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Renault Duster (2012-2015)

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Renault Duster (2012-2015) Overview

The Duster is probably Renault's biggest bet for the Indian market, also the one which has payed off. It is Renault's fourth model in India and was launched in 2012. It is a big brute of an SUV and is chunky, muscular and so very masculine. Probably the single most USP of this vehicle and the reason for its huge sales figures. Have a look and it'll be hard for us to convince you that its only 4.3 metres in length, deeming it fit for urban use too. Thanks to those huge flared wheel arches, roof rails and 16 inch alloys, the Duster looks every bit of an imposing car on road as it does off-roading.

The interior is a bit conservative yet airy and spacious. However thin plastics are a let down. There is no out of box measures in the interior and form and function have dominated style here. You get a practical instrument design with a dashboard which is relatively clutter free. The headroom and legroom are excellent and the passengers at the rear will find the seats comfortable providing great space. For storage needs there is a big glove-box, lots of cup-holders and a 475 litre boot.



In all there are two engine choices - one diesel (in two states of tune) and one petrol. The petrol unit is a 1.6-litre motor capable of 102bhp of power at 5850 RPM. It's a refined and smooth unit which is cheaper than its diesel brethren. The 84 bhp diesel is the most efficient motor with a claimed fuel efficiency rating of 20.46 kmpl while the 109 bhp diesel is good for 19.01 kmpl. The petrol variant is the least efficient of all the variants with a claimed fuel efficiency figure of 13.24 kmpl.

The K9K diesel motor in the 109 bhp state of tune possesses very good acceleration and pick-up. Thanks to oodles of torque inherent to this diesel motor, the car pulls away cleanly from a standstill. However, the torque spread of the 84 bhp duster feels better in city driving conditions as compared to 109 bhp variant.

The suspension manages to be comfortable without being too soft to spoil the handling dynamics. The SUV feels planted and re-assuring at high speeds. It's great for cruising on long distances. Thanks to a sorted suspension, it absorbs whatever the Indian roads have to throw at it. It is very comfortable for all 5 on board and it's easy to claim that the ride of the Duster is class best and so is its refinement.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Overview

The Renault Duster in three trim levels, RxE, RxL and RxZ. The 102bhp petrol and the 84bhp diesel will only be available in the lower variants, ie RxE and RxL, while the top of the line RxZ comes only in the 109bhp diesel.

The top-end variant is loaded with features such as USB/AUX and Bluetooth. Equipment levels is high with features such as keyless entry, ABS with Brake Assist & EBD, dual front Airbags, satellite Audio & phone control, rear defogger, rear wiper & washer, electrically adjustable ORVMs, rear parking sensors, rear AC and leather upholstery. Summing it up, this is a decent SUV that also drives well and looks good.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Exterior

The Renault Duster is a big brute of an SUV. Its chunky, muscular and so very masculine. Probably the single most USP of this vehicle and the reason for its huge sales figures. Have a look and it'll be hard for us to convince you that its 4.3 metres in length. Thanks to those huge flared wheel arches, roof rails and 16 inch alloys, the Duster looks every bit of an imposing car on road as it does offroading.

For the Indian market, Renault have made some exterior changes to make the SUV look a bit more upmarket without ruining its macho SUV character. The front sports a big chrome finished Renault grille and square head lamps while the rear sports the big Duster badging.

However, the exterior is still rather conservative if you compare it to the likes of the Mahindra XUV500, which has too much going on everywhere. That said, the Duster has a simplicistic appeal with a hint of sophistication which no other SUV can match. Renault offers the Duster in Brown, Red, White, Silver, Black and Grey colours.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Interior

The interior is a bit conservative yet airy and spacious. However thin plastics are a let down. There is no out of box measures in the interior and form and function have dominated style here. You get a practical instrument design with a dashboard which is relatively clutter free. The headroom and legroom are excellent and the passengers at the rear will find the seats comfortable providing great space. For storage needs there is a big glove-box, lots of cup-holders and a 475 litre boot.

As far as equipment levels are concerned, Renault India has left no stone unturned. The top end variant gets a 4 speaker music system with USB/AUX and Bluetooth. The equipment list includes keyless entry, ABS with Brake Assist & Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, two front Airbags, satellite Audio & phone control, rear defogger, rear wiper and washer, electrically adjustable Outside Rear View Mirrors, rear parking sensors, rear Air Conditioner vents and leather upholstery.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Engine & Transmission

In all there are two engine choices - one diesel (in two states of tune) and one petrol. The petrol unit is a 1.6-litre motor capable of 102bhp of power at 5850 RPM. It's a refined and smooth unit which is cheaper than its diesel brethren.

