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Old 8th September 2012, 12:08   #1
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Default Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

The Background

It all began the the year 1995, fresh out of college with nothing to do than be of nuisance value to parents, that I decided to give four wheeler driving a shot. Even though I was driving my father’s lambretta from the age of 8, when petrol used to cost me Rs.7.65 to the litre, 4 wheelers never really appealed to me. Nothing like the 2-wheeler wind in your face to get that adrenalin rush.

Moreover, those were the days of Ambys and Padminis when new cars were made, not bought. Even a new Ambassador first went to the tinker workshop to get the mandatory spot welding for re-inforcement. Further, a 4 wheeler was a luxury. Besides I was too much into my KB100 to think about anything else.

So, when my Father towed home a Medium chassis Mahindra with a P4 engine, I was vaguely curious. Those days we were staying in Coimbatore, the mecca of all things automobile. I used to go to the workshop everyday from morning till evening when the JEEP was being built, chatting with up the tinkering guys and the workshop guys and getting all my clothes greasy and sweaty, in short, having a pretty good time. Finally the P4 came home. Got a couple of neighborhood guys to push start the JEEP, (Battery was Dead) and jumped in to the driver’s seat. From then on I was hooked. Even now, nothing beats the thrill of driving a JEEP, with it’s half ply steering wheel, diesel mixed aroma, the distinct smoke permeating into the body through the various holes on the floor, and yeah The wind(sometimes even rain) hitting your face from the side. I was like a puppy with the windows rolled down, minus the tongue hanging out.

Maybe that made me biased in my choice of 4 wheelers, but, spent a good 5 years on a Diesel IZUSU Amby, built from scratch trying to find if AMBY was the one. Sadly, it was not to be, cos Y2K crashed the Indian monopoly automobile market with it’s glut of new arrivals to the point where AMBY started to look like Schumi on his comeback. So with a heavy heart, gave away or rather threw away the Amby. Still the head and more importantly the purse said, be safe. So went and bought a second hand Maruti 1000 from TVS Hosur plant(It was a GM owned vehicle), immaculately maintained. I was overwhelmed by the advance in technology from my Amby to the M 1000. It was like the caveman discovering fire. But still, there was something missing. I just could not put a finger to it. A trip to munnar changed it all. There I was, driving along the winding hills in my Maruti 1000 and feeling pretty confident about myself, when a Bolero blasted past me. To make matters worse, that section of road was the worse for wear and I had to tiptoe on the accelerator to get going whereas the bolero did not even as much as reduce speed.

By 2007, a good 12 years from the time I first drove the JEEP, I had my eureka moment. I needed a SUV. Right from the time the new DI Bolero was launched, it appealed to my visual senses. With no further ado, sold my Maruti 1000 and booked India’s largest selling SUV. Suddenly, there was a spring in my step. The road not taken beckoned. And boy, was I pleased. Jose Peter’s ride kindled the Devil in me. Went ahead and got Bilsteins and what not on the bolero and pretty much had a good time. On the back of my mind, I was vaguely worried about the braking ability of the Bolero. In fact I even discussed this on our forum here.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...-upgrades.html (Bolero Brake Upgrades.)

On January 26th January 2012, my worst fears came true.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...ml#post2241325

So, with tail stuck firmly between my legs, got myself a fully loaded Petrol Chevy Beat. Why Chevy? Why anything? All I needed was a ride which stops when and where I want it to without making it seem as if it was doing me a favor. Top on my list was ABS. The rest simply don’t matter. More than anything, I was angry, scared and frustrated that I will never get the one meant for me. Chevy was good, reasonably comfortable for it’s size and I needed some reassurance that cars can and will stop. For it’s size and weight. The beat is a pretty nifty chap. I touched 160 on the highway and panic braked just to see what the Beat can do, and the Beat did it in style. I was convinced bolero was a one off case. But still, the beat seemed a partnership of convenience, not passion. The beat also was not the one. And then the DUSTER was launched.

When the Duster was launched by DACIA in 2009, I was really looking forward to its arrival in Indian shores. The positive reviews that the Duster got, made the anticipation even greater. Even though I had the Bolero then, I thought that the Duster would be the perfect upgrade some years down the line. By the time rumors of Duster launch gathered momentum, I lost my Bolero, regained my faith in braking capacity of Vehicles and felt increasingly trapped by the lack of options on my Beat. Spiralling petrol costs combined with my need to travel 80 Kms everyday made my Beat a white elephant.

