Renault, the French car maker, has finally launched its much awaited Sports Utility Vehicle, Duster, in the Indian auto market. Renault Duster is considered a perfect blend of rugged appearance and robust built. Duster is basically the product of Dacia, a Romanian auto maker completely owned by Renault, but the car is promoted as Renault Duster in the Indian auto market. Duster is counted among the world’s cheapest SUVs and, thus, analysts believe that the car is a good product for the Indian market as the buyers here are price oriented.
The SUV has appealing features which makes it stand apart from cars of its segment. In the launch ceremony, the car maker introduced three variants of its Duster car, mainly two diesel and one petrol. The model was initially showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo, held in January 2012 and far later the French car maker introduced its much hyped model in the Indian auto market on 4th July 2012.
The front fascia of Duster is quite charismatic as it holds precisely designed headlight cluster and chrome indulged horizontal front grille. Considering the side profile of SUV, its high ground clearance is undoubtedly visible which makes it a one of the decent options for off-roading. Duster has compact dimensions and is fairly smaller than its sibling Koleos, which makes it a perfect car to be used for city purposes. Despite sleek dimensions, Renault Duster has the potential to challenge terrains, in contrast to the fact that SUVs are supposed to be massive.
The car is built on the manufacturing platform of Nissan B0 and, thus, it has fairly low weight when compared with that of other cars of the same segment. Duster runs on a four-wheel drive chassis, a boon from Nissan, which enables its driver to adapt the transmission system as per the requirement of power during on-road and off-road driving conditions.Renault Duster Launch History
Renault forayed into the Indian auto market through a Joint Venture (JV) with Mahindra & Mahindra and introduced Mahindra-Renault Logan. Initially, the car was well-received by the Indian buyers but later it failed gradually owing to its not-so-impressive looks and mismatched configurations. In order to gain a decent share in the Indian market, Renault has now came up with the launch of its Dacia Duster.
Renault Duster was initially launched in France in the first week of December 2009. Soon after, the car maker launched the SUV in the European automotive market in the third week of March, 2010 and thereafter, the Renault Duster was introduced in India on 4thJuly 2012. The European variant of Duster has the logo of Dacia, whereas the Indian model features Renault badge.Renault Duster Variants
Renault has launched six variants of new Renault Duster in India, namely RxE (petrol), RxE (diesel), RxL (petrol), RxL (diesel), RxL (diesel variant in different configuration) and RxZ. All these variants are equipped with different features, which distinguish them from each other. Features like engine immobilizer, door open warning lamp, central locking and double barrel headlights are incorporated within all the variants as a part of standard accessory.Renault Duster Pricing
Renault Duster is being positioned as a segment defining model, being the only compact SUV in its range. Considering the whole package, Renault Duster price is surprisingly low, which has provided it a competitive stance against its rivals.Renault Duster Review
Renault Duster in India is being pitched against the likes of Mahindra Scorpio and Toyota Innova. It is evident from the specifications that the new car has an upper hand in terms of ride experience, drivability and build quality. Being a compact SUV, Renault Duster offers ample space and can accommodate five passengers conveniently. For auto enthusiasts who dig the power and performance statistics, the powertrain unit in this car is slimmer by 1 litre than what is being offered by the rivals.
Renault Duster's can easily dominate its segment, since the car is provided with a competitive price tag. Also, the car comes loaded with cutting-edge industry leading features and safety equipments. It is pretty obvious that Duster is a brilliant car and is destined to set new standards in the entry-level SUV segment.Renault Duster Specifications
Renault Duster is offered in an option of petrol and diesel engine. The company has offered three different powertrains with its car, comprising one of which is petrol and the rest two are diesel versions. In its diesel model line-up, the car maker offers 1.5 K9K THP, dCi (common rail direct injection) engine, which is well-acclaimed for being reliable and fuel efficient. The powertrain has potential to churn out an impressive power of 108.5 bhp at 3900 rpm with 248 Nm at fairly low 2250 rpm of peak torque. In order to enhance the performance of the motor, the French car maker has mated it with a 6 speed manual transmission system, which offers smooth and hassle free switching between the gears.
