Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport: Battle of two compact SUVs

Wednesday 11 September 2013, 10:29 AM by

The initial models launched by Renault in India did not get the desired response from critics and buyers. However, the launch of Renault Duster staged a tremendous turnaround for the firm in the Indian automobile market. It struck an instant chord with Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) enthusiasts and also received a positive response from critics. Renault enjoyed the first comer advantage in compact SUV segment, which has been on a rise for quite some time in the Indian auto market. Since its launch, the Renault Duster has managed to record tremendous sales figures. This car has turned out to be the most successful model launched by Renault in India. Seeing the success of the Duster, Ford introduced the EcoSport compact SUV in India. Incredibly, the EcoSport managed to receive 30000 bookings in a space of 17 days.

Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport: Battle of two compact SUVs |
Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport: Battle of two compact SUVs

A lot of hype was created around the Ford EcoSport by the media and automobile journals. This SUV was unveiled at the 11th edition of Auto Expo, which was held in Delhi in 2012. Ford EcoSport caught the attention of visitors and analysts named it as one of the highly anticipated models of the future. The success of EcoSport had been predicted by experts long before its bookings had started. Eventually, the response to this compact SUV exceeded expectations and anticipated levels. Such was rush for bookings that the company had to ask dealers to stop taking orders so as to meet the demand-supply figure.

Meanwhile, a major problem with the SUV's glow-plug module, a heating device used to start the diesel engine, took place. Following this incident, around 972 units of the vehicle were recalled for rectification. Industry experts felt that this issue had the potential to cause a decline in the car's sales. Surprisingly, this did not dampen the mood of buyers, who continued to make bookings. A major reason behind the success of the EcoSport is the pricing strategy adopted by the American auto maker. While the price of Renault Duster (petrol) starts from Rs. 7.99 lakh, Ford EcoSport Petrol starts at Rs. 5.99 lakh. Moreover, EcoSport provides more variants to buyers as compared to the in Renault Duster.

The petrol variant of the Ford EcoSport is equipped with a 1.5-litre Ti-VCT engine that gives a power of 110 bhp and a torque of 140 Nm. This engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. On the other hand, the Renault Duster is equipped with a 1.6-litre K4M petrol engine, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, which generates an output of 103 bhp and peak torque of 145 Nm. As far as driveability is concerned, both these compact SUVs offer similar levels though the EcoSport has a slight advantage due to its better handling system. The Ford EcoSport has an intelligent electric steering that ensures better stability while driving at a high speed.

Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport: Battle of two compact SUVs

Taking the exteriors of the two SUVs in consideration, the Renault Duster boasts of bold, rugged and muscular design. The Ford EcoSport, on the other hand, has a stylish and sporty appearance that has attracted buyers. Coming to the interiors, even though the Duster is bigger, the EcoSport provides some amazing features, which gives it a slight edge. However, the biggest difference between the EcoSport and the Duster is the pricing strategy. On one hand where Renault has kept a decent price for the Duster, Ford adopted an aggressive strategy to lure buyers. This, during tough conditions in the Indian car market, drifted buyers away from the Duster to the EcoSport.

It would indeed be a tough choice if one had to choose between the EcoSport and the Duster. Buyers who keep performance, built and solidarity above other factors are likely to choose the Duster. However, for people who prefer fuel-efficient and compact cars, the Ford EcoSport seems an ideal choice.