Renault took the covers off the Duster facelift on July 8, which is priced from Rs 7.99 lakh to Rs 12.50 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). In a bid to keep the SUV relevant among newer competitors, Renault gave the ageing SUV a shot in the arm by tweaking the exterior styling and updating the interior. However, with two engines, four gearboxes and four variants on offer, picking the right Duster can be confusing. Read on to find out which one should you spend your money on.
What are the engines on offer?
The two engines powering the Duster facelift are carried forward from its predecessor. The petrol engine on offer is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder unit that puts out 106hp and 142Nm of torque. It comes with the option of either a 5-speed manual or a 6-step CVT automatic gearbox.
The diesel is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged unit that comes in two states of tune. The lower-powered version puts out 85hp and 200Nm of torque and comes coupled with a 5-speed manual only. In its higher state of tune, the engine produces 110hp and 245Nm of torque while getting the option of either a 6-speed manual or AMT gearbox. Additionally, the 110hp version is also available with an all-wheel drive system.
Although the petrol is smooth, the power feels just about adequate in this car. The diesels, on the other hand, feel more effortless and are far more fuel efficient too. The 85hp version has less turbo lag and feels easier to drive than the 110hp especially in the city. However, the 110hp version offers punchier performance.
What are the variants on offer?
The Renault Duster facelift can be had in four variants – RxE, RxS, RxS(O) and RxZ. In total, the SUV is available in nine configurations with five engine-gearbox combinations.
The RxE variant’s equipment list is pretty basic with features like dual airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, projector headlamps, LED tail-lights, roof rails, power windows, manual AC and a tilt-adjustable steering.
The mid-spec RxS is significantly better equipped as it gets equipment like a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, USB, AUX, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, four speakers, LED DRLs, turn indicators integrated into the power-adjustable wing mirrors, rear defogger, steering-mounted controls, rear centre armrest and a cooled storage compartment.
On top of all the features that you get in the RxS, the RxS(Option) gets 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a gearshift indicator (AWD only), ESP, hill-start assist and a creep function with the CVT gearbox.
The top-of-the-line RxZ trim additionally gets a rear parking camera, cruise control, front fog lamps, power-folding mirrors, a height adjustable driver’s seat, a front centre armrest, automatic climate control and a rear washer/wiper. The RxZ AMT version adds a creep function, ESP and hill-start assist.
Which is the variant to buy?
In terms of engines, the Renault Duster with the 110hp diesel is the one to go for. In its top-spec RxZ trim, the Duster comes across as being well-equipped, comfortable and it even gets the convenience of an AMT gearbox.
However, its sibling from Nissan, the Kicks, feels far more modern and sophisticated than the Duster, and it has all the Renault’s strengths as it’s based on the same platform. If it’s a diesel-automatic you seek, the Mahindra XUV300 AMT is far better equipped and smoother than the Duster AMT.
So if you really want a Duster, the one to go for is the RxS (O) AWD version as it has the go-anywhere ability that none of its rivals offer.
Although Renault should have made it available in the top-spec variant – it misses out on key features like front fog lamps, a rear wiper and washer, cruise control and a front armrest – as things stand today, there’s no other small SUV that’s as capable off-road as the Duster AWD.
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