First Drive

Renault Duster AWD review, test drive

New Renault Duster AWD gets both mechanical and cosmetic updates. We put it through trials both on and off-road to see how much of a change it is.

DETAILS
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So, does it work? Simply put, it works rather well. The trail that we were following consisted of steep inclines, a mush pit with soft, slippery, wet mud and a small river crossing section. And, honestly, the Duster 4x4 handled all of these sections better than I had expected it to. In the slushy sections, I could feel the electronics working well to smoothly transfer power to the rear wheels in a bid to maximise traction. What also helps is the sufficiently high 205mm ground clearance, which lets you experiment a bit more while driving through the rough stuff, and although it’s far from what you’d call a rock-crawler, the Duster 4x4 can be used for a fair bit of off-roading. What’s also impressive is that the independent rear suspension has improved the ride even further, and the Duster 4x4 feels quite composed even while dealing with moderately sized potholes at speed.

The Renault Duster 4x4 is expected to be launched just before the festive season, and with an estimated price of Rs 80,000 over the top-spec Duster, it comes across as really good value. It possesses all the traditional strengths of the original Duster, but the mechanical tweaks and added off-road capability make a much more complete SUV. Renault is hoping to attract adventurous folk who are looking for an SUV that isn’t just confined to urban roads and can take a bit of a beating off-road over the weekends. And the Duster 4x4 does that rather well. If I have to nitpick, I think the cabin still looks a bit too bland and doesn’t do justice to the price tag, but apart from that, the Renault Duster 4x4 is a very well rounded machine.

ADITYA BENGALI

Fact File

Engine

Fuel Diesel
Installation Front, transverse
Type 4 cyls, 1461cc, turbo-diesel
Power 108.5bhp at 3900rpm
Torque 25.3kgm at 2250rpm

Transmission

Type All-wheel drive
Gearbox 6-speed manual

Dimensions

Length 4315mm
Width 1822mm
Height 1695mm
Wheel base 2673mm
Boot volume 475 litres
Ground clearance 205mm

Suspension

Front McPherson strut with coil springs and stabiliser bar
Rear Multilink with coil springs

Brakes

Front Ventilated discs
Rear Drums
Anti-lock Yes

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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 211 | Autocar India: March 2017

Check out our exclusive drive of the new BMW 5-series in India, and in a Porsche special, the 718 Boxster. There's also a shootout between the new Hyundai Grand i10, Maruti Ignis and the Mahindra...
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