SUV.



On the inside, the Renault Duster Adventure Edition comes finished in the classic black interior theme. The model also offers black and lime green fabric seats with light grey trim on the centre section of the dashboard, lime green fabric inserts on the door pads and silver inserts on the door pads and door handles.

The air vents and steering wheel get chrome rings and the chrome Renault lozenge stands out prominently on the steering wheel. While the stalks and switch gear feel well built, the same can’t be said about the HVAC control knobs that feel like they belong from the decade gone by. Nevertheless, plastic quality is good and so is fit and finish. The only thing I miss in here is the nice leather wrapped steering wheel that is fitted to the top-end RxZ variant, this soft touch plastic unit feels a tad rough after the soft leather clad one on the RxZ.

Like the 110PS RxL variant of the Duster, this adventure edition model comes with features such as height adjustable front seat belts, power windows all around, remote central locking, illuminated glove box, electric ORVMs, four fog lamps up front, reverse parking sensors, rear wash wipe, rear defogger and a touch screen infotainment system with satellite navigation hooked to steering column mounted audio controls. While the sat nav system can find most locations with ease I have to say that the system needs to have greater touch sensitivity as you really have to hammer in commands at times. Also, that steering mounted audio control stalk takes some time to get used to.

The seats are nice and supportive at the front and are contoured to hold you better in place while the rear seat provides good under thigh support and the back rest is inclined at the just perfect angle. There is no issue of headroom at the front or rear and shoulder room in the rear seat is adequate for three passengers. The vehicle also comes fitted with a massive folding rear parcel shelf. And the capacious 475 litre boot swallows all your luggage with ease thanks to the tall rear seat that allows you to stack bags.


Engine and Gearbox

The Renault Duster Adventure Edition is powered by the company’s four cylinder1.5 litre K9K turbo diesel engine developing 110PS of power @ 3,900 rpm and 248Nm of torque @ 2,250 rpm. The engine is mated to a smooth shifting six-speed manual gearbox. I have to say that Renault has done a good job at setting up the engine and gearbox combination as the Duster Adventure Edition responds well to throttle inputs. True that there is a bit of turbo lag from the variable geometry turbocharger, but the SUV pulls cleanly from 1,600 rpm with a strong surge of power at 2,000 rpm. The 2,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm rev range is the most meaty part of the rev band, the oil burner will rev to 5,000 rpm but begins to feel strained and the engine note becomes a tad harsh.

The clutch is the downside to the whole package as it feels heavy, something you may not notice out on the highway, but under traffic conditions it can be an issue. The short ratios for first, second and third gear mean that you can keep the engine on the power at all times, alternatively you can crawl at a higher gear to avoid frequent gear changes. You do have to remember that using that heavy clutch in stop start traffic can be a bane.

Once you get going though, you won’t really care about the heavy clutch as the Duster’s engine is fairly rev happy for a diesel and accelerates in a linear manner. It takes the SUV to triple digit speeds in ease, the 160 km/h mark comes in easily but you do have to push a bit to get it up to 170 km/h.


Ride and Handling

The Renault Duster comes with McPherson Strut suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll bar at the front, the rear suspension has a Torsion beam setup with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. This combined with the monocoque chassis of the Duster gives this SUV car like handling traits. And I have to emphasize that I appreciate the way the suspension has been setup for high speed road manners. The vehicle’s relatively limited length and wide stance also lend to some of the positive handling traits of the vehicle as well.

The Duster’s suspension makes it a breeze to attack high speed corners and despite its height you can easily carry 140 km/h around bends without breaking a sweat. Infact, the Duster is so well balanced that during a long sweeping bend I even managed to barrel down in the tall SUV at 160 km/h! The Duster is very well balanced I must say. When the roads get a little rough the Duster’s suspension takes it all in its stride and even deals with larger potholes with aplomb. The vehicle is never unsettled by bad roads and you can carry good speeds over broken sections of tarmac with minimal vertical movement from the suspension reaching the cabin.

Its only over large speed humps that you can make out that the suspension is slightly on the stiffer side, but only if you carry moderate speeds over them. Otherwise, you wont feel any discomfort or sudden movements.

The ventilated disc brakes upfront and drums at the rear provide good and feelsome braking although their threshold for locking up is rather low and you will feel the ABS kicking in even when the brake pedal is depressed half way at times. Renault should try and recalibrate the braking system to lower the tendency for the wheels to lock up. High speeds braking manners are very good for an SUV and its only at the limit that it can lead the tail to kick out a bit, but its nothing you can’t correct with some steering inputs.

The electro mechanical steering unit while passing on accurate inputs to the front wheels is not as feelsome as a unit of this setup should have been and I would have definitely appreciated some more feedback.

The Duster’s good road manners do provide a comfortable ride over unsurfaced roads although, sharp undulations can send come kickbacks up the steering column and onto your arms. Oh and yes, don’t be mistaken by these pictures of the Duster Adventure Edition by thinking you can go dune bashing in one. Although we achieved some sort of success it did result in us getting stuck in the sand, a lot! And we will have to wait for the 4x4 version of the Duster to hit Indian shores before you can think of a serious dune bashing attempts in a Duster. Until then, this Duster is best left dusting tarmac streets, and its quite good at it doing it I must add.



The Renault Duster Adventure Edition comes fitted with front airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution with brake assist, driver’s seat belt reminder, crumple zones and an under guard for protecting the engine from making contact with objects below. During the 2013 Euro NCAP crash test, the Dacia Duster (read Renault Duster for India) achieved a crash test score of three stars although the UK spec model comes equipped with added safety features such as electronic stability control and traction control.



Renault’s Adventure Edition Duster is an attempt to spruce up the company’s hot selling model in India. And it must be said that Renault has done a rather good job at making the limited edition model stand out. I love the new Amazon Green shade, the smoked headlamps and alloy wheels and the lively lime green inserts inside the cabin. While I’ am not the biggest fan of the sticker job that is part and parcel of the package. The satellite navigation system is a welcome addition to the car’s equipment list and the fact that the vehicle comes loaded with all the safety features standard on the top end model is also appreciated.

On the road, the Duster Adventure Edition handles beautifully and has a very comfortable ride for its segment. Power delivery is always adequate although its not outrightly punchy and the six speed gearbox is a smooth shifting one with the only grouch being the heavy clutch pedal.

The cabin is spacious and offers comfortable seating for five occupants with the spacious boot contributing further to the practicality of the vehicle.

At Rs. 11.79 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Renault Duster Adventure Edition has been priced on par with the top end 110PS Duster RxZ Option pack. And while the Adventure Edition stands out with its styling changes, it misses out on leather upholstery, a height adjustable driver’s seat and rear air vent that the top end Duster comes with. Its a personal choice really then, if you want to go for the fully kitted version of the Duster then the RxZ Option pack makes the most sense and if you want a Duster that stands out of the crowd, the Adventure Edition is the one for you.

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