Renault Duster AMT Long Term Review
Car Tested: Renault Duster Facelift RXZ AMT
Kms Done: 2946 kms
Test Started at: 2695 kms
Test Concluded at: 5641 kms
Mileage: 15.3 km/l, 19.50 km/l (best), 11.61 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 193-litres
Total Fuel Cost: Rs. 15,440/-
Fuel Cost Per Km: Rs. 5.24/-
Superb ride and handling balance, brawny looks and a practical cabin make the Duster still a worthy product
The Duster has been an integral part of the MotorBeam Garage since it was first launched in 2012. There is no denying that we absolutely love the Duster, especially for its brilliant dynamics but age has been catching up with it rather quickly. To keep things interesting, Renault gave the Duster another facelift last year. The Duster now got additional bells and whistles with improved NVH and better tuning of the AMT. Renault was happy to send the Duster for us to sample as our daily drive. Unfortunately, a few weeks after we got the car, the inevitable happened.
The world stopped as a microscopic, non-living organism had put brakes on the world. Lockdown was announced and folks at the MotorBeam office were filing and compiling our previously shot stories from home. Even the video editors were working from home. The Duster was just parked for a few weeks and the average monthly running had gone down drastically. Fortunately, I have a dual profession and I had to get back to my clinic and consultations rather quickly. I have been exclusively using the Duster for all my professional commute and it has been serving me rather well.
I love MT cars from an enthusiast’s perspective but prefer to use two-pedal cars as it drastically brings down the fatigue levels during daily commutes in the city. Ironically, during the lockdown, the roads were absolutely empty. Despite numerous police check posts, there was barely anyone on the road. Nevertheless, the AMT box served us well. Yes, the lag is there but with time, you get used to driving it. We noticed that with the facelift, the AMT was much more user friendly with improved shift efficiency. I was stopped frequently by the cops, the doctor’s ID ensured it was brief, but this made me get a doctor sticker for the car, something I have never ever done for media cars. It did the trick and I was stopped less frequently.
Outstanding ride quality combined with a practical cabin made the Duster the perfect weekend getaway car
Since I was going to the hospital, I was keeping myself away from social interactions with friends and family. Didn’t want to risk anyone honestly but the monotony gets to you at times. One day, we decided to do an overnight trip with my immediate family. One of my doctor colleagues has a private campsite in Kolad and was happy to let me onto his property. This was by far, the most exciting trip we did in 2020. The Duster swallowed a lot of luggage and with kids around, it was relatively easy for an adult to comfortably sit in the middle seat with car seats on either side. The roads were pretty bad around the campsite but we managed pretty well. It was rejuvenating to be pampered by nature for a few days.
It is a well-known fact that diesel cars offer much better fuel economy as compared to their petrol counterparts. With clear and open roads, the Duster was returning around 15.3 km/l which improved to 16.5 km/l after servicing as per the suggested service schedule. Even though we had just 5000 km on the odometer, the car was a year old and thus required the oil change. The Duster returned the best fuel efficiency of 19.5 km/l on our trip to Kolad (thanks to the empty roads we encountered and the tall 6th gear) and the worst of 11.6 km/l during a one-off traffic jam on the freeway. The Duster’s oil-burner has a terrific range giving close to 800 kilometres on a full tank and we had verified this with a non-stop drive to Goa last year, in the pre-facelift car.
The best thing I like about the Duster is the stellar ride and handling balance. It feels rugged and can take the worst of roads in its stride. If you stay in Mumbai, you already know how our roads disappear in the monsoons. However, the interiors have been very basic and even with the facelift, it doesn’t compare to the quality and features the competition offers. This is the only gripe I had with the Duster; it doesn’t pamper you like the Koreans. The K9K era has finally come to an end after 8 long years. Since this engine doesn’t make the BS6 cut and in view of the upcoming EV revolution, Renault decided to pull the plug on diesel powertrains.
Definitely, the diesel will be missed and we have some good memories with the Duster over the last few years. However, that is not the end of the Duster, Renault has indeed launched a powerful turbo-petrol variant which doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance. This turbo-petrol is a hoot to drive and is touted to be the most powerful engine in its segment. We have only driven it for a short while and still have to find out how it fares as our daily drive. Alas, this is the end of the diesel and also the AMT. The next-generation Duster will be here in 2023 and hopefully will pose a real threat to the competition.
- Rugged and macho design
- Practical cabin with good amounts of space
- Refined and potent diesel engine
- Superb ride quality and high-speed stability
What’s Not So Cool
- Interior feels dated
- Lacks features and equipment
Further Reading –