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Review: Renault Duster 1.5 110bhp
Driven July 2012
For all of you who ended up with a hatch or a sedan but actually wanted an SUV, we understand. Because for about Rs 10 lakh or thereabouts, the only SUVs you could get yourself were the Scorpio or the Safari. And you didn’t because you can’t keep going through heart-in-mouth moments every time you change lanes a bit quickly or brake in a bit of a hurry.
Which is where Renault’s Duster comes in. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel. It sticks to the basics. Gives you what you want, removes what you don’t, and ends up being the best SUV this side of a Skoda Yeti in terms of on-road dynamics, costing a half of the Yeti.
Ride in the Duster is excellent. It gobbles up the worse that our powers-that-be pass off as roads. You get no thuds, no jolts, and no levitating experiences over the worst of bumps. Even the big three from Germany don’t have cars that ride this well. Handling around corners isn’t as tight as a Yeti, but way better than many cars and light years ahead of Mahindras and Tatas and any of those truck-based off-roaders.
Drawbacks? Wind noise is high at speeds above 80kph, the wiper has only two speeds, and if you want to do some quick overtaking, you have to keep the 1.5 diesel at 2000rpm or more as there is some lag till about 1800rpm.
The interiors aren’t as attractive looking as an XUV 500 or feel as solidly built as something like the VW Vento, which is about the same price as the Duster. However, everything inside seems built to be durable and effective rather than attractive or impressive. Plus, it’s perked up with interesting colour combinations and stripes on the dash and the seats. The Duster doesn’t get features like a sun-roof, cruise control or a talking lady. But you get essential stuff like Bluetooth, USB port, dual airbags, ABS, EBD and even a rear AC vent.
So far, if you wanted a good SUV, you’d have to spend nearly Rs 20 lakh or stick to a sedan or a hatch. Now, you can very simply, get yourself a Duster. It’s simple, smart and straightforward.