Renault, the engine supplier to the Red Bull Formula One Team, earlier this week invited Mark Webber to test the Duster 1.5-litre 4×4 diesel compat SUV in the deserts of Oman. Mark Webber was quite surprised by the agility of the car and impressed with the way the Renault Duster was tackling the desert sand. The Renault Duster is a monocoque compact crossover SUV based on the Dacia Logan platform. The monocoque chassis gives the Duster car like driving dynamics on road. We don’t expect it to do the job of a hardcore off-roader, but the car seems to have done a commendable off-road job especially in a F1 driver’s hand.
This 4×4 version on the Renault Duster is only available in European markets. Renault Duster in India is only available in 2-wheel drive version which has two engine options, 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel. This SUV has received a very good response in the Indian auto industry. It was launched in July this year for a starting price of Rs. 7.19 lakhs, the new Renault Duster now features in the list of top 15 cars sold in India. Renault has even increased its price recently by up to Rs. 40,000/-, but we don’t think it will affect the sales much until its rival Ford EcoSport is launched.
Apart from India, Renault Duster is also available in other auto markets around the globe. In markets where Renault is not present, Duster is sold by Dacia, a Renault owned Romanian vehicle manufacturer. In the UK, the Dacia Duster became the cheapest SUV with a launch price of £8,995. It has already received 1000 pre-bookings with sales starting in January 2013. Renault plans to launch the 4-wheel drive version of the Duster in India by 2014. Nissan will launch a re-branded Duster next year.
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