The diesel engine is the familiar and international acclaimed K9K powerplant which Renault offers in two states of tune. The cheaper 84 bhp diesel motor making its peak power at 4750 rpm is the best seller of the lot. The other more powerful state of tune for this engine makes 109bhp at 3900rpm and 248 Nm torque at 2250 rpm. This engine makes more grunt thanks to a Variable Geometry Turbo as compared to the fixed geometry turbo in the 84 bhp K9K.

As far as the transmission is concerned, the petrol motor and the 84bhp diesel motor will be available with the five-speed gearbox only while the higher 109bhp diesel will be offered with a six speed gearbox. The 109bhp diesel will is clearly for the enthusiast and the well informed and should.

The diesel engine variants have been the hot cakes for Renault, selling more than the petrol.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Mileage

The 84 bhp diesel is the most efficient motor with a claimed fuel efficiency rating of 20.46 kmpl while the 109 bhp diesel is good for 19.01 kmpl. These figures are amazing for such a huge car but then you'll again be amazed to know that the kerb weight of the Duster is no more than 1300 kilograms, reason for such good fuel efficiency figures too.

The petrol variant is the least efficient of all the variants with a claimed fuel efficiency figure of 13.24 kmpl. Though it does make sense to buy a petrol variant of the Duster owing to its low initial cost and rising diesel fuel prices, it won't be much fun to drive as compared to the Diesel variants thanks to the oodles of torque.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Braking and Safety

Even though the Duster may look like a tank and to stop it might require you to stand on the brake pedal, however this is not so. The front disc brakes and drums at the rear offer decent braking performance and thanks to ABS coupled with EBD, the SUV scores well on braking performance.

As mentioned the Duster comes with ABS and EBD. These are the active safety features which come into effect at the right moment to keep the car on the road. The Duster also features passive safety features such as the driver and passenger airbags which keep the Driver and front passenger safe in the event of a crash.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Performance and Handling

The K9K diesel motor in the 109 bhp state of tune possesses very good acceleration and pick-up. Thanks to oodles of torque inherent to this diesel motor, the car pulls away cleanly from a standstill. However, the torque spread of the 84 bhp duster feels better in city driving conditions as compared to 109 bhp variant. But you don't need intelligence of Einstein to know that that enthusiasts should stick with 109 horses only.

The petrol unit is a rather mellow engine to have in such a SUV. It doesn't have the torque and you really have to revv the socks of this engine to make good speed. Stick with diesels is our advice, if you're performance oriented.



The Duster comes with a front wheel drive set-up only and it is expected that the company may introduce a 4x4 variant soon. The car has a monocoque chassis which gives it class leading driving dynamics when compared to the Indian SUVs with ladder on frame set-up.

While driving, the SUV felt planted and re-assuring at high speeds. It's great for cruising on long distances. Thanks to a sorted suspension, it absorbs whatever the Indian roads have to throw at it. It is very comfortable for all 5 on board and it's easy to claim that the ride of the Duster is class best and so is its refinement. However, the electro-hydraulic steering did feel a bit heavy at times.

What do we think about Renault Duster (2012-2015)?

The Renault Duster is an SUV par excellence. It's beautiful ride and driving dynamics, brilliant engine options and imposing typically SUV-ish looks guarantee it success in the Indian market which is hungry for good quality SUVs. Priced decently, the Duster makes for a mouth watering proposition you simply can't ignore.

Renault Duster (2012-2015) Competitors

The Scorpio might still be able to outsell the Duster (only marginally), but that may be down to the relatively nascent present of Renault in India. Forget the brands and compare the car, feature for feature, and the Scorpio is left behind trailing in the Duster's wake.

The XUV500 W4 is a major threat however. But still where the W4 lacks in, the Duster takes two strides more to make its distance felt. It is lighter, faster, more fuel efficient and more importantly, better built than the W4. The Tata Safari is no contest either, with the Duster being much better in ride, comfort and fuel efficiency.

Plainly put, all other SUVs feel agricultural in front of the Duster, and this very statement goes to show the amount of hard work Renault has put into the SUV to make it a success.

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