Booking and delivery

So, I went to Khivraj Pearl, cheque in hand on June 13th itself, asking for advance booking, even before the Duster was officially launched. They thought I was crazy, I felt like a fool, but I was beyond caring. To quote Freddy Mercury on Queens,” I WANT TO BREAK FREE”. Trips to KHIVRAJ PEARL became a daily affair, helped by the fact that they were just a brisk 5 minute walk from my office. Finally they yielded and accepted my Cheque on 20th June. I was surprised to be allotted a priority number of 20. Maybe that was a sign of things to come. On July 4th the Duster was launched, and all hell broke loose. The hurdles that I had to go through, the frustration, the agony and finally the relief are all covered in my various posts on the OFFICIAL REVIEW section. Suffice that I say, it was not pleasant. So finally brought home my Duster RXL 110 Red on 13th August, exactly 2 months from the time I first set foot on Khivraj Pearl.

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-14082012016.jpg

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-14082012017.jpg

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-14082012018.jpg

So here I am, after completing 4000 kms on the ODO wondering whether if this is sufficient miles enough to pen my ownership report. After sensing the frustration in many wannabe DUSTER owners in our forum itself, I felt it would not do my conscience justice if I don’t give back to our forum, what I got-knowledge shared is experience gained.

Out of the 4000 Kms that I have done, more than 3000 Kms is on the highway, so my views may be a little biased.

So here is my take on
1) The Good
2) The Bad
3) And the quirky( read French eccentricity)

The Good.

Excellent pickup – My usual ride time from Chennai to Kanyakumari, a distance of 750 Kms takes me around 10.5 Hrs. With the Duster it is down to 9 hrs. My usual cruising speed in Logan is 110-120 KM/Hr and I maintained the same at DUSTER and saved closer to 90 minutes. I never felt underpowered anywhere.

Road Handling – For obvious reasons, the DUSTER is always compared to the sedans. Truth be told, whatever bends on highways I do at Logan at 140 KM/hr, with the DUSTER I have to negotiate at 120 KM/hr. However, the same turn on the bolero will be taken at 80Km/hr and a prayer on my lips.

Rough Road riding – This is where the DUSTER comes on its own. Many a time, where the entire traffic stops and timidly approaches a slush, the DUSTER rides with aplomb. Of course, I keep the speed a sedate 20-30 KM/hr as I know that if you take your suspension for granted, your lower arm will be irreparably damaged.

Comfort – I have a Herniated disc, meaning chronic back pain if seated on a uncomfortable seat for more than 2 hours. With the DUSTER, I am able to drive 750 Kms on a single stretch without any discomfort. Even my 70 year old father is perfectly at home on the DUSTER. Rear can accommodate 2 people comfortably.

City Drivability – Barring the first few Kms where I was caught out by the turbo lag, a change in driving habits created no issues inside city. I have not driven the 85 PS version, but 110 PS is livable, not a deal breaker.

Mileage – On the highway, under 2500 rpm reflected at 110-120KM/hr, I am getting 15 – 15.5 KMPL. Tried averaging above 130 Km/hr for 300 kms and the mileage dropped to 12.3 KMPL. Inside city with bumper to bumper traffic is returning 10-11 KMPL.

Service – Maybe I am lucky, but the experienced service engineers are able to relate to all my problems and provide satisfactory solutions or answers. I am convinced by their sincerity and effort to solve the issues. I had AC seepage problems on my DUSTER which were solved by the second visit to the Service Centre. 2 visits is short for trouble shooting considering that this is a new vehicle and they are also on a learning curve.

The Bad

The Pricing
– Boy, RENAULT got greedy. The primary reason DUSTER was on my radar was its killer pricing in Europe and all over the world. Only in India we have this premium pricing strategy. Personally feel they should have priced it a lakh cheaper across all variants.

Renault Customer Support – I don’t really know why they advertise numbers which really do not solve our problems. They just go through the motions without putting any effort to relate to customer anguish.

Audio System – It is not intuitive, sound quality is mediocre, blue tooth connectivity is good but connects immediately when I turn on the ignition to the first step. In ABS vehicles, one has to wait for the ABS light to turn off before cranking the engine. So, when I crank the engine the connectivity is lost, and then it takes a long time to re-connect. The seek/scan does not lock on to the radio stations. Have to do it manually.

MID – My MID just reset itself and all my data for mileage is lost.

