Renault India is betting big on the Duster crossover, which the French automaker plans to launch next month. The company has not confirmed the date yet but have conveyed to us that a July launch is on the cards. The Renault Duster has been all over Chennai lately, with the company extensively testing the compact SUV before the launch. The Duster is a highly awaited product and its importance in the Indian market cannot be ignored. The Duster will have no competition for quite some time but Mahindra’s mini-Xylo will indirectly compete with it. The mini-Xylo is set for an August launch, while the Ford EcoSport will only be here in 2013.
Renault had initially confirmed the launch of the Duster for June, which was also conveyed on their website. However the company later pushed it back to October but has now pre-poned it to July. The reason for so many changes to the launch date is still unknown. The success of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga might have made the Renault management sit up and take notice. We have also been hearing about Renault going extremely aggressive with the pricing of the Duster, which could start a shade below Rs. 7 lakhs for the base diesel.
The Renault Duster will be powered by both petrol and diesel engines. Both the engines do duty on the Nissan Sunny, helping Renault save costs. The 1.5-litre petrol motor produces a peak power output of 97 BHP at 6000 RPM and peak torque output of 134 Nm at 4000 RPM. The diesel engine on the other hand is the 1.5-litre dCi unit, which produces a peak power output of 108 PS. Both these engines are expected to be very frugal and will be mated to a manual gearbox. Renault might slip in a 4-wheel drive variant along with an autobox next year.