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Renault launched the Duster in the Indian market back in 2012. After this mid-size SUV launched, it not only gained popularity but also had and still has a fan base. This was because the Duster was rugged, stylish and muscular and handled really well on any kind of road.
The Duster diesel was also offered with a 4x4 setup, which unfortunately got discontinued. However, over the years the mid-size SUV has had a couple of facelifts and the current facelifted version looks extremely fantastic and much bolder.
Renault earlier this year, launched the all-new 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine for the Duster, which was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo. So, this latest facelifted version featuring this engine is called the Duster Turbo. We got our hands on the car for a couple of days and drove it around the city and on the highways. For sure with all the cosmetic updates the all-new Duster Turbo looks so cool, especially in this Caspian blue colour scheme. So, read more to find out about this mid-size SUV.
Design & Style
At the front, there is a fair amount of chrome around and on the grille. Now to distinguish the turbo petrol variant from the naturally aspirated one, the company has done some cosmetic updates in the form of red inserts all around the car. So one chrome slat of the grill is finished in red and the same inserts are present on top of the halogen fog lamps.
The headlight unit also features some chrome accents and a Renault badge on the inside and is also blacked out. It features a projector set up for the low beam and a reflector set up for the high beam, and both feature halogen bulbs. Now the DRLs of the Duster is a two-piece setup that looks good and is pretty bright. Other than that, the lower half of the bumper also features grey accents and the overall colour combination does not look bad.
Moving on to the side profile, the first thing that will catch your attention is that 17-inch, dual-tone, five-spoke alloy wheel. You also get chunky roof rails and on it, you have the Duster badge in red. You also get body-coloured ORVMs with an integrated indicator. The Duster gets a ground clearance of 205mm, which is more than enough to take all the bad roads and potholes in the city. With that amount of ground clearance, some mild off-roading can also be done.
At the rear, the Duster gets a vertically stacked taillight that features an LED strip in the middle and the rest of the bulbs are halogen. At the centre of the boot, that used to feature the DUSTER badge in chrome or black, has now been replaced by the red. It also gets a turbo badge and a few other badges finished in chrome. Overall, the Duster turbo with the red accents, the Caspian blue colour and the grey inserts at the front and rear, looks amazing.
Interiors & Features
Step inside the cabin and you will be welcomed with a lot of room. Sadly, the interiors of the Duster turbo feels pretty basic and like on the outside, the inside should also have been given the red treatment. Hard, but good quality plastic has been used everywhere and there is some soft-touch cloth material on the door panels so that the interiors look slightly upmarket. Since this is the turbo variant we would have loved to see a full black interior layout.
Speaking about the seats, the front two are fairly comfortable and luckily the driver's side features a height adjuster. The seats do not tire you out during a long journey, but at the same time are not the best in terms of comfort. They offer decent under-thigh support and side bolsters.
The second row can easily accommodate three passengers as the floor bed is almost flat. It also gets a centre armrest that can be deployed if two people are travelling. However, there is no issue as far as the headroom is concerned, but if there are people with long legs travelling then, knee room can be an issue. We also wished that the Duster RXZ top-end variant got a sunroof, which is there in the other cars in this segment.
The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and has a good grip to it. There are buttons mounted on the wheel but those are neither for the MID screen or the instrument cluster. The cluster on the Duster turbo is basic and features analogue dials for the speedo and odometer. The MID screen reads out information like trips, distance to empty, fuel gauge, etc.
Speaking about the infotainment system, it is a seven-inch touchscreen that has an anti-reflection screen. The system is placed slightly down on the centre console and you will have to take your eyes off the road to read or fiddle with something. It also features AndroidAuto and Apple CarPlay.
Now just below the instrument cluster, where the charging socket is the button for the automatic start/stop. What does this do? It shuts down the car when you have come to a halt, and once you press the brake again, the car comes back to life. All of this is done so that some fuel can be saved during the city stop and go traffic. Actually, this feature sometimes gets irritating, especially during the summers as whenever the car stops the AC compressor also cuts out. So, with the help of that button, you can disable this feature.
Power & Handling
Powering the Duster turbo is the all-new 1‘HR13' 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbo petrol engine. The unit produces 156bhp of power and 245Nm of peak torque. The engine is said to be using the same cylinder coating technology as the ones seen on Nissan GT-R supercar. It also features a dual variable valve timing for superior performance. The engine is mated to a seven-step CVT transmission.
The initial acceleration is pretty smooth, but as the turbo kicks in at around 1700 to 1800rpm, the Duster will put a smile on your face. The shifts feel smooth and the gearbox does its job well in the city. Now switch the car in manual mode and you will gain slight controls over the shift. Although if you do not shift in manual mode the car will shift on its own once it hits the 5500rpm redline.
In the manual mode, the shifts feel more crisp and sharp than the automatic mode. You can overtake on the automatic mode also, but quick overtakes will be easier in the manual mode. When you are cruising on the highway, a light foot on the throttle will do the job well and yes it does get cruise control and a speed limiter.
Now coming to the main part of the car, the suspensions. Now one thing that we all like about the duster is the ride and handling and the suspensions on the Turbo variant offers you the best of both worlds. To be honest, if you see a bad patch of road, just floor the car and it will easily glide through it. The insulation and the NVH levels are also pretty good and do not allow the engine or the outside noise to enter the cabin.
Surprisingly, if you show the duster some corners, it will not disappoint you. But at the same time, it does tend to understeer sometimes. The steering on the car felt hard, which is not a bad thing, but at a standstill also it felt pretty hard. And if you have to take a U-turn which also includes reversing the car, you will have to muscle the steering wheel. However, we also noticed that there was some amount of dribble on the wheel the entire time.
As far as the mileage figures are concerned, we could not do a proper mileage test, but the company claims that the Duster turbo offers around 16 to 17 km/l both for the manual six-speed and the CVT. On that note, the manual Duster turbo will be a hoot to drive around, as the CVT offers a very plush and comfortable ride. Whereas in a manual, you can have much more fun.
We were driving the Renault Duster turbo RXZ variant, which carries a price tag of Rs 13.56 lakh ex-showroom. Well, it might seem slightly on the expensive side as the Duster does not offer many features that the other cars in the same segment do.
But, what it offers is excellent handling and drive quality and now it also comes with the most powerful engine in the segment. So if you are looking for a mid-size SUV that can be your daily as well as a mild offroader, the Duster will certainly suit your needs.