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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photos

The Duster single-handedly changed the fortunes of Renault in India and went on to become the best-selling SUV in the country for some time. But while it looks and feels like a proper SUV, its lacks the hardware to tackle the rough stuff, and this is where the Duster AWD steps in. Interestingly, the four-wheel-drive Duster isn’t a new addition on the factory’s production line; it has been manufactured here for export purposes and is sold in the UK as the Dacia Duster. We have come to Lavasa, where Renault has set up an off-road trail that will let us thoroughly test the new hardware.

Changes on the outside aren’t extensive but it’s easy to tell the AWD apart from the regular, front-wheel-drive Duster. Most noticeable are what Renault calls ‘Anthracite’ alloy wheels (read: smoked grey in colour), darkened headlamp clusters and matte black B-pillars on the RxZ trim. Apart from these, it’s just the ‘AWD’ badging and the 4x4 moniker at the back that differentiate it. Inside, the changes are a bit more prominent, with a new three-pod instrument cluster (that now features instantaneous fuel consumption as well), a new three-spoke steering wheel, dual-tone grey and red seats and some soft-touch plastics on the upper portion of the new dual-tone, black and grey dashboard. So, as far as cosmetics go, the Duster AWD gets a fair bit of new stuff, especially on the inside, and these changes aid in improving the overall perceived quality. The rest remains the same, so the front seats are comfortable, the rear bench has enough knee room for most frames and the boot can swallow a good deal of luggage. For this drive, we had three medium suitcases, two haversacks and a full-sized tripod in the boot; no problem.\
 

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

About the author...

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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 210 | Autocar India: February 2017

The Honda Civic is coming back, and we’ve driven it this month! This and lots more in the Feb 2017 issue of Autocar India.
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