K9K 1461cc, 4 cylinder, 2
valves per cylinder SOHC, Turbo VGT
245Nm @ 1750rpm
Front: Independent Pseudo
Fuel tank capacity
Length x Width x Height (mm)
4315 X 1822 X 1695
Price (ex-showroom Delhi)
Rs 11.67 lakh
When Renault Duster was
launched in the summer of 2012 in India, the name “Renault” was not so popular
in the country. The Duster became a runaway hit and the name Renault almost
became a household name in the country. With the launch of the butch looking
Kwid a few months back, there seems to be no looking back for Renault in India.
The Duster of late has lost
some of its sheen because of the intense competition in the mid SUV segment.
The Hyundai Creta has taken this SUV segment by storm. In the compact SUV
segment too the likes of Mahindra TUV300 and the recently launched Maruti
Suzuki Vitara Brezza have intensified competition big time. Renault had no
other option but to go in for yet another face lift for the Duster, this one a
bit more significant. It’s now got itself an additional transmission
for the Duster.
The Duster, mind you is a very
successful SUV. More than 140,000 of them are running on Indian roads ever
since it was launched mid-2012.
The most prominent change in
the vehicle is that now it’s being offered with a 6-speed Automated Manual
transmission (AMT) (it’s called Easy-R AMT), a first for a transmission of this
kind in the country. Around 32 new features have been added on, a few of them
cosmetic and few critical too.
Since its launch the Renault
Duster has been fighting with some of the attractive products introduced in the
Indian SUV space. These include the Ford EcoSport, the Hyundai Creta, the
TUV300 and the recently introduced the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Barring the
Creta, all the others are sub-four metre vehicles and come in the compact SUV
The 6-speed Easy-R AMT version
is one of the several variants being offered by the company. The manual
transmission version is available in five variants – Standard, RXE, RXL, RXS
and RXZ, with both petrol and diesel powertrains. The petrol engine is a 1598cc
four cylinder in-line engine producing 103bhp@5750 rpm and a torque of
148Nm@3750 rpm. There is also a 1461cc engine that is offered. While one diesel
engine produces 84bhp@3750rpm and a peak torque of 200Nm@1750rpm, the other
diesel engine, a turbo charged one, produces 108.5bhp@4000
rpm and a peak torque of 245Nm@1750rpm. The AMT variant comes with the turbo
charged diesel engine.
So what are the changes to the
Duster? There is a new dual winged front grille. There is also this new hawk
eye cluster headlamps with ?re?y fog lamps. The top end variants get the
exquisite looking gun metal ?nish 16 inches alloy wheels. There is also now
electrically adjustable and foldable ORVM’s with turn indicators. The new
Duster will also be available in a bright and sporty colour – Cayenne Orange.
The interiors too have gone in
for a change. The vehicle now comes with crimson-black interior theme with
sporty double spacer fabric for the all wheel drive and a cedarwood-black
Interiors theme with premium embossed fabric for other variants. There is also
a dual tone soft touch dashboard.
Convenience features include
new rear view camera with guidelines, new automatic air conditioning, new
auto-up/down window with anti-pinch, new media nav, and new centre fascia.
Driving is made a lot safer with ABS, EBD with Brake Assist, dual airbags, ESP
& Hill start assist.
Apart from the visually
appealing changes, what we really went out test was the new 6-speed AMT.
Smartly enough the company has not mated this transmission to the 4 wheel drive
variant. It’s only the 2 wheel drive 1461
cc diesel engine that has got this luxury. We all know 4X4 buyers are assumed
to be a lot more adventurous that their 2 wheel drive counterparts.
The 6 speed AMT is a bit slow
on the take. Even when you gun the machine fully, the transmission takes a tad
bit of time to move from the first gear. Finally when it settles down at the
third gear, everything looks up and the machine starts to roll and the vehicle
gathers tremendous speed.
But please remember, the
Duster has been a hit among a lot of young Indian families. Safety is their
prime concern and none of the customers seems to have a maniacal bent of mind.
Thus by fitting the AMT to a 2 wheel drive variant has been a very sensible
step by the company. For someone who loves speed, and worships it as though
there is no other God, this new AMT is a big “NO”. They could rather go for the
other manual transmission variants. But then if AMT is what he has decided,
then he or she has the option to go into the manual model and get his machine
On a personal front, I liked
the new AMT. It makes life a lot easier in the heavy traffic and long distance
driving. With this facelift, the Renault Duster has just got a lot smarter and
safer. But then it was always a good looking practical SUV. Apple to apple if
it were to be compared to the Hyundai Creta (this is also not a compact SUV),
both also have a six speed automatic transmission. But then the Duster has a
4X4 option! With the new AMT option, Renault has thrown in a new automatic
challenge to others in this segment.
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