Renault Duster Long Term
The Renault Duster is the apt vehicle for our road conditions.
The The Renault Duster came and conquered in no time at all. The SUV trend is catching up in the Indian market and most buyers are opting to go for this body style over the conventional three box. Currently the Duster has recorded itself in the books as India’s largest selling SUV. It is also the sole reason for Renault’s success in India, contributing to more than 85% sales for the French automaker. We drive Renault’s best seller over a long term stint to find out what’s so special about this compact SUV.
The exterior styling may not appeal at first glance but this is one vehicle whose design gradually grows on you. The aggressive front grille, double barrel headlamps, roof rails and the macho wheel arches deliver the SUV charm in full capacity.
The dashboard is simple and well put together. It may be harsh to call the interior styling bland but it’s definitely different to the one we are used to. The two tone dashboard is well put together and never did we face any issues of it rattling. However Renault has built the Duster to a price and there are bits which won’t please you. The driver’s seat height adjuster is one such thing. It’s flimsy and looks cheap.
The Renault Duster gets audio controls on the steering, well behind the steering to be precise. Rather unconventional but works well once you get the hang of it. We specifically like the dial which is used to change tracks, you can directly jump to say track 6 by rotating it 6 postions. The plastic quality of this interior is best described as average. Sound quality is strictly average too. The Duster does get phoneconnectivity and you can stream music from your phone. USB/AUX has been catered for as well. Seating is comfortable and the commanding driving position is addictive. Legroom is compromised for the rear seat middle passenger due to the rear air-conditioning vent, which cools really well. Even in the summer heat, the Duster kept us comfortable. The boot is huge and can pack enough luggage for the entire family.
Our 110 PS Duster proved to be brilliant on the highways and pulls cleanly even in fifth gear from moderate speeds. However in bumper to bumper traffic the initial turbo lag makes it a bit difficult to drive. The heavy clutch does not help matters one bit. One the upside, the Duster’s ride quality is unmatched. It glides over the worst of roads with the suspension absorbing the bumps exceptionally well, keeping the passengers comfortable. The tyres do their part in cushioning the ride further The SUV like approach, departure and ramp over angles ensure the ground never kisses the Dusters underbelly.
The Duster drives like a car and has virtually no bodyroll. The steering is decently heavy and weighs up well at high speeds. The feedback is very good but the steering does transfer vibrations while cornering hard on broken roads. We loved its car like dynamics and Renault has done a great job in the ride and handling department. High speed stability deserves a special mention.
The K9k 110 dCi diesel engine is returning around 12.9 km/l in a mixed driving cycle which includes both city and highway driving conditions. The range is good and are getting nearly 900 kms on a full tank of fuel.
The Renault Duster is the apt car for shooting. The boot is big enough to hold equipment while the handling is crisp enough to keep up with the Kawasaki Ninja 300 on the twisties of Lavasa.
After doing more than 3000 kms in the Duster, you can’t help but know that Renault has got the right product at the right time. The SUV demand continues to grow and inspite of so many price increments, the Renault Duster remains as India’s favorite compact SUV.