Along with this engine, the company offers a 1.5 dCi K9K HP engine which churns out a maximum power of 83.8 bhp at 3750 rpm with highest torque of 200 Nm at 1900 rpm. This engine is considered as the best option for driving in normal city conditions as it delivers a class leading fuel economy. Apart from the diesel motors, the petrol model of Renault Duster 2012 holds a 1.6 K4M engine, which has a displacement of 1600 cc. The maximum power generated by the petrol engine stands at 102 bhp at 5850 rpm, whereas its torque generating capacity is 145 Nm at 3750 rpm. The powertrain is assimilated with a 5 speed manual transmission system, which further enhances the performance of this engine.Renault Duster ExteriorExterior Appearance
Renault Duster in India has a great on-road presence that dominates other cars of the same segment. The width and tall-boy design of Duster lend it a distinctive persona. The presence of roof rails, chrome wide grille, skid plate, antenna and alloy wheels makes the car look sportier. The ruggedness of this SUV is highlighted by three slate grilles which house a huge Renault badge in the centre. In order to make the car a perfect off-roader, Renault Duster holds claddings all around its body for protection.
Other cosmetic details adorning the exterior of the car include double barrel headlights, chrome finish radiator grille, sporty 16-inch aluminum wheels, lateral bars and muscular, elegant wheel arches.Exterior Dimensions
Renault Duster is quite contrary to the belief that the SUVs are meant to be massive and monstrous. The new model is 4.31 metres long, which is just a bit shorter than its bulkier sibling, Renault Koleos and is 1.82 metres wide. The compact form factor and the high ground clearance of 210 mm make the compact SUV a perfect vehicle for urban drive as well as for off-roading. What makes the new Renault Duster a perfect city car besides its size, is its low turning radius of 5.2 metres, which is even less than that of several hatchbacks.Renault Duster InteriorInterior Appearance
Renault Duster has appealing interiors which enables the car to deliver a warm welcome to its passengers. The three-spokes steering wheel of the car is stylishly designed with the Renault badge glimmering in the centre. Renault has given a curvy look to Duster's dashboard to make it look attractive.
Renault Duster has flat seats, made of quality material to provide an enhanced seating comfort to its occupants. The air conditioner vents are bordered with shiny brown inserts, which makes it eye-catchy. Centre console has semi hooded appearance and chrome polished dials, which also features a digital display in the centre.Interior Comfort
Renault Duster has capacious and comfortable cabin space with cushioned seats taking care of the comfort. Despite the compact size, it provides ample head-room, leg-room and shoulder-room as well. Duster is the perfect option for long drives and road trips mainly due to its huge cargo space. Manual air-conditioning with climate control adds to the comfort of its occupants.Interior Measurements
Renault Duster offers space of a SUV and comforts as well as handling of a sedan. Owing to its large wheel base of 2,673 mm, the car offers decent space in front row. Duster's massive boot offer 475 litre capacity to accommodate decent volume of luggage, which can be further extended to 1,636 litres after folding back-seats. Folding the new Renault Duster's front passenger seat allows the driver to carry objects as long as 2.65 metre in the passenger cabinRenault Duster Fuel Economy
Renault Duster being lighter than other SUVs in India delivers a class-leading mileage. The car is being offered in two different 1.5 litre diesel powertrains generating maximum power of 83.8 bhp and 108.5 bhp, respectively. The mileage offered by the 83.8 bhp unit stands at 20.46 kmpl, whereas the 108.5 bhp motor offers a fuel economny of 19.01 kmpl. On the other hand, the petrol variant of the new Renault Duster delivers a mileage of 13.24 kmpl.Renault Duster On-road Drive
Renault Duster car boasts of a power oriented engine, which is refined and delivers exact feel anticipated from that of a SUV. The drive is not obnoxious or loud and, thus, makes the car a good option to embark on long trips. Bringing the performance in limelight, as soon as the 6 speeding gear is switched on the gearbox, the Duster crosses the limits and reaches over three digit speeds with much ease. Auto aficionados are completely satisfied with the power pack and are convinced with the fact that Duster is a compact urban machine, which can perform wonders on-roads with little intervention of the driver.
