Facelift for Renault Duster


There’s a fresh round of updates for the Indian market, with revised styling, some more features and new paint shades

Renault has given the Duster a fresh round of updates for the Indian market, with revised styling, some more features and new paint shades. The variants have undergone a shuffle too. Engine options, however, remain the same — a 106hp 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel in 85hp and 110hp states of tune. Here’s a look at what’s new.

The Duster’s chunky shape has aged quite well so far, and the latest round of styling tweaks do their bit to hide the Renault’s vintage further. Interestingly, some of the visual updates were necessitated by regulation. For instance, the bonnet line has been raised to meet latest pedestrian protection norms.

Facelift for Renault Duster

The bonnet itself has been redone, with the flat panel making way for a far more contoured surface. Lower down, there’s a slightly larger grille that’s heavy on bling, as a lot of it is finished in chrome. The updated Duster’s headlights seem familiar but they’ve been updated with projector lenses and LED daytime-running lights. While the latter is a welcome upgrade, full-LED headlights would have been more in keeping with the times. The front bumper carries forward with a scuff plate, cladding and fog lamps, although the individual elements have been reworked.

Facelift for Renault Duster

Viewed in profile, the attractive, new machined-alloy wheels are the biggest giveaway that the Duster you’re looking at is the latest one. Compare the old and new versions and you’ll also note a new strip of chrome lining the base of the window line. Wish Renault upgraded the lift-type door handles as well; they aren’t a very premium first point of contact. At the rear, there’s nothing new except for the plastic cladding that flanks the tail-lamps.

Those familiar with the older Duster’s interior will note the switch to a nice-to-hold new steering, neat new fonts for the instrument console and, of course, the redone dashboard. The centre console has been revised and now features rectangular vents in place of the older circular units, though the position of the touchscreen infotainment system and climate control dials remains unchanged. New to the Duster is a second glovebox (also cooled) that takes the place of the storage recess on the front-passenger side of the dashboard. An exterior body-coloured embellishment on the dash adds some colour to the interior, and the embossed patterns on the seats are nice too.

Facelift for Renault Duster

However, the look and feel of things inside the cabin is still not at par with the latest SUVs in the market. There are far too many hard and shiny plastics in the cabin and fit-and-finish is also far from class-best standards. Things like the rudimentary driver’s seat height-adjust lever don’t help the impression either. The ergonomics could have been better too, especially the low-set touchscreen that requires taking your eyes off the road to use its functions. The last bit is a shame, because the 7.0-inch touchscreen system is nice to use and finally gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay — a standard feature on the Duster facelift from the mid-spec RxS trim upwards. There’s also a new Eco readout that scores drivers on efficient driving.

In terms of comfort, there’s nothing new here. You sit at a nice height, the flat seats are more supportive than they appear and there is reasonable room in the cabin too. As always, the 475-litre boot is large enough to accommodate big suitcases.

The updated Duster complies with latest safety norms and gets dual airbags, ABS (with EBD), rear parking sensors, front seat-belt reminders and a speed warning system as standard. Automatics and AWD versions also get ESP and hill-start assist.

Auto climate control, cruise control and a rear parking camera are part of only the top-spec RxZ trim. The spoiler? This fully-loaded, top-spec trim is available with only the 110hp diesel (manual and AMT auto) motor and not with the other two engine options.

Given that Renault has not made any mechanical changes to the Duster, a spin in the 110hp diesel-manual was merely a refresher of what we know already. The engine runs quiet at low revs, pulls cleanly and delivers its power in a friendly manner. No doubt though, a slicker gearbox would have added to the experience. Still, there’s not much to complain about the powertrain. Do note, Renault is yet to find a viable solution to make the engine BS-VI-compliant, and there is a chance it might be discontinued by April 2020. So if you simply must have a diesel Duster, now would be a good time to get one.

Of the other things, the Duster’s absorbent ride, sure-footed demeanour and confident cruising ability continue to impress. It really feels like an SUV built to take a beating. The steering gives reasonable feel, but kickback on harsh bumps does corrupt the experience.

The Renault Duster might have started the mid-size SUV segment, but it’s no longer the first model that springs to mind when thinking of the class of SUV. With the update, Renault has essentially breathed fresh life into what is an ageing product, and priced between ₹7.99-12.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s fairly good value for a 4.3m-long SUV.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 11:25:08 AM |

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