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Old 16th August 2012, 13:14   #1
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Default Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

My garage is filled with Honda sedans (Civic, Honda City). And they were getting boring to drive. We needed a change. We needed a car that could roar over the broken roads in Jaipur and could keep it easy on the pocket to drive at the same time. Also, since my brother is into rural electrification, he needed a low-cost running car that could frequently travel to remote Indian villages with comfort. A diesel SUV was the answer. And he needed a car quick. And so the hunt began.

Having a budget of about 15L, we browsed through all the options and finally shortlisted the Mahindra XUV 5OO and the Renault Duster. We had booked the Duster in advance since I believed it was a strong contender and there were no cancellation charges.

We tested the XUV initially. I really liked the mHawk engine of the car. Minimal turbo lag, brisk performance, high speed stability, NVH levels and humongous space were the pluses. The toys in the car failed to impress me as they didn't work as intended, and the SA was clueless about them. However, the ride wasn't as comfortable and the seats were on the stiffer side. Overall, it didn't give a car-like driving experience to me. Rather, I thought I was driving a heavy utility vehicle. My dad said that the XUV rides like a truck and refused to ride in it again! The brakes on the TD vehicle were not impressive and also had grinding noises. The niggles and the absence of extended warranty had Mahindra written all over it. Moreover, since my brother would be travelling really long distances to remote villages, reliability was at a high priority on our list... and a question mark on Mahindra's. But since we had sourced out a within-a-week delivery of the vehicle, we kept this card open since the only other contender was a Duster.

Upon the release of the Duster, I took a trip of the Renault showroom with my mother since she's good in judging the comfort and looks of the car. After sitting in the back and front seats, checking out the interiors and closing the doors, she blatantly rejected the vehicle without even taking a TD of the vehicle and requested the manager to refund the booking amount.

Post rejection, we had no other choice but to settle for the XUV. We had almost settled for the deal, when one evening when I was picking up dad from the airport changed everything. Since the Renault showroom is pretty close to the airport, I decided to give the Duster one last shot before completely rejecting it. After I and dad drove the car, we fell for it. I immediately made up my mind to get this car back into consideration and after my brother drove it, we canceled the XUV and confirmed the Duster. This shows how a TD of a car can completely transform a decision. Since this car would be a highway traveler, we wanted the 110PS engine. And since we wanted all the safety features, it was the RXZ (without the leather option pack) that we settled for. After having a debate between white and red, we settled for the red for its sporty and unique look.

Hence after owning 3 Honda sedans, it was finally a warm welcome for a diesel SUV, aka, a red Renault Duster 110PS RXZ to enter our fleet. And boy I'm impressed. Here's what I think about this car after driving it for about 100kms:

1.) Ride: Ride. Ride. Ride. This car's ride quality is perhaps one of the best I've experienced on Indian roads. The broken roads over which I used to drive my Hondas with fear at 5kmph, the Duster does it with ease and comfort at 20kmph. I have a huge grin on my face every time I take the Duster over a patch of a broken road and say "My Hondas can't do this"! The suspension is very finely tuned and silent too. Body roll is very minimal and feels stable at high speeds. Steering is very light for city driving, but doesn't weight up well on the highways. Nonetheless, I am sold on this car primarily because of its ride quality.

2.) NVH: We always stayed away from diesel cars due to their extreme NVH levels. The transformation from a petrol to diesel in this case wasn't as harsh in this case, though. When cruising at mild speeds, you can barely figure if there is a diesel mill under the hood. Sure, there is audible diesel clatter entering the cabin in higher RPMs, but that's pretty acceptable for a diesel. Also, the wind noise is noticeable. I had to check a couple of times if all the windows were up due to the noise. It's not a big deal though.

