Renault Duster – What’s new on the Duster Turbo?

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SUVs are all over the place – and one of the SUVs responsible for this craze today, is the Renault Duster. This model proved to be very popular since its launch in 2012. Its rugged looks and potent engines made it a big hit among Indian customers, but as other manufacturers starting belting out new compact SUVs, the Duster slowly began to lose its charm. In 2019, however, Renault cars gave it a fresh look in the form of some exterior revisions, more equipment, new colours and an updated cabin. The Duster is sold with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, a 1.5-litre diesel engine, paired to a CVT, AMT and a 5-speed manual and, last but not least, a brand-new 1.3-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine – the one which we’re going to talk about now.

Tough-as-nails

The overall, beefy silhouette of the Renault Duster is the same, but the prominent cosmetic changes stare you in the face. The front-end is where you will see the important changes, like the raised bonnet that’s been attended to because of the latest pedestrian safety norms. The bonnet looks shapely now and the radiator grille, which is bigger, gets lots of chrome on it. The outline of the headlights remains the same, but the projector lenses and LED DRLs are new additions. The front bumper now features cladding, fog lights and a scuff plate. When looked at from the side, the Duster remains the same but the machined-alloy wheels are new. There’s also a chrome strip that runs the length of the window line. At the rear, not much has been done, except for the plastic cladding at the rear. The Turbo model gets red accents on the exterior, giving it a sporty appeal. You also get a ‘Turbo’ badge on the tail gate.

Simple but built to last

Thank fully, the cabin too, has received some good changes – in the form of a new steering, neat fonts for the instrument cluster and a restyled dashboard. Even the central console has been updated, featuring rectangular AC vents. However, the touchscreen infotainment system stays in the same place and the dials for climate control remain unchanged too. It features a second glove box, which is also cooled. Some of the body colour finds its way on to the dashboard, giving the cabin a lively look and the seats get patterns on them. But unfortunately, the quality and feel of plastics don’t match up to other rivals. Ergonomics could use some work and the low-set touchscreen is set a bit low. The Renault Duster features a 7.0-inch touchscreen system that gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, steering mounted audio controls and an Eco readout that scores the driver on frugal driving. Comfort-wise, you sit at a good height and the seats are very supportive. Room in the cabin won’t leave passengers cramped and the Renault Duster’s 475-litre boot is big enough to swallow in huge suitcases. On the safety front, the Duster is equipped with ABS with EBD, front seat-belt reminders and a speed warning system, ESP and hill-start assist, a rear parking camera, projector headlamps with LED DRLs, electric folding mirrors, cruise control and auto climate control.

Turbo for the win

A 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine finds its way into the Renault Duster. This is also the same unit that is shared with the Nissan Kicks. The motor produces 153bhp and 254Nm of torque, mated to a CVT automatic ‘box. Start the car, and it immediately becomes evident that the engine is refined and free from vibrations. Response is good the moment you put your foot down and power is delivered in a linear manner, meaning there won’t be a sudden surge in power. Performance is impressive though, and the Renault Duster picks up pace seamlessly. We didn’t like the long-travel we could feel when pressing down on the throttle. The engine doesn’t like to rev much either, while the up shifts from the CVT ‘box are reasonably good. When the revs begin to climb, the thrum from the motor becomes prominent. New to the Duster Turbo is an engine stop/start feature. The 7-step CVT does a good job in sending power to the wheels smoothly, but at low speeds, you do feel the jerk. You can even switch it to manual mode, which we found to be quite enjoyable. We just wish Renault Cars could bring the second-generation Duster to India sometime soon. Also, grab the latest info on the upcoming cars, only at autoX

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