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Review: Renault Duster 84bhp RXL

Driven November 2012

Review: Renault Duster 84bhp RXL

Indians love SUVs. We like them big, brash and most importantly, cheap. Take the Scorpio, for example. It’s tall, hefty and looks like it can bring a building down with a nudge. And then, Mahindra came up with the XUV500. Which looks even bigger, has better toys and drives better than the Scorp.

The XUV’s launch resulted in long queues outside showrooms and longer waiting periods.

Renault has been watching this category closely and has taken its own sweet time bringing in the Duster. It’s not as long or as tall as the XUV, but it does tick all the right boxes for the perfect city SUV. It comes with petrol and diesel engine options, with the diesel available in two set of tunes.

What we have here is the least powerful of the lot – the 84bhp oil burner. On paper, it makes a good 25horses and 50Nm of torque less than the more powerful diesel block, but does it feel horribly underpowered compared to the 109bhp? Well, yes and no. No, because in the city when you’re driving in traffic at comparatively lower revs, it doesn’t feel the need for those 25 extra horses. It even gives slightly more to a litre – 12.1kpl – than the 109bhp version.

It’s a different story out on the highway though. You load up the Duster with five people and their luggage and the strain on the engine is apparent. It desperately misses the sixth gear that the 109bhp version gets. It takes lots of throttle to cruise at highway speeds, which, of course, hurts efficiency. It’ll give you 16kpl versus the 16.5 of the more powerful version.

The 84bhp is on sale in three trim levels. The base gets nothing more than you’d need to take you from A to B,  while the top-of-the-line gets ABS, airbags, alloy wheels and reverse sensors standard.

It starts at Rs 9.81 lakh and you’ll need Rs 11 lakh for the RXL variant. The full bells-and-whistles RXL (O) variant is pegged at Rs 12.34 lakh. It would’ve been a steal if it was a lakh-and-a-half cheaper. But now... Not quite.

The numbers
4cyl, 1461cc, 84bhp, 200Nm, diesel, 5M, 0-100kph – 14.71s, 30-50kph, (3rd) – 3.75s, 30-50kph, (4th) – 6.51s, 50-70kph, (5th) – 7.26s, 80-0kph – 29.29m, 155kph, 14kpl, Rs 11.01 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)

The verdict
Worth looking at, but the 84bhp only makes sense for the city. Turns heads too.



Agasti Kaulgi

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