Renault Duster Facelift First Drive

Renault Duster Overview

It is the revised and improved version of the SUV that started the avalanche of compact SUVs in the country; a segment that the Hyundai Creta is currently milking. The Creta had delivered a knockout punch to the Duster not just by winning every comparison test it entered, but by outselling the Renault Duster by a huge margin.The latter isn’t taking this thrashing lying down, and now with its refreshed exterior, improved interior quality, more equipment and crucially, an affordable and efficient automatic gearbox, the Renault Duster is back with a vengeance. For information on contact details of Renault car dealers in Mumbai

Check for Renault Duster On Road Price in Pune at CarzPrice

Renault Duster Design & Style

Those anticipating a sea change to the exterior would be disappointed to know that Renault hasn’t fiddled much with the Duster’s design. Yes, the purposeful-looking stance is still there though what’s new for this 2016 model is some garnishing to the bits that matter. The square-ish headlights, for instance, are a lot busier now and feature multiple sharp creases and the front bumper, too, is equally refreshed with dollops of brushed silver cladding.

Never is a major facelift complete without a newer set of alloy wheels and for the Duster, Renault has opted for a 5-spoke blacked-out design that seems to have been inspired from those good old die-cast models from Hot Wheels.

The new Duster also gets chunky-looking roof rails, different wing mirrors and a revised taillight cluster with funky detailing. While these new taillights retain the basic shape of the old units, they do look rather nice when lit up. Rounding off the changes, there’s a new colour option as seen on the car here. Called Cayenne orange, this shade really brings out the taut and beefy lines of the Duster.

Renault Duster Cabin & comfort

Though Renault has made improvements over the years, the Duster’s cabin has always come across as a bit utilitarian. That feeling has reduced, though still not completely gone, thanks to a fresh round of upgrades on this facelifted version. For starters, the new black and chocolate-brown plastics help cover up the rougher edges better than the lighter tones of the earlier Duster. You’ll also notice more silver highlights and a bit more chrome detailing (on the air-con vents, for instance) that help spruce up the cabin. The centre console also gets a lot more gloss-black plastic. On the whole quality has improved, but it’s still not at Hyundai levels.

The facelifted Duster also gets embossed branding atop the glovebox, but only those very familiar with the earlier Duster’s cabin will note that the layout of the centre console has been slightly revised. The buttons for the hazard lights and door lock now sit higher up and are more convenient to access. On a related note, the mirror controls that were formerly under the handbrake have been moved to the more traditional position near the window switches, which is more practical. However, the cruise control switches are still scattered between the dash and steering, and the steering column-mounted audio controllers continue to remain out of view. The cumbersome driver’s seat height adjust is also something that should have been improved. The seats themselves are trimmed in richer fabrics and the front pair get armrests for added comfort.

Renault Duster Engine & Transmission

The Duster is offered with two engines, one each of petrol and diesel. Knowing well that the diesel is likely to be the overwhelming choice, Renault India is offering the engine in two states of tune. Of course, the engine here is the now familiar 1.5L K9K dCi engine, which is shared by quite a few cars from the brand. The variant with the higher state of tune features this 1,461cc diesel engine with a variable geometry turbocharger and an intercooler, which together bump up the peak power to 110PS, which is available from about 3,900 rpm. Peak torque of 248Nm is delivered at a bit delayed 2,250 rpm. Just like the numbers indicate, the engine starts delivering decent levels of pulling power to the front wheels only after the needle crosses the 1,500 rpm level.

I drove this version of the Duster only and though I felt the turbo lag a bit more due to the hilly terrain that I was testing it out in, buyers who will be mostly driving it in urban conditions will probably not miss more torque in lower end of the rpm band. This 110PS variant is mated to a six-speed gearbox with a very sedan-like short throw, slick shifting gear stick. The same common rail direct injection engine is also offered with a lower tune state. Here the engine produces 85PS of power at 3,750 rpm and peak torque output is 200Nm at 1,900rpm.

Going by the stats, this engine could be the one that is more suited to urban driving conditions, with more lower end torque and possibly more fuel efficiency too. This could be the version that rakes in the most numbers, since most city buyers should be satisfied with this level of performance. Both the diesel variants offer the best performance when the engine is kept within a 2,000 to 3,500 rpm band.

The petrol engine on offer is the Renault 1.6 K4M engine. The 1,598cc engine produces 104PS of peak power at 5,850 rpm and 145Nm of peak torque at 3,750 rpm. The petrol engine version and the 85PS diesel version are both paired with a 5-speed gearbox. The Duster is not being offered with a four-wheel drive option, though it is available in other markets.

Renault Duster Driving Dynamics

The New Renault Duster AMT is surprisingly a delight to drive. What came to notice instantly is that it responds well to throttle inputs. Drive with a heavy foot and the upshifts get delayed, thereby providing adequate power. The AMT is very easy to drive in the city. The good part is that the usual lag during shifts, that AMTs have, is reduced and is hardly felt while driving in a relaxed manner. Its only when you push the New Renault Duster AMT hard that the lag is evident.

Another impressive thing about the New Renault Duster AMT was that while driving in the manual mode, rev-limiter comes in to play only beyond 5000 rpm. This gives ample room to the driver for maneuvering the SUV as desired and is especially useful while driving in hilly areas and ghats. I would’ve preferred a slightly taller gear selector lever in the AMT. The lever in the New Renault Duster AMT feels a tad short and hence one needs to stretch out a bit more than normal, while driving in manual mode.

Renault Duster Safety & Security

Talking about safety, the 2016 Renault Duster comes with dual front airbags and ABS. The AMT transmission also gets features like Hill Hold and ESP. There is also a traction control system on offer which does its job pretty well should you decide to have some fun around the twisties. In terms of after-sales service, Renault does have a not-so-good network and it just doesn’t match the quality levels of Hyundai for that matter.

Renault Duster Cost in Bangalore

Renault Duster Ex-Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 8,68,453/- (Duster RxE Petrol) to 13,94,239/- (Duster RxZ Diesel 110PS 4×2 MT). Get best offers for Renault Duster from Renault Dealers in Bangalore. Check for Duster price in Bangalore at Carzprice

Renault Duster conclussion

The Renault Duster has now got a new lease of life with so many significant updates. It looks younger, gets more appeal and also comes with the convenience of an AMT gearbox. Sure, it lacks the finesse of its direct rival, the Hyundai Creta, but otherwise it is very fun to drive and power is in abundance too. The Renault Duster has positioned itself as a very strong product in the affordable SUV space and with all these enhancements, the vehicle has just improved its own standing in the market.

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