The charms of the Duster never seem to evade us. The last month has been an exciting one with the rains playing havoc on city roads and our office premises also shifting to a nearby location. The Duster’s big boot has been a great asset managing to gobble up even the biggest items of luggage without any fuss. The good thing about the boot is its depth which enables it to take in even the longest of tripod bags without any fuss. If you enjoy a game of golf then you will enjoy keep your clubs inside the cavernous boot of this SUV.
A big boot isn’t the only strength of the car. You also get an excellent suspension set up that manages to annihilate every road with complete aplomb. The Duster will simply eat up the worst road surfaces. During the monsoons, it is a given fact that most road surfaces are waterlogged and most of them are badly patched up as well. So finding a surprise or two on the road isn’t something unheard of. The Duster though completely takes all this in its stride and just glides over everything. The suspension is so good that you can’t tell if you’ve just gone over an open gutter or two. It’s simply brilliant. Buyers will also appreciate the fantastic build quality. In my housing society, when kids play cricket with a tennis ball, it does land up on everyone’s cars. While dings and dents are visible on lesser cars the Duster’s tough build means that nothing shows on its body at all.
Most of our staffers also loved the brilliant air-conditioning on the car. With its strong throw of air and very good cooling, the AC has been a big asset on the Duster chilling the cabin in less than two minutes.
Our favourite feature on the car though remains that all-rounder of a diesel engine. It simply loves to deliver. The refinement is as good as a petrol, the fuel efficiency is good cause it delivers over 15kpl on a consistent basis. But the best part about the engine is that it is very responsive from a low rpm. Unlike lot of other SUVs where the useable power comes only after 2,000rpm, the Duster becomes lively from around 1,500-1,600rpm. This makes it an easy car to drive in the city.
What could be better?
No car is ever perfect and neither is the Duster. What you will appreciate about the car is its AMT gearbox. But that said, the gearbox could be improved further. Yes, it does take the stress of driving away but it does suffer from jerkiness and also doesn’t feel quick to your inputs. This can be frustrating when you are driving on the highway and want to make a quick overtaking move. The engine is willing but the gearbox just doesn’t respond quickly enough. Shifting into manual mode can help things by a bit but not by much.
There is an updated version of the Duster available now with few cosmetic updates. But the Duster comes across as a very solidly engineered car that simply isn’t short on talents. As a product it remains one of the best in the business and we would recommend a strong buy.