3.) Power: I'm kinda disappointed with the turbo lag present below 1500rpm in this vehicle. However, it improves significantly post 1800rpm and fires like a rocket post 2000rpm. I guess it just requires changing my driving habits to keep the engine running in the sweet spot. Although you need to frequently upshift in the city areas, it's a real fun car to drive in open stretches and in less-crowded areas. There were often times when my dad told me not to rev the car so hard during run-in, and I had to remind him that I'm still only at 2100rpm! Oh, the laurels of diesel torque!

4.) Ground Clearance: What better a time to test the need of 205mm of GC in the monsoon season and with the traditional deep potholes and gorges on Indian roads? Now, I really don't feel afraid taking this car over an ocean in the middle of a road or over a deep pothole. This is where you realise that money on this SUV is well spent.

5.) Looks: This car has a simple, yet commanding and elegant look to it. None of the overly-designed "cheetah-whisker" bumpers and other similar designs are on this car. The wheel arches, roof rails, 16" alloys, chrome grill and skid-plates enhance the SUVness of the Duster. It's look satisfies the people who like sedans and people who like SUVs. Unlike the reviews about road presence, I believe that this car has a good road presence. I often see turning faces from the ORVMs and some people even open the doors and ask to have a look inside! The bikes now give you way when they see you coming. When I compare it to my sedans, this thing looks big! Maybe its because the car is new in the market, or the color is different, or its actually huge. But, you'd surely notice a duster if it crosses by you.


6.) ICE: Here the Duster disappoints me big time. The speakers are downright downmarket. I feel like the music is playing from my cell phone. Heck, I get better quality sound from my laptop! Even increasing the volume doesn't help. Poor bass, poor middle, poor surround sound, poor treble. But then, I guess this only requires upgrading the speakers right? I need your suggestions for this guys!
Besides the sound, the HU has adequate features for my requirement. CD, Radio, Aux, USB and Bluetooth is really all that I'd ever need. The Bluetooth feature is a neat touch. After pairing, it connects to my phone automatically whenever I sit in the car and syncs all my contacts, call lists and music. All I need to do is switch to BT Audio and it streams my music with the phone still in my pocket. Very cool. However, whenever you restart the car, the BT connectivity is completely lost and takes about a minute (and fails sometimes) to reconnect. Not cool.
Coming to the steering-mounted audio controls (well not literally), I think I'm better off tweaking the volume with 2 fingers instead of the thumb. However, all other controls besides volume up/down and mute/answer/hang are inconvenient to use. Although scrolling through the tracks on my phone with the scroll-wheel is nice, using the same for scrolling through the radio stations is a sheer pain in the arse. The wheel doesn't scroll through presets. Rather, it scans through the radio stations after pausing over it. Very strange. I end up using the presets on the HU to change the stations.


7.) Interior: I would have really wanted the interior of this car to be better, but you need to make compromises somewhere, right? What surprises me most is the absence of rubbing beading on the doors. Really Renault? Even your Pulse has it! I wonder how much would adding 4 pieces of rubber on this car have cost them. I think this also results in poorer noise insulation and a poorer "thud" sound from the doors. Nonetheless, the interiors have already grown on me. I no longer think of this cabin feeling cheap. I would want the steering to be meatier, since the current thickness does not give the driving-an-SUV feeling. The dials are easy to read and the MID provides adequate information. I like the dual tone interior, and the car looks better from the inside in the night. The lights are adequate and light up the car well in the dark. The cabin is very airy and the rear benchers get a good view of the front. Also, the incline on the rear bench is nearly perfect. The BIGGEST deal-breaker in this car for me was the rear seat leg space. Only if Renault pushed the bench a little backwards...

All in all, as an auto enthusiast, I believe that the luxury features available in other sedans priced similarly are toys that would only entertain me for a week or a month. But what I really look in a car is performance, ride, stability, efficiency and reliability. The duster checks all these crucial points, which makes it very easy for me to overlook the interior quirks and the absence of those toys. I want a car that makes me smile when I push it hard, and the Duster does that to me. And I believe it would continue to do so for many more miles I spend with this car.