Renault Duster in India has a monocoque construction and this designing terminology is proved to be advantageous as the car has better ride quality and handling from its sibling model, Koleos. In order to deliver a hassle free drive, the car is incorporated with independent McPherson struts suspensions in the front and non-independent torsion beam at the rear. The exteriors of this compact SUV have pointed edges, which provide the car an improved aerodynamicity.Renault Duster Power
Renault Duster has been launched in India with an option of diesel and petrol powertrains. The petrol model is equipped with 1.6 K4M engine which has the potential to generate maximum power of 102 bhp at 5850 rpm. Diesel models of Renault Duster 2012 are incorporated with 1.5 dCi K9K HP engine, which churns out peak power of 83.8 bhp at 3750 rpm. The same diesel engine is offered in another configuration that produces 108.5 bhp at 3900 rpm.Renault Duster Acceleration and Pick Up
Renault Duster offers decent acceleration and pick-up, which makes it one of the prominent options in the Indian auto market. In order to assist the performance of Duster, its petrol variant is assimilated with a 5 speed manual transmission system. Diesel RxE and RxL models with 1.5 dCi K9K HP engine, are assimilated with a 5 speed manual transmission system and offer a peak torque of 200 Nm at 1900 rpm. Whereas, the most powerful 1.5 dCi K9K THP engine in diesel variant has a 6 speed manual transmission, which generates maximum torque of 248 Nm at a fairly low 2250 rpm.
Renault Duster 2012's petrol version has a displacement of 1598 cc, whereas both the diesel versions have fairly lesser displacement of 1461 cc. The compact SUV smoothly accelerates from initial to 60 kmph in 5 seconds, which further accelerates to 100 kmph in 7.2 seconds. The top speed of Duster stands at 164 kmph, which is quite impressive.Renault Duster Safety and Security
Renault Duster in India is equipped with several advanced safety features that ensures complete safety of its passengers. The car boasts of features like Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), a stability control module, impact sensing door unlock and engine protective underguard. In addition, the compact SUV is incorporated with front fog lamps and rear defogger, which helps the driver in getting a better vision on-road in dark and foggy weather.
Renault Duster also has two life saving airbags on front seats, which adds to the car’s safety features. Advancements like three-point seatbelt pretensioners are also offered within the model for enhanced safety, not a part of basic model.
Renault Duster’s RxE petrol model boasts of safety features like engine immobiliser, door open warning lamp, central locking and engine protective under guard. The RxL diesel model offers few other safety features like front fog lamps, rear defogger and the driver seat belt reminder, in addition to the abovementioned features. However, the diesel RxZ model also comes with many other safety features like dual front airbags, ABS and impact sensing door unlock as well.Renault Duster Comfort and Convenience
Renault Duster has most of the comforts and convenience features which are expected in a SUV. Its RxE petrol model boasts of features like keyless entry, power windows with illuminated switches, air-conditioning with heater and pollen filter, tilt steering column, foldable rear seat backrest, 12V accessory socket in front and headlight alarm.
Renault Duster's RxL diesel model has other additional features like electrically adjustable outside mirrors, adjustable rear seat headrest and integrated 2DIN audio (CD/MP3/AM/FM) with USB, AUX-IN, bluetooth with 4 speakers. Besides, advancements like rear seat centre armrest with cup holders, front and rear 12V accessory socket, on board trip computer and height adjustable front seat belts are also incorporated within the model.
