French car manufacturer, Renault has finally break the ice in an untapped Mini-SUV segment in India with the launch of much awaited ‘Duster’. The car is available in both, Petrol as well as Diesel versions. However, the Diesel versions are further divided into two classes: 85 PS and 110 PS in order to offer an expanded range to meet the demands of buyers eyeing in different segments right from Rs.7 Lakh to Rs.11 Lakh budget. The list of Diesel variants might sound confusing to new buyers initially since there is going to be no different branding for 85PS and 110PS models. However, from the company’s viewpoint, it is surely a positive strategy to capture a chunk of the market share. The Ex. showroom price tag for Delhi is as follows: Renault Duster Petrol
> RxE: Rs.7.19 Lakh
> RxL: Rs.8.19 Lakh Renault Duster Diesel (85 PS)
> RxE: Rs.7.99 Lakh
> RxL: Rs.8.99 Lakh
> RxL Option Pack: Rs.9.99 Lakh Renault Duster Diesel (110 PS)
> RxL: Rs.9.99 Lakh
> RxZ: Rs.10.99 Lakh
> RxZ Option Pack: Rs.11.29 Lakh
Coming to the first impressions, as soon as I saw the car, the first thing that strike me is that Duster didn’t look as huge as it appears in the pictures. But then, don’t mistake it to be a puny vehicle either. Renault Duster is absolutely an average sized car with an apparent solid build and fair road presence. As someone in this thread rightly pointed out earlier, Duster's front end design seems to have mixed looks. It’s either perplexed or trying to look ‘clam’ with a not-so-calm engine under its hood. While we are talking about the engine, I should also mention that Renault is highlighting the fuel efficiency as one of the greatest advantages of Duster in the segment (Petrol – 13.24 Kpl, 85PS Diesel – 20.46 Kpl and 110PS Diesel – 19.01 Kpl).
Just walk inside and that’s where you would figure out how Duster is built to cost. There are sufficient examples of low cost and flimsy plastics used across, starting on dashboard to the door pads and a few buttons. Thankfully, beige does help a little much to make the interiors look somewhat up market, though a highly excessive use of faux wooden finish keeps reminding us that it’s a no premium SUV. Another disappointing bit is that a few buttons are not marked, example hood lever, which is located on the bottom right corner and easily camouflages to appear as just another part of the dashboard. The headlamp leveler has the same saga. Not only it feels cheap to touch / operate but also the digits that are engraved on the dashboard itself are not visible. Once I closed the circular AC Vent, it took a slight effort to open it again. I could particularly feel it since my Ford Fiesta has the similar vents and opening / closing them is a cinch. Adding to the misery, the glove box, which although is deep enough and convenient to access, didn’t shut easily. Anyways the front cabin is roomy and offers a decent view of the road. Probably what one would expect from an SUV. In addition, the leatherette-perforated seats are also well contoured.
The rear seats have a capacity to accommodate three adults (with an integrated middle headrest) and offer an average legroom. Though there might be tough times if the front seats are fully pushed back as it literally leaves almost no legroom for the passenger sitting behind. All in all, speaking in a general context, for a family who enjoy long trips over the weekends or enthusiastic individuals who have always wished to own an ‘SUV’ in a limited budget – Duster seems to be a worth considerable choice. On a quick note: Renault has plans to launch 4x4 versions at a later stage, same is with automatic. If there’s a sufficient market demand, Renault would also consider rolling out an automatic transmission model (Most likely in Diesel).
> Official bookings start from today and deliveries will begin from 10th July onwards.
> Views expressed above are absolutely personal. I have expressed in words whatever I experienced with the car in a limited time.
> Renault Duster is available in following colours: Pearl Supreme White, Pearl Galaxy Black, Metallic Moonlight Silver, Metallic Graphite Grey, Metallic Fiery Red, Metallic Woodland Brown (Pictured Below).