Branded Content: Renault Duster - The true SUV


There are many reasons why the irrepressible Renault Duster should find a place in your garage. For one, it is the most powerful SUV in its segment with a 156PS 1.3L turbo-petrol engine. Two, unlike other pseudo-SUVs in India, the Duster is a tough-as-nails vehicle that is capable of decimating all kinds of terrain while cocooning its occupants inside its smart cabin. Three, the Duster is the original compact SUV – a pathbreaker that created an entire category. In fact, the compact SUV category in India can be divided into two eras – pre- and post Duster. Now, let’s take a quick journey back to 2012, when this cult SUV was launched in the country.

Born to Rule

When the Duster burst onto the scene, it packed everything the Indian car buyer dreamt of – enviable street presence, time-tested durability and bullet-proof mechanicals. The Duster became the coveted blueprint for success in the SUV space – and not without reason. Having been around in the country for a while, Renault diligently studied what Indian customers needed from their vehicle and accordingly developed the SUV, which was designed to tackle all buyers’ concerns.

Red accents on the front grille signal intent and performance.

Despite its butch, muscular appearance, the Duster brought in a key structural change – it adopted a monocoque construction instead of a ladder-frame chassis. While most SUV buyers admired the abilities of the latter in the SUVs from years past, they almost always lacked finesse in their on-road manners. The Duster added new layers of sophistication with its monocoque chassis – without compromising on toughness. This sophistication was enabled by the exemplary suspension the Duster was blessed with. Renault’s cracker of an SUV was equipped with a solid and dependable set-up, comprising MacPherson struts up front and a torsion bar suspension at the back, which meant the Duster could hold its own at highway speeds and around the tightest of corners, but was pliant enough over bad patches of road and rough trail sections. The Duster – and its occupants – were never ruffled by a change in terrain, as the SUV simply flattened every road imperfection in its path. And it could do it while keeping passengers wholly comfortable, with enough space for five adults and their luggage.

Forza diamond-cut alloys amplify Duster’s rugged good looks.

Winner all the way

All of this meant the Duster received a rousing reception in the country. In the first six months itself, Renault had delivered over 20,000 units of the SUV to delighted customers, and the Duster rocketed to becoming one of the highest-selling SUVs in the country, making up two-thirds of Renault’s domestic sales. By 2014, there were over one lakh cars on the road, making the French marque not just an established player in India’s passenger vehicle market, but more importantly, a household name. Further establishing its iconic status was the ‘Gang of Dusters’ – a one of its kind community wherein Duster owners shared their experiences and memorable journeys to different parts of the country – from taking on the ascent to Leh, to exploring the idyllic settings of Munnar. The community today comprises more than 1.5 lakh members and counting…

Gangs of Duster, a one-of-its kind community, now has over 1.5 lakh members across India.

Plush and powerful

With several key updates over the years, the Duster grew ever stronger as a package. Late last year, to complement the tried and tested 1.5-litre, naturally aspirated petrol motor, Renault also ushered in one of the most powerful turbo-petrol engines seen in a mass-market SUV, the 156PS, 1.3-litre turbo unit, for those craving added performance. The 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine comes mated to either a 6-speed manual or an X-Tronic CVT. The new Duster’s engine is equipped with a gasoline direct injection system mated to a turbocharger, and that means lower emissions, increased fuel efficiency and superb responsiveness at lower RPMs. The 7-step continuous variable transmission delivers power to the wheels without missing a beat, and if you prefer manual, there’s also the slick 6-speed manual transmission on offer.

The Renault Duster’s 156PS, 1.3-litre unit is one of the most powerful turbo-petrol engines seen in a mass-market SUV.

And, of course, among the traditional Duster attributes, there’s that high ground clearance (205mm) and high departure and approach angles that help the SUV stand out from the rest. The Duster’s turbo version is also more outgoing visually, with flashes of deep red on the exterior, dual-tone body colour bumper and R17 diamond-cut alloys enhancing the SUV’s good looks. The Duster’s cabin, apart from great amounts of legroom, headroom and plush, comfortable seats, also features a pre-cooling function that enables switching on the air-con – as well as the engine – before you even enter the car. Other elements that will meet your approval include the velvety black interiors, soft-touch buttons on the steering, a comprehensive instrument cluster that displays a range of relevant information, a fully integrated 17.63-cm touchscreen (Android Auto/Apple CarPlay), voice recognition, and an ARKAMYS tuned audio system with four speakers and two front tweeters. What about safety features? Well, the Duster has a complete package, from ABS, EBD and driver and passenger airbags to Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Hill-Start Assist.

X-Tronic CVT gets 7-speed manual mode; 6-speed manual also on menu.

Assured peace of mind

The Duster is backed by Renault’s responsive sales and service network, so you can be rest assured of the best aftersales team attending to your SUV at frequent intervals to keep it going kilometre after kilometre. With over 500 dealerships, Renault has a significant presence in the country and you are never going to be too far away from a service centre. Its R-Secure Extended/Anytime Warranty programmes are tailored to ensure you get a hassle-free ownership experience.

Over the last couple of years, Renault has also leveraged technology through its ‘My Renault App’ that makes communication and resolution of issues – if any – a breeze and helps you decide on the Renault of your choice from the comfort of your home. If you are looking for a true SUV and a tried and tested performer, we’d suggest you log on to the Renault India website and check it out right away. And, we won’t be surprised if we find one in your garage soon.

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