Planned upgrades/accessories:

1.) Speakers: A good set of speakers for this car is almost a requirement for people who care even a little about music. I'm wondering if I should change 2 speakers or all 4. Which ones would you'll recommend? I need good bass and have a sub-10k budget on the speakers.

2.) 3M Car Care: I need this car shining for a good time!

3.) 3M Sun-Film: Travelling to villages would make this car a furnace. Major highway driving requires glare reduction as well.

4.) Front bullbar: This official Renault accessory enhances the front of the car, provides 2 additional lights and also protects the bumper.

5.) Body-colored door handles and ORVMs: The dealer agreed to do this at no extra cost. But my parents prefer the silver while I and my brother prefer the red. We think silver looks cheap while my parents think that body-colored handles and ORVMs would get monotonous. What do you guys think? Keep it silver or change it to red?

6.) Tuning Box: 135Bhp of power, 300Nm of torque, increased FE and top speed sounds too delicious for this car ! Link: CRTD2 Diesel Tuning Box - Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi 108 Bhp / 110 PS / 81 Kw

I only clicked a few pictures as of now. But I'll surely post more soon!

Cheers!

Nilesh
Attached Thumbnails
Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take-photo.jpg  

Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take-photo-1.jpg  

Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take-photo-2.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 16th August 2012 at 14:10. Reason: Please do NOT use acronyms when referring to cars. Full names only. Thanks
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Old 16th August 2012, 13:16   #2
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Default re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats gennius,

Seems this is the first Duster Ownership in T-Bhp.
Color also looks cool. i have seen the same color in flesh.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
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Old 16th August 2012, 13:25   #3
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Default re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats on your new Ride !

Your garage is full of fantastic machines surely !

Happy Mile crunching !!!
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Old 16th August 2012, 13:36   #4
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Default re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congratulations for the Duster.

This is the first Duster ownership review on the forum I guess. This is going to be a much read thread for sure. Pls post more interior pics, especially the dashboard, seats with leg and headroom being shown and boot.
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Old 16th August 2012, 13:53   #5
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Default re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congratulations. It's true - for the budget there is no other vehicle as of now that would carry you over broken roads in a better way. I too have booked the 85PS RXE and am waiting for whenever the delivery takes place. My budget was limited to 10L so that really only leaves the Duster as an option for me. After driving the Duster I feel it does get the essentials right though it short-changes us where the extras and nice-to-haves are concerned.

The red looks really good. I expect to see a lot of brown and silver Dusters, in that sea your vehicle would definitely stand out.

Wishing you many many happy and safe miles.

One question - when exactly did you book and how long did it take for your car to arrive? Did the car have your name + VIN already allotted from the factory?
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Old 16th August 2012, 13:56   #6
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Default re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats Nilesh for the new purchase.
Since you mentioned about upgrading to the tuning box, have you checked on racechip.de
Chiptuning RaceChip - Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi 110 FAP, 1461ccm, 81kW (ca.110PS)

I dont have any experience with these tuning boxes/racechips but someone on the forum mentioned about this so thought of sharing.
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Old 16th August 2012, 14:14   #7
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats gennius,
Thank you very much for the review.
Yes, yours is the first ownership review on Team-BHP.
How is the power delivery with AC on and with 2-3 passenger+luggage ?
Waiting for more interior pics.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
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Old 16th August 2012, 14:27   #8
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats Nilesh on the new purchase. It definitely looks great in red. I would strongly recommend you upgrade all 4 speakers and preferably go for components up front, this should be manageable within 10K budget with decent brands.

Regarding the official bullbar accessory that you mention, do figure out how it impacts air bag sensors during frontal impact.
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Old 16th August 2012, 14:41   #9
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats Nilesh. The Duster is quite a beauty. I would suggest that you change the OVRMs to red even if you want to leave the door handles at silver. The OVRMs in silver doesn't seem to gel with the car.
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Old 16th August 2012, 14:42   #10
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congrats Nilesh on your new purchase. Duster looks best in Red IMO. Wishing you many happy miles in your new car.

