One advantage of the AMT, if you perceive it that way, is about fuel economy. Traditionally it is the manual gearbox which is paired with the AMT and hence the fuel efficiency is similar to what you would get in a manual Duster. The Duster AMT delivered an average fuel efficiency of 12.29 km/l with best and worst being 15.31 km/l and 10.95 km/l respectively. Drive it with a light foot and it will enhance the fuel economy. If you like the pedal to metal technique, not only will it appear to be lazier in shifting gears, it will be noisy and will be harsher on the fuel efficiency front. There are some things we absolutely loved about the Duster and then there were some which needed improvement. Let’s start with the good bits.
Hill Start Assist on the AMT Duster makes it safer and convenient on steep inclines
The Renault Duster facelift addressed the primary ergonomic issues in the cabin, things are more sorted. The vehicle may not be boasting of the best build quality but is quite rough and tough. There are places I have treaded with the Duster, I would think twice in any other city SUV. During the monsoon when half of Mumbai comes to a standstill due to waterlogging, we have been caught out in areas where the water level has been almost above the bumper level. In all probability, I had thought I would have to abandon the car and save myself but the Duster has delivered when it mattered. Moreover, in off-road conditions, we were surprised how even the AMT can handle most of what is thrown at it. There is nothing out there which will deliver this level of ride and handling balance. Ride quality was exceptional over every terrain. In fact, we feel this level of ride quality is what is needed for Indian conditions, especially cities like Mumbai where you literally have to search for the roads post monsoon.
The steering offers terrific feedback and it is something enthusiasts will love but the feedback is a bit too much for the common man. The kickback from the steering can take you by surprise which isn’t a good thing. Something which needs to improve is the touch-screen AVN. It takes so much time to boot. If you start your car and need to reverse out of your parking, it’s display would come on when you are already a kilometre into your journey. And the driver’s seat height adjustment and headlamp leveller is still ridiculous for a car which costs as much. Even the headlight throw at night is very average and doesn’t provide adequate illumination. NVH levels are just average too with engine, road and wind noise evidently audible in the cabin. Interiors, though vastly improved, still show that cost cutting was done in certain places. The AMT is only available in the 110 PS RxZ trim, it could have been offered paired with the AWD, that would be something.