Vendor Quality – My new wanderer tyre just burst on its own when I was cruising at 110-130Km/hr on the highway. Asked for tyre replacement and MRF reply is that it was impact due to sharp object on side wall. I really don’t know how they came to that conclusion since the damage is on my rear inner wall. How a sharp object can miss a front tyre and suddenly impact the rear tyre when you are driving in a straight line is beyond me. Anyways, since I had taken bumper to bumper insurance, I put the claim for tyre damage and insurance says this is tyre failure. Something is not right here. Only one of them can be right.

Retrospective pricing – Now, after I have bought my RXL 110 they decide to offer RXL110(O) with just 50 K more for alloy wheels and Airbags. I chose the RXL only because that AC thingy on RXZ really got my goat. Now, they launch RXL110(O) making us early bird desperadoes look like fools.

The Quirky.

By quirky, I mean all the features on the DUSTER which really distracts your driving, time which should be spent looking in front of you, not looking out for.

Rear Arches – These humongous monstrosities makes negotiating inside small roads and parking in confined spaces a night mare.

Day night mirror – Unlike conventional mirrors where you have to lift up to put Rear view mirror to night mode, it is just the opposite.

Audio System(again) – Changing folders, choosing songs etc is really a cumbersome process. Maybe I was spoilt for comfort by pioneer, but changing folders should not take up more than three touches. The dial thingy demands your time and effort. Very distracting if you are driving and changing folders at the same time.

Next up is why I really l love the DUSTER and all the accessories that I have added.

@ MAS, if not for that AC thingy I would have got RXZ for sure. As much as i wanted the security of Airbags, I just could not live with that blower thingy reducing the 5th passenger option.And now they launch the RXL110(O). My imitial choice was the 85(O) but even now that variant is on short supply. So took what was available on the first lot.
@dZired, the only serious contender was the YETI, but the pricing, lower ground clearance and the fact that it is SKODA made me shy away.
Of course I TDed the Safari, scorpio and the XUV. Lost my faith in MAHINDRA after the Bolero incident. The deciding factor for me was that the DUSTER is a proven product all around the world, just like logan. Even though the Logan did not set the sales charts on fire, not much of them ever come up for resale.My friend's logan which I extensively use has clocked 1 lakh kms and is as good as new.

Last edited by GTO : 8th September 2012 at 18:44. Reason: Adding your review to the opening post itself
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Old 8th September 2012, 12:29   #2
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Default re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Let me be the first to congratulate you. Thats a brilliantly expressed write-up. The Duster is surely getting a lot of buyers now.
Would like to know if you considered any other competitors in the segment and if you did, then what were the pros that made you buy the Duster.
A list of Mods done and/or planned will make it a complete review.
Congratulations once again on your red beast. I wish you many happy miles of motoring with it. Hope to see this thread updated.
Take Care and Drive Safe!

Last edited by dZired : 8th September 2012 at 12:30. Reason: typo
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Old 8th September 2012, 12:46   #3
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Default re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Congrats Neil on your new drive.

At last after a lot of follow-up, anxious moments and end-less waiting, you have finally got your Duster. The alloys look good and makes the foot-print of duster wider.

One question though, with the big accident on the Bolero, i thought you should have gone for the top of the line version 110 PS RxZ or the 85PS Rxl (O).

Wish you a million kms on your Duster and drive safe.
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Old 8th September 2012, 15:16   #4
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Default re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Roy View Post

Retrospective pricing – Now, after I have bought my RXL 110 they decide to offer RXL110(O) with just 50 K more for alloy wheels and Airbags. I chose the RXL only because that AC thingy on RXZ really got my goat. Now, they launch RXL110(O) making us early bird desperadoes look like fools.
Are you sure, there is an option pack in 110ps RXL. I don't think so, Googled it up and I don't see this variant listed anywhere.

If they launch this, Then difference between RXL(O) and RXZ will be just, rear AC blower. I don't think they will do that.

Can you please confirm it and If it's there can you please post the price of RXL(O) 110ps.

And, Congratulations for your latest acquisition, Looks awesome.

Wish you wonderful miles ahead with her, Drive safe

Cheers,
Sameer
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Old 8th September 2012, 15:31   #5
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Default re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Beast? The Duster? Really? It does not have that intimidating ring associated with the word beast. So what gives here? This is what the DUSTER gives. It is not about the Road presence of the DUSTER but rather the effect of Road Absence on the DUSTER.
Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-offroad1.jpg

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-offroad2.jpg

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-offroad3.jpg

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-offroad4.jpg

Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-offroad5.jpg



Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?-offroad7.jpg

My father (on the background) is now a DUSTER convert. He is one of those ole' fashioned blokes who swear by Mahindra. If only Renault had launched a 4x4 option 85 PS DUSTER with barebones features.