Please paint the ORVM,door handles in Red or get it chrome-painted(best option but you might have to get it done outside).
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Old 16th August 2012, 15:06   #11
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Finally a ownership report, good to get an owners perspective. Thanks for the detailed report Nilesh.

I am not usually a 'red' person but for the Duster I think it looks good, infact darker colours seem to look better.

I would prefer to leave the door handles and mirrors stock. One of the Duster owners on the forum has changed his speakers so should be able to help. I have tested 2 110's the nature of the turbo lag on both were completely different, one had severe turbo lag and the other hardly any - done 2400km. Maybe the lag improves after run in.

Does the rear ac interfere with the font seat driver in anyway? Are you thinking about putting in an armrest?
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Old 16th August 2012, 16:11   #12
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Car looks great in red Since your car has air-bags stay away from bullbar.I have read somewhere that air-bags will not deploy properly in the presence of bullbar.Correct me if I am wrong
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Old 16th August 2012, 16:21   #13
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aks_karthik
Congrats gennius,

Seems this is the first Duster Ownership in T-Bhp.
Color also looks cool. i have seen the same color in flesh.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
Thanks Karthik!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alive2Drive
Congrats on your new Ride !

Your garage is full of fantastic machines surely !

Happy Mile crunching !!!
Haha thanks man! We always scrutinize a car thoroughly before purchasing it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by advaitlele
Congratulations for the Duster.

This is the first Duster ownership review on the forum I guess. This is going to be a much read thread for sure. Pls post more interior pics, especially the dashboard, seats with leg and headroom being shown and boot.
Here you go:

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Seats have good cushioning. Lumbar support on the driver's seat is pretty good. The middle seat at the back could do with more headrest. Tall people sitting in the middle would struggle.

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This is the available leg space at the back with my father (5'10") on the passenger seat and I (5'8") on the driver. Its not bad, I'd say.
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This is the leg room with the driver seat pulled back completely. Although its not uncomfortable, I wouldn't want to be sitting here in long drives.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snkjr
Congratulations. It's true - for the budget there is no other vehicle as of now that would carry you over broken roads in a better way. I too have booked the 85PS RXE and am waiting for whenever the delivery takes place. My budget was limited to 10L so that really only leaves the Duster as an option for me. After driving the Duster I feel it does get the essentials right though it short-changes us where the extras and nice-to-haves are concerned.

The red looks really good. I expect to see a lot of brown and silver Dusters, in that sea your vehicle would definitely stand out.

Wishing you many many happy and safe miles.

One question - when exactly did you book and how long did it take for your car to arrive? Did the car have your name + VIN already allotted from the factory?
You're spot on! Thanks a lot! I booked the vehicle a month before its launch. Yeah the vehicle did have a last name on the VIN. But since we changed from white to red last minute, we had a different name on the VIN

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagpatel
Congrats Nilesh for the new purchase.
Since you mentioned about upgrading to the tuning box, have you checked on racechip.de
Chiptuning RaceChip - Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi 110 FAP, 1461ccm, 81kW (ca.110PS)

I dont have any experience with these tuning boxes/racechips but someone on the forum mentioned about this so thought of sharing.
Thanks! That looks good! It's way cheaper and offers better numbers than mine. I'll have a look at this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KALINGA
Congrats gennius,
Thank you very much for the review.
Yes, yours is the first ownership review on Team-BHP.
How is the power delivery with AC on and with 2-3 passenger+luggage ?
Waiting for more interior pics.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
Well the max load the car has had is 4 adults and 1 child. Frankly, I didn't notice any difference in me driving alone and with 4 other people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu
Congrats Nilesh on the new purchase. It definitely looks great in red. I would strongly recommend you upgrade all 4 speakers and preferably go for components up front, this should be manageable within 10K budget with decent brands.

