Renault truly started the Indian revolution of compact SUV with the Duster. The Duster also became the first car with the Renault badging to take a good chunk of market share. Soon after the launch of Duster, other manufacturers like Ford, Hyundai and Maruti jumped in the segment trying to replicate the success of Duster. Now, Duster has come a long way and with the new facelift, Renault also introduced the first and only Automated Manual Transmission to the segment. What all changes the new Duster carries and how good an AMT is on compact SUV? Let’s find out.
The Duster retains its high standing muscular profile. It still has the shape it is known for. Renault has, however, made some visible changes around the car to keep it fresh in the market. There is new grille in the front which now shines more because of the amount of chrome Renault has used on it. The headlamps are also reshaped to more angular ones. The Duster in India now looks like the global Duster which is sold by Dacia world over.
On the side, the Duster still has those chunky wheel arches and looks almost the same. The car gets new black alloy wheels and new roof rails with visible metal.
The rear now has new tail lamps with what Renault describe as water droplet effect. Both the front and rear have faux skid plates painted in silver that become the highlight.
Overall, new Duster has been changed significantly but still carries the same spirit with what Renault launched the car originally.
Renault has changed the color scheme on the inside. The two-tone color is now Dark Brown with Black. The seats are now wrapped in brown fabric that goes well with the dashboard and adds a sense of space inside the car. The central console is now painted in piano black with restyled AC controls that now have touch sensitive buttons and dials. The top of the line variant gets touch screen like the previous model which also acts as a reverse camera.
Duster remains one of the most spacious cars of the segment and the interiors remain as premium as ever. The car comes loaded with features like music system with speakers and connectivity to Bluetooth, USB and AUX-in. There are safety features like airbag and ABS.
Engine and transmission
The biggest highlight of the new Duster is the AMT, which Renault calls Easy-R transmission. It is a manual gearbox with computer controlled actuators and sensors. The AMT does not feel as smooth as the regular CVT or Torque Convertor transmissions, but they are cheaper to install and with some regular use, one gets to know just how to make use of them smoothly. The 6-speed AMT can also be put into manual mode for more control.
The Duster is powered by two engine options. The 85 PS diesel, which is mated with only 5-speed manual transmission and the 110 PS diesel, which gets both 6-speed AMT and manual transmission.
The Duster has always been the tried and tested car. Not only in India but in International markets too. The car carries a timeless design and offers a lot of equipment. Duster starts at Rs. 8.47 lakh, ex-showroom – Delhi but this car is not under 4 metres that makes it little expensive when compared to the competition. Duster Easy-R also becomes the only car in the segment with AMT. If you are looking for a big car that is easy to drive and does not consumes fuel like an automatic, then the Duster is the car to go for.