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.
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Issue: 212 | Autocar India: April 2017
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