The K9K diesel engine is one of the best oil burners out there

The 110 PS diesel engine in the Duster AWD offers lag-free performance

Under the hood is the trusted 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine which punches out a healthy 110 PS of power and 245 NM of torque. There is practically no turbo lag which means drivability has improved drastically. Driving through stop-go traffic is not a pain anymore and the 6-speed manual gearbox works well, be it on the highway or the city. Keep the car in 2-wheel-drive mode and you would get similar fuel economy as the regular 4×2 Duster. In ‘All Wheel Drive’ mode, the fuel consumption increases. It is best to leave it in ‘Auto’ mode where the car will automatically detect if it needs to switch over to ‘All Wheel Drive’ mode. We got an average fuel efficiency of around 12.2 km/l with our test car.

Thanks to the fantastic suspension, we had a fatigue-free Delhi-Mumbai drive

The Renault Duster offers stupendous ride quality and handling too is predictable, with the steering giving you more feedback than you want. From an enthusiast’s perspective, it is a very good thing. The Duster probably has the best driving dynamics in the entire segment. Coming to the AWD part. Honestly, we rarely needed to use the AWD mode. Even on rocky terrain, the 2-wheel drive mode is good enough to ensure that you get going even under difficult circumstances. The only time we did need to slot it into AWD was when we took our Duster on loose sand and slush. It tends to loose traction and had it not been for the AWD mode, we would have been stuck.

The chassis and suspension setup is very rugged and reliable

The AWD Duster can surprise you with its brilliant ride quality and handling

Now comes the big question, do you really need to buy the AWD version or is the front-wheel drive good enough for you? Well, if you are someone, who often takes their vehicle off tarmac and who wants the capability of a true SUV, you could consider the AWD variant which is highly capable and gives you the option of having an urban SUV which can transform into a true off-roader at the flick of a button. However, if you only use your car on tarmac, even the front-wheel drive variant is good enough for occasional off-road excursions.