@ SAMEER, Iam just quoting one of our forum members below,

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...ml#post2892947 (Renault Duster : Official Review)
Kind of makes me feel like an idiot now:(

Last edited by Neil Roy : 8th September 2012 at 15:43.
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Old 8th September 2012, 15:40   #6
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Default re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Roy View Post
@ SAMEER, Iam just quoting one of our forum members below,

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...ml#post2892947 (Renault Duster : Official Review)
Kind of makes me feel like an idiot now:(
I saw this post, But I am not seeing it mentioned in Duster's official site.

I am confused now, Whether it's available or not

Cheers,
Sameer
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Old 8th September 2012, 16:22   #7
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Default re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Nice its raining Jazzes and Flowing Dusters in TeamBHP. Congrats on your possession and red looks stunning. Also see this picture taken by 'gennius' you also need to get one picture like this and frame it i'd say!
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...e-duster-1.jpg

Thanks
Ekz
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Old 9th September 2012, 11:31   #8
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

@Neil Roy - congrats on your buy

what exactly is the night mode of the rear view mirror ?
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Old 9th September 2012, 12:23   #9
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Congrats for the Duster, Neil. Its raining Dusters on T-BHP now. Now that you have mentioned it, rear wheel arches are really huge.
The snaps have come out really well. Happy driving.
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Old 9th September 2012, 17:49   #10
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Hello Neil Roy
Congrats on your Duster !
How much did it cost you for the alloys ?
Wishing you a happy ownership throughout
Drive Safe
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Old 9th September 2012, 18:15   #11
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
...what exactly is the night mode of the rear view mirror ?
If you are looking for a technical answer as to what is "day-night" mirror, then it's how the reflection of headlights from the rear vehicles are cut down! Basically while toggling a small lever on the mirror, it gets angled slightly so that we don't see the headlights thru the IRVM and hence it's reflected making the effect very minimal and easy on the eyes.
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Old 9th September 2012, 20:10   #12
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Sorry for hijacking the thread .. But I need these alloys from wherever I can. Please help me find them.


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Old 10th September 2012, 12:29   #13
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

@ narayan - there is a small lever under every day-night mirror. Lifting the lever usually shifts the mirror to night mode. Night mode helps reduce the glare of the headlight of the vehicle behind you.

@ VishnuNarayanan - My bling alloys cost me 44k for a set of four. Seems to be on the expensive side considering that the same design for EVO brand for a set of 5 costs only 35k. In fact the accessory department of Renault Khivraj in Chennai supplies the EVO Alloys with a 2 year replacement warranty.

@ isldhn - That's a killer looking alloy. Make sure you get the PCD right before you get the design right. PCD for duster is 114

Modifications done and accessories added.
1) Bling alloys at the cost of 44 k
2) Philips extreme vision H1 and H7 bulbs for a total cost of 2.7k
3) Hertz co-axial 5-1/4 inch at a cost 3.8k
4) Dual tone paint job done by KHIVRAJ PEARL itself at a cost of 4k. It is still work in progress.Maybe it will come out well, once it is complete. A word of advice to all planning to do any paint jobs. According to the Body shop personnel,Renault is using a water based paint technology for it's range of cars. So kindly consider before doing paint jobs outside.

Some more points in the duster that I dont like.
1) Knob for changing blower position feels very fragile, unconvincing and breakable. I do not know if it will last long.
2) Maybe it is because of the negative offset of the alloy wheels but, every time I drive though puddles during rains, water gets splashed into the mirrors. Other Duster owners can please confirm.

As of now that's about it.
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Old 10th September 2012, 12:41   #14
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Congrats Neil. The alloys seems well worth the money. It gives a lot of character to the Duster. Wondering did you actually go through a short listing process or was it Duster all the way.

Do keep your thread updated with all your drives. Hope she serves you with a smile always. Cheers!!
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Old 10th September 2012, 12:43   #15
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Default Re: Renault Duster 110 RxL – Am I there yet?

Congrats on your Duster Neil. It is a fantastic buy at this price point - though I agree that Renault should have priced it lower. Let's see what happens when Ecosport comes to play.

I too went with it but in the 85 PS RXL (O) trim. I also have not seen the RXL (O) in 110 PS or RXZ in 85 PS trim quoted anywhere.

One questions. Are the rear arches much bigger than front ones? If they are similarly flared - might not reduce the pain of driving in narrow spaces but gives you a slightly easier judgement reference.

Drive Safe.
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