Regarding the official bullbar accessory that you mention, do figure out how it impacts air bag sensors during frontal impact.
Thanks man! Could you tell me who upgraded the speakers? I'm unable to search him on the forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ananth_iy
Congrats Nilesh. The Duster is quite a beauty. I would suggest that you change the OVRMs to red even if you want to leave the door handles at silver. The OVRMs in silver doesn't seem to gel with the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89
Congrats Nilesh on your new purchase. Duster looks best in Red IMO. Wishing you many happy miles in your new car.

Please paint the ORVM,door handles in Red or get it chrome-painted(best option but you might have to get it done outside).
Quote:
Originally Posted by raul
Finally a ownership report, good to get an owners perspective. Thanks for the detailed report Nilesh.

I am not usually a 'red' person but for the Duster I think it looks good, infact darker colours seem to look better.

I would prefer to leave the door handles and mirrors stock. One of the Duster owners on the forum has changed his speakers so should be able to help. I have tested 2 110's the nature of the turbo lag on both were completely different, one had severe turbo lag and the other hardly any - done 2400km. Maybe the lag improves after run in.

Does the rear ac interfere with the font seat driver in anyway? Are you thinking about putting in an armrest?
Thanks guys! Yeah I'm not a red person either. But the duster is one of the few cars that looks better in red than in white. I really hope that's true for the turbo lag.

Well as GTO mentioned in his review, one does initially struggle fitting in the middle seat. But once one is settled, there's not much discomfort. Of course, if you plan to seat 4 people in the back which would require the person in the middle to squish his legs, he would have a bad time. Also, I don't plan on an armrest as of now. Since I'm actively changing gears, I don't really rest my arm as much. Would like to have that as an accessory provided Renault comes up with one. No third party business here.



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Also, I've noticed that the high beam is not as powerful. I was struggling to get a proper view yesterday night when it was raining. IMO xenons would look great on the double barrel headlamps.

Talking about rains, the wiper settings are very restrictive. i am used to lifting the wiper stalk for a single wipe, but this only has intermittent mode and continuous mode, without even a fast wipe mode! Since it doesn't rain like cats and dogs in Jaipur, this is not as big of an issue.

The rear parking sensors work like a charm! Senses humans, dogs, walls, everything!

The glove box is deep but isn't high enough. You can't fit an SLR in this thing.

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Sursprisingly, the key doesn't have a Renault logo embossed on it! The keychain looks cute, though.

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Last edited by gennius : 16th August 2012 at 16:35.
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Old 16th August 2012, 16:57   #14
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Quote:
Originally Posted by gennius View Post
3.) 3M Sun-Film: Travelling to villages would make this car a furnace. Major highway driving requires glare reduction as well.

5.) Body-colored door handles and ORVMs: The dealer agreed to do this at no extra cost.

6.) Tuning Box: 135Bhp of power, 300Nm of torque, increased FE and top speed sounds too delicious for this car ! Link: CRTD2 Diesel Tuning Box - Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi 108 Bhp / 110 PS / 81 Kw
Congratulations gennius, from one Duster fan to another!!
Are you sure about the sun films? Wont this cause trouble with the cops?
I agree about the need though. Do you know if Renault provides tinted glasses? I keep forgetting this item when i go for test drives.

Superb news about the body colored door handles and ORVMs. I completely dislike the silver ones. Glad to see your dealer is so co-operative . Go for it.

Cant wait to hear from you after you get the tuning box and new speakers.
Enjoy every mile trampled with the Duster.
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Old 16th August 2012, 17:46   #15
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Default Re: Renault Duster RXZ 110 : An Owner's take

Congratulations on your purchase. Probably the first Duster on teambhp. Red colour is really looking very nice. To be frank I think it has the best ride quality among SUV's in this price range. Little offtopic but how is its ride quality compared to Safari? Wish you many happy and safe miles.
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