Renault Duster Facelift Review & Performance

Renault Duster Overview

The Renault Duster 2019 is a highly anticipated car for the Indian market. An India launch of this new SUV is expected next year. A major facelift of the Renault Duster has been pending. Once the best selling SUV, the Duster has lately come under threat from growing competition and lack of features to defend itself. The butchy SUV looks and relatively compact dimensions had customers queuing up to buy this vehicle. The Duster was a favorite for many years. It came with a powerful 1.5-litre diesel engine, all of which made it a winning concoction. It was very comfortable too. Now, with many new premium SUVs and compact SUVs coming in with new features the Duster has to step it’s game up. Test drive for Renault Duster.

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Renault Duster Exterior & Style

In terms of looks, the basic design remains unchanged, but stylistic tweaks here and there do help the Duster look fresh. The square headlights now get more intricate detailing (though there are no DRLs) and there’s a new twin-slat design for the grille as well. There’s a greater dose of brushed silver cladding with chunky scuff plates at the front and rear that seriously enhance the Duster’s SUV credentials. Fatter roof rails with the Duster name embossed on them and new rear view mirrors complete with turn indicators are other elements that help bring the Duster’s appearance up to speed.

The Duster gets new black alloys but the design is quite plain and nowhere near as attractive as the Terrano’s wheels, which is one of the selling points of the Nissan-badged version of the car. Another missed opportunity are the door handles – we just wish the cheap lift-type flaps had made way for pull-type handles. At the rear, the re-profiled tail-lamps get a very distinctive S-shaped LED signature and the brake lights too look unique. Also, our test car came finished in the new shade of Cayenne Orange and the colour sure did its bit to spice up the look.

Renault Duster Interior & Space

An opportunity missed. That is how we have to sum up the interiors of the Duster. The interiors get a new color palette and a few new goodies, but that just doesn’t do justice to the package (and the price) in our books.We believe the Duster could’ve done with an all-new dashboard. The facelift retains the same dash we’ve been seeing for the past half decade. Yes, the piano black centre console does look good, but that too is a fingerprint magnet. The large MediaNav touchscreen system hoards most of the real estate. The system is slightly better to use (read: inputs aren’t as laggy and slow) and audio quality is fairly decent too. That said, the interface for the navigation isn’t the best. It is pretty hard to better the experience one is used to with Google Maps on their phones.

The addition of automatic climate control to the package is a welcome move. The unit is easy to operate and chills the cabin down very well. The air-conditioning managed to keep us cool on a sultry afternoon in Pune – with temperatures hovering above the 30°C mark. However, it is slightly difficult to access the controls on the move. They are placed far too low for our liking.With the facelift, Renault could have inverted the positions of the wiper and headlamp stalks. Ford did the same with the Ecosport facelift (Wiper controls to the left of the steering and headlamp controls to the right). That said, it doesn’t take too long for one to get used to the setting. Renault could have also used the facelift to add audio and call controls on the steering wheel, instead of having them on a separate stalk behind the wheel. Reason being, you will be using controls for audio and phone more frequently compared to cruise control.

Other than these changes, the cabin remains unchanged. The front footwell is still slightly cramped, the driver’s right knee still hits the power window controls and the overall fit and finish still remain a hit or a miss. Also, while we are talking about ergonomics – the armrest is a bit too thin and placed a bit too low down. It is rather odd that it is only the driver that gets the armrest. We think, a large centrally mounted armrest would’ve been a perfect solution. Before we forget, with the armrest down – it is nearly impossible to buckle up. You have to take the seatbelt ‘around’ the armrest to buckle it in. Check for Renault Duster in spectralreview.com 

Overall, the package remains more or less identical to the outgoing version. Parameters such as space, cushioning and the 410 litre bootspace remain exactly identical to the outgoing version. Like we said, Renault could have used the facelift as a platform to up the ante in terms of design and quality. Instead, they have chosen to stick to the tried and tested formula of rugged appeal and durability.

Renault Duster Engine & Gearbox

The new Renault Duster 2019 will get a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine. The current 1.5-litre diesel engine will continue to do duty. A six-speed manual transmission and AMT will continue to be offered as well. The petrol version will be priced aggressively and Will try and compete with other petrol counterparts. The small capacity engine will attract excise benefits as well. The diesel engine will get some tweaks. An AWD version will also be offered in the Duster 2019. The new petrol engine is expected to get a six-speed manual and AMT as well.

The new Duster will continue to use the platform that underpins the current Duster. This platform is a robust one and well-suited for our country. The Renault Captur is also built on the same platform, hence it will save costs for the company. It will also help in pricing the new Duster competitively. The new Duster will get an upgraded diesel engine and also a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, most likely. Fuel efficiency is expected to improve this time, both in petrol and diesel versions.

The diesel will be the 1.5-litre version that will churn about 108 bhp of power and will be more fuel efficient. The petrol is likely to return about 13km/l overall and the diesel will return 19 km/l in real driving conditions.

Renault Duster Driving Dynamics

Ride and Handling was always the Duster’s forte and it is no different with the refresh. The ride is forgiving and absorbs everything our roads will ever throw at it. The suspension is a nice balance between stiff and soft, ever so slightly biased towards comfort. We think this works really well for the compact SUV, since it is going to spend most of its time within the confines of the city.

While the steering is slightly heavy at low speeds, we loved the weight the steering has at high speeds. Feedback and feel is decent too. Do not expect it to dive into corners like a squirrel, remember to ease off the gas well in advance and it will hold its line really nicely. Braking power is adequate too. The brakes bite in nicely and it doesn’t nose-dive a lot under heavy deceleration. Pedal response is rather vague, that keeps you guessing if you need to go harder on the pedal to make it stop. Other than that, it does just fine.

Renault Duster Safety & Security

The vehicle comes equipped with ventilated disc brakes for its front wheels, while its rear wheels are fitted with drum brakes. The SUV range comes with many advanced safety features including ABS with EBD & rapid deceleration warning, seat belt reminder, brake assist system, engine immobilizer, rear defogger, rear washer and wiper with timer, fog lamps, hill start assist, EPS, anti slip regulation, twin airbags, rear parking sensors, etc. Some of the passive safety features that protect the occupants like speed sensing auto door locks and impact sensing auto door unlock. To protect the engine during extreme off-roading, there’s an engine guard too.

Renault Duster Price in Bangalore

Renault Duster On-Road Price in Bangalore ranges from 10,08,723 to 16,86,327 for variants Duster RxE Petrol and Duster RxZ Diesel 110PS 4×2 MT respectively. Renault Duster is available in 12 variants and 7 colours. Below are details of Renault Duster variants price in Bangalore. Check for Duster price in Bangalore at Carzprice.

Renault Duster Verdict

With the update, Renault has addressed some of the Duster’s lesser points. The cabin looks that little bit plusher than before and the top-spec versions get more equipment too. And we think you’ll agree the facelift has done its bit to freshen up the design. At the same time, the Duster’s not lost its tough and honest air either.

As for the AMT version, it doesn’t match the smoothness of a torque converter let alone a twin clutch unit, but it does the job of providing two-pedal convenience rather well. The advantage of an AMT of course is that this comes with no real impact on fuel consumption. But the bigger plus is the substantial cost advantage. The Duster AMT RxL costs Rs 11.66 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) while the fully loaded RxZ one costs Rs 12.86 lakh. In comparison, the sole Creta automatic costs Rs 13.96 lakh.

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