GOOD FOR: Strong engine, ride comfort
LOOK OUT FOR: Faulty high-pressure pump, clutch wear
It is safe to say that the Duster made Renault an overnight sensation. It simply got the formula right. A rugged and tough exterior, frugal and reliable engines for a bomb of a price. Launched with petrol and diesel engines in different states of tune, it was the diesel unit making 110hp that truly stood out. The addition of a full-time 4x4 system completed the picture, and that is the version to buy.
The Duster AWD gets quite a few revisions compared to the 2WD version such as the blacked-out headlights, darkened alloy wheels, a new instrument cluster, three-spoke steering, a two-tone dashboard and dual-tone seats. You also get the touchscreen with navigation and audio infotainment, as the AWD is only available in the RxZ and RxL trims. It is also fitted with ABS with EBD, traction control and dual airbags for the driver and passenger.
The major difference, however, is the electronic 4x4 system and independent suspension. The ride is better at low speeds and so is the drivability. Space inside is as impressive as ever, with good legroom and headroom and with a cavernous boot for those adventurous getaways. Driving in the city, though, is slightly cumbersome as the heavy clutch combined with the short gear ratio results in a sore left foot. That said, the engine pulls well and is quite tractable in moderate traffic. The 110hp engine is refined and powerful too. A sprint to 100kph takes just 11.8sec and the Duster pulls quite effortlessly after that as well. So, it is quite apparent that the Duster is most comfortable cruising on highways. There is quite a bit of body roll on long bends but the high-speed ride feels comfy. Overall, the Duster achieves a good balance between practicality and performance without compromising the ever-so-important factor of fuel efficiency. Despite being bulky, it manages a healthy 11.5kpl in the city and a respectable 16.8kpl on the highway. Factor in the 50-litre fuel tank, and you have a solid range between fill-ups. The Duster AWD is priced at Rs 11.89 lakh for the RxL trim and at Rs 12.99 lakh for the top-end RxZ trim (ex-showroom, Delhi). But the popularity of the SUV has managed to keep away from rapid depreciation and it still commands a premium in the used car market with prices for a decent example starting at Rs 8 lakh. The high resale value isn’t surprising as the Duster is truly a reliable performer. What’s also nice is that maintaining it is an inexpensive affair. A general service every 10,000km will cost you Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000. However, before you shake hands on a used Duster, there are a few issues to watch out for (see box on right). If you find the example to be problem-free, we suggest you jump at the deal.
HOW TO GET ONE IN YOUR GARAGE
Look out for loss of power or long starting time on the test drive. Failure of the diesel high-pressure pump is usually the culprit here and is an expensive fix at Rs 50,000. It is mainly found in cars that are driven outside cities and are likely to have fallen victim to adulterated diesel. It could also be faulty piezo injectors which could get clogged due to the same reason. These cost Rs 32,000 to replace.
Being heavy and difficult to modulate, the clutch is prone to premature wear. Also, if the car in question has been used in start-stop traffic, that takes a toll on the clutch too. Make sure to give it a thorough check as replacing the entire clutch assembly costs upwards of Rs 15,000, including labour.
Also worth knowing
A few examples have reported AC compressor issues, so keep a check on that. The compressor costs Rs 80,000. Also scan the passenger and driver footwell for moisture as the AC drain pipe leaks water on to this area.
How much to spend
Rs 8-9 lakh
The Duster AWD has maintained its value well and rightfully so. As a package, it offers quite a spread for a considerably reasonable price. However, well-maintained examples command almost Rs 10 lakh, which is steep. Good scouting and bargaining skills will find you decent examples costing between Rs 8-9 lakh, and that should be your absolute limit.
|Price when new||From Rs 11.89 lakh|
|Engine||1461cc, 4 cyls|