However, the top RxZ model of Duster exceeds RxL features and offers few more advantages such as rear AC with independent blower control, reverse parking sensor and driver seat belt adjuster with lumbar support.Renault Duster Wheels
Renault Duster 2012 runs on big wheels, which provide a perfect SUV look to the car. The car maker has fitted sporty 16-inch aluminium wheels in the car as a part of standard accessory. Incorporation of quality tubeless tyres ensures that the car holds proper grip on-road and has brilliant stability during high speeds. Duster has a universal tyre size, which has a radial of 215/65 R16. Besides, the alloy wheels are nut-covered and are incorporated with anti-theft key feature.Renault Duster Stereo and Accessories
Renault Duster is equipped with an advanced infotainment system, which is a part of the car’s standard accessory. The infotainment system of Duster has Aux-IN/USB-ready music system, which boasts of CD player, CD changer and radio system. The music system of this SUV is easily operated through a remote controller and has speakers in front as well as rear portion of the car.Renault Duster Dealers
Renault Duster is available on all the official Indian dealerships of the car maker. The French auto maker has maintained a fair network of its dealerships throughout the country. With a limited number of dealerships, the company delivers its cars in all the parts of India. Renault has located its dealers in many Indian states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnatka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. A list of the same is mentioned below in tabular form:
Renault Duster Company Quotes
| Location || Dealership |
| New Delhi || · Renault Delhi West |
· Renault Rama Road
| Bangalore || · Renault Palace Orchards |
| Mumbai || · Renault Andheri |
· Renault Chandivali
· Renault Shivaji Nagar
| Chennai || · Renault Mount Road |
| Kolkata || · Renault Chowringhee |
Addressing the audience on launch ceremony, Marc NASSIF, Managing Director, Renault India Private Limited, quoted “The Renault Duster is the best choice for customers looking for the comfort of a sedan with the appeal of an SUV. We are very excited about the product and we expect it to be a game changer for this segment. The new Duster is all about our commitment to Indian customers. We have packed in the best Renault technology which results in a fuel efficient, powerful performance, superb ride and handling along with a host of practical and attractive features. And this makes the Renault Duster an extremely good value proposition for all our customers. The Renault Duster is a vehicle which will not only meet the aspirations of our customers but also set the benchmark on all parameters. We are not only introducing a new vehicle today but I am happy to say that we have also ramped up our dealer and after sales network to reach out to customers pan India.”Renault Duster Competitor Analysis
Renault Duster has been a much anticipated SUV in the Indian market and with its fascinating low price it has made the competition even stiffer. The closest rivals to pose a formidable challenge to the new Renault Duster are Mahindra Scorpio, yet-to-be launched Tata Safari Storme and Ford EcoSport. Mahindra Scorpio is built on an old-school ladder-on frame design. Scorpio is a seven seater SUV, however, leg-room in rear passenger cabin is bit of a squeeze when compared with that of Duster, which offers ample space to all of its occupants. The only advantage that Scorpio holds over Renault Duster 2012 is the presence of automatic transmission.
Renault Duster also squares off against awaited Tata Safari Storme. Storme is developed on the new X2 platform shared by Aria as well, which incorporates a hydro-form chassis. This new platform significantly improves the driving characteristics and makes the vehicle light in weight. Storme could prove to be a worthy competitor to Renault Duster had it not been for its outdated looks, which seem to have been inspired from the old Safari.
Renault Duster is also expected to face a tough competition from the upcoming Ford EcoSport. The model from Ford is also a compact SUV, which is powered by an option of award winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol powertrain and 1.4 litre TDCi unit. Both the cars can seat five passengers and offer cutting-edge driving experience. However, Duster holds the advantage as it has been introduced earlier with economical pricing. In order to pose a challenge to Duster, Ford will have to offer EcoSport at even more competitive price.Renault Duster Pros
Renault Duster has impressive handling and offers brilliant mileage, which keeps the overall running cost of the car low. The power and torque outputs of petrol and diesel engines are also impressive and provide a perfect SUV driving experience.Renault Duster Cons
Renault Duster’s interiors are less attractive and somehow reek of quality. Since the car has a short wheelbase, the rear row does not have ample leg room.Renault Duster Conclusion
Renault Duster is an industry leading car, which is currently the company’s first compact SUV in the Indian auto market. The model features world-class features, which makes it one of the prominent options in the segment. Renault has offered six variants of its Duster to the Indian buyers, which are assimilated with three different engine options. With the approach of providing petrol and diesel options for sale, the car will cater to the demands of a large number of buyers.
Renault Duster 2012 is considered as an amalgamation of power, comfort and performance. The car has aerodynamic exteriors which not only add to its performance but makes the car look appealing.