Renault Duster Review Synopsis: Renault Duster price tag is between Rs.8.36 – 11.39 Lakh (Ex.showroom, Delhi). It officially launched in India on 4 July 2012.
Renault Duster has opened up an utterly different chapter in Indian automobile industry. The ‘Compact SUV’ segment was untapped and unheard of before. Renault, with the launch of Duster, took a bold step forward by going against the notion of various manufacturers and auto experts alike that the basic mantra for a successful SUV in India is the mammoth size of it and at least seven seats by default. While the initiation of this segment’s concept in India is certainly not by Renault, since the little known ‘Premier Rio’ deserves its due title. However, what clearly makes Duster complete in the form of a ‘Compact SUV’ outfit are butch looks and certain traits of a full-fledged SUV. Plus, perfect marketing strategies and enthusiasm from Renault, which was not more than an extraterrestrial brand for Indians until sometime ago, ensured the things work well as per plan.
Needless to mention, if there’s something that has turned tables at Renault’s head quarter, it’s none other than the Duster. It’s surprising the way this car has quickly won hearts of several Indians and acquired itself a position in top ten Indian car sales figures in less than a year of debut. Apart from the constantly escalating sales, it has been honored with countless awards by various media, including our own ‘The Automotive India Car of the Year’ award in 2012. This very fact ignited our eagerness to review Duster in-depth and Renault India was kind enough to lend us the RXZ (110 PS) model for three days. As the saying goes, many people cannot be wrong. Perhaps Renault must have done something right. Let’s find out.
Renault Duster is manufactured in Oragadam (Near Chennai), Tamil Nadu. The amusing fact is that the same plant also rolls out ‘Dacia Duster’ (Dacia is a subsidiary of Renault). This is Duster with a twist; it’s equipped with 1.6 liter Petrol engine and also a 4x4 drive train including various other tweaks unlike Indian lineup. These units are then shipped to United Kingdom and Ireland because of the fact that Renault’s plant in India is the only manufacturing facility in world to produce right hand drive Duster. So next time you drive a Duster – You know that it came straight from the same house where its European siblings are born.
Indian version offers diverse variants to cater shoppers having different budgets and requirements. For starters, it has two Petrol variants: RXE and RXL but since it’s the Diesel motor that prevents assembly line from eating rust, Renault has invested on different Diesel engine variants. An 85 PS (RXE, RXL, RXL Option Pack) and 110PS (RXL, RXZ, RXZ Option Pack). They’re basically same engines with different power outputs. The days aren’t far enough when Duster will get a direct competitor in India – Ford Ecosport. That’s when Renault intends to reveal their trump card – The Duster 4x4. We were also informed during the launch that company might consider bringing a diesel with automatic transmission depending upon the market response. Hitherto the ‘response’ has been incredible if you believe in numerology. More than 4,000+ bookings on day one itself and total 39,188 units sold up to March 2013 are the clear evidence.