The Renault Duster gets updated with an all-wheel drive system that works beautifully off-road, while the cabin gets the addition of new features on this no frills compact SUV.

Renault Duster AWD Launch
The Renault Duster finally gets updated with All-Wheel Drive system

After a really long wait, 4×4 enthusiasts have finally a reason to rejoice as the Renault Duster AWD has been launched today. Prices start at Rs. 11.89 lakhs for the RxL while the RxZ will cost you Rs 12.99 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). With subtle changes and the inclusion of new equipment, the new flagship Duster can now go almost anywhere, tread any path and conquer new roads with the capability of All-Wheel Drive at its disposal. Launched in 2012, the Duster has been long awaited to get an all-wheel drive system that would make this no frills SUV perfect for some weekend slush fun without having to compromise on creature comforts.

The visual changes are too minimal and do not really make a big difference to the new Duster’s appeal. You do get additional new decals on the sides, blackened B-pillars and the tail gate carrying the 4×4 and AWD badge that differentiate the 4×4 model from the regular version. The SUV continues with the single chrome grille, while the alloy wheels have been finished in graphite grey. On the inside however, the list of changes is positively extensive and give a refreshing new look to the cabin, getting rid of the mundane bits.

The new feature list includes the 3-spoke steering wheel with mounted cruise control buttons, new 3-pod instrument cluster with chrome bezels and an updated MID screen that shows important information like fuel mileage, range, consumption and much more. Another major addition is the new touchscreen infotainment system that offers navigation and maps as well as Bluetooth and other media connectivity. The centre console also accommodates the new AWD switch. Unlike the regular variants, the AWD version’s dashboard has been finished in dual tone shades of grey and black, while the seats have been upholstered in fabric with red and grey shades.

In terms of powertrain, the Renault Duster continues with the same 1.5-litre k9k diesel engine that produces 110 PS of power at 3900 RPM and 248 Nm of torque at 2250 RPM, paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Renault has updated the ECU to improve the low-end power output to make off-roading easier. However, the newly included gem is the All-Wheel Drive version that comes with 3 driving modes namely 2WD that sends power to only the front wheels, Auto that sends power to the rear wheels when the front wheels lose traction, while the Lock mode allows the Duster to remain in AWD mode till the speed of 60 km/hr.

Complimenting the all-wheel drive system are additional driver assist systems that include hill hold and traction control systems, which allow for worry free off-roading. The Renault Duster AWD sports a ground clearance of 205 mm (same as the regular version) and comes with a decent 30-degree approach and 35-degree departure angles that will make sure you do not scrape the under belly on any occasion. The SUV also get an independent suspension set-up that allows for an improved ride quality on the car. Renault states an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 19.72 km/l on the Duster AWD; however, we would recommend you take that loosely.

Targeted at a niche set of customers, the Duster AWD comes as an excellent mild off-roader, but does lack a certain fit and finish, not to mention the features that should have been provided at this price point. Nonetheless, the Duster AWD competes against the Mahindra Scorpio, Skoda Yeti, Tata Safari and the likes in the segment and is the only compact SUV to offer the option of AWD. As a no frills SUV, the Renault Duster AWD is just the right kind of vehicle that suits tarmac and off-roading needs with ease.

Renault has given the Duster AWD an option of an amazon green colour. The car also gets electronic torque control along with safety features like brake assist, ESP, ESR and understeer control. The MID screen gets a service reminder as well. Make sure to read our comprehensive review of the Renault Duster AWD HERE.

Renault Duster AWD Interiors
The new grey-black cabin gets infotainment system, steering wheel with cruise control
Renault Duster AWD Road Test
The 3-pod instrument cluster gets chrome bezels and updated MID screen
Renault Duster AWD Review
The AWD system is purpose built and does the job very effectively
Renault Duster AWD Price
The Duster AWD gets new decals, badging and blackened B-pillar