The updated Duster with minor cosmetic tweaks was spotted testing on Indian roads a few months ago. Much earlier, Autocar India broke the news that an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) was on the cards for Renault’s popular SUV.
It can now be confirmed from these exclusive spy pics that the Duster will get an AMT and not the six-speed dual clutch automatic that is offered on the international Dacia / Renault Dusters.
Likely to be badged the Duster Easy-R, this will be the first Renault-badged product to come with an automated manual gearbox, globally. Renault's sister brand Dacia showcased the AMT gearbox at this year's Frankfurt motor show which is aimed at the affordable end of the Dacia / Renault product range around the world.
In fact, affordability is the main reason why Renault has chosen the AMT option instead of the far more expensive and complex dual-clutch transmission. Whilst the DCT will offer a far smoother drive than the AMT, the cost difference between the two transmissions was working out to upwards of Rs two lakh to the car buyer, according to company sources.
Renault plans to price the Duster Easy-R quite aggressively and sources suggest a price increase of inside Rs. 1 lakh over the similarly equipped manual variant. Sources tell us that the AMT will be offered only in the 110PS 1.5-litre diesel variant and will piggyback on the existing six-speed manual gearbox. Hence, the AMT version will be a six-speed unit as well.
The updated Duster available in international markets received cosmetic tweaks in the form of reworked head and tail-lamps, and new design for alloys. The SUV headed to India could get modifications made to headlamps, bumper and grille. It may also carry forward styling cues from the Duster facelift unveiled in Brazil earlier this year.
We expect Renault to unveil the facelifted Duster at next year’s Auto Expo in Delhi with a market launch sometime in March or April.