New Renault Duster, what are your opinions about it?
The Renault Duster is here! Wait, it never left the market, did it? No, it didn’t but Renault has launched a new facelifted version of the first-gen model with prices starting from INR 7,99,990 (ex-showroom, Delhi). So, what’s new? and do you like it?
Starting things off with the price tag. The starting price for the Duster is INR 4,000 more than the 2018 variant. I wouldn’t mind giving out a little extra if Renault gave a couple of significant upgrades for this price, which they have. The ‘new’ features for the base variant (RxE petrol) includes a pair of new projector headlamps, dual tone body colour front bumper, matte black embellishing on the tailgate, a new black-grey theme for the dashboard, horizontal AC vents along with body-coloured inserts on the centre console and a new steering wheel.
Although this seems like numerous upgrades on paper, I believe it doesn’t sum up to a significant upgrade in terms of features. If you’re looking for considerable improvement, I suggest you tick the box against the middle (RxS) variant which gets you an additional number of cosmetic as well as feature upgrades which consists of a tri-winged full chrome grille, LED DRLs up front, brown fabric for the insides, a new graphic instrument cluster with multi-information display, a cooled glovebox and a 17.64cm touchscreen MediaNav infotainment system embedded with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The new chromed grille along with LED DRLs gets the Duster to rise up to its new-age competitors in terms of design, almost. The new instrument cluster and infotainment system is a much-needed improvement, however, what brings it down is the centre console design which, keeping in mind its high tech competitors looks dated and quite bland. I believe these upgrades might just help the Duster in getting some sales, majorly due to its long-standing brand name but in the long run, do you think it can stand its ground against the feature-brimmed Hyundai Venue and Creta, the capable Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon and the Harrier and the veteran Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Ford Ecosport?
Oh, if you plan to pay a little extra premium and go for the top of the line (RxZ) variant, you’ll get yourself diamond cut alloy wheels (also with the RxS (O) variant), blue glazed fabric interiors, an EcoGuide system (a system that will monitor your driving pattern and advice you on how to improve efficiency) and lastly, 2 front tweeters in the cabin. Not a particularly great value-for-money proposition, if you ask me, considering the asking price for this one is INR 12.10 lakhs.
As it isn’t a generation upgrade than a mere facelift, to keep up with the industry or in this case, competitors’ standards, the engine and gearbox options have been carried over from the 2018 model. Two engine options are on offer, one petrol and one diesel. The petrol engine is a 1.5L, four-cylinder motor putting out 106hp and 142Nm of torque. This engine option can be paired with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-step CVT automatic gearbox. The diesel unit, a 1.5L four-cylinder turbocharged motor, comes in two states of tune - one producing 85hp and 200Nm, can only be had with a manual transmission, while the other belting out 110hp and 245Nm of torque which can be coupled with a manual or an AMT gearbox.
You can get the 2019 Renault Duster with the AWD (All-Wheel Drive) with the RxS variant instead of the top-of-the-line RxZ, helping you save close to Rs 60,000 for the said configuration. Safety kit including dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist comes standard across all variants with higher variants receiving ESP (Electronic Stability Program), Hill Start Assist and rear parking camera with guidelines. The new model also gets two new colour options - Caspian Blue and Mahogany Brown.
To sum up, the Duster comes with noticeable upgrades. Cosmetically, it looks better than ever, more so with the chrome grille to keep the Indian customers happy. The upgraded media system will surely help the case of the Duster but I think it’ll still be worried about the features and infotainment systems fitted in its competitors, especially the connected car - Hyundai Venue and the updated Creta. Not to forget, the customers looking for a standout design over everything else might not leave the Tata showroom due to the Harrier. So, coming back to my original question - do you like it?
Let me know your opinions in the comments below!
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