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Old 3rd August 2013, 13:26   #1
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Default 3.5 months with my Renault Duster

“My gypsy with siren taiyaar, Bhaga le isey petrol se, petrol se…” was the song that started playing from the music system during the pre delivery inspection of my Duster at Trident Renault, Whitefield. But yeah, on the contrary I got the high end Diesel version (THP RXZ). I did not opt for RXZ (O) though the difference of 60K is a good deal for the Renault integrated NAV system & Leather seats. This is because I plan to place leather seats of my choice, wanted a better NAV unit with more features and yeah, I was not much impressed with the wooden finish accents. I got CASKA (CO-AT 112 SS) from the dealer for 47K. The unit has MapmyIndia, reverse camera, supports most of the audio/video formats (not all) and above all – well integrated with the vehicle. The standard unit of Duster does not have the reverse camera which I felt is quite useful for a car like Duster.

Oooppss, I am going a bit fast here…Why Renault Duster? Since a year back I was looking for my second Car. I have my Alto which is 7years old (a month older to my elder Kid). I use my Alto for City drive which gels in Bangalore traffic and parking woes. My Wife is using it and it’s still running good, not kidding. Since last few years my obsession towards travelling new places, meeting new people, visiting far off temples & trying different food gradually gained momentum. And with my Younger Kid’s addition to the family, I started thinking of a bigger car. A car with more interior space, that can carry ample luggage, has good ride comfort, strong built & safety features. I had few Sedans in my list – Rapid, Verna, City & Vento. But then read about couple of compact SUV and MUV launches which I thought was worth the wait and Renault Duster was one among that. Then I started reading reviews & exploring the Dacia Duster before Duster was launched in India. The sturdy looks & space grabbed my attention. Renault launched Duster during mid 2012 and my time spent towards reading reviews and watching test drives in YouTube went up. And a BIG Thanks to Bangalore roads which were rotting at a fast pace during the same time – I was able to cut down my Sedan options and move towards buying a Car which can run on Bangalore OFFroads. Seriously, I really don’t know why they keep digging the roads everywhere & all the time..Mackenna's Gold…Huh.

Trident was good in terms of delivery but I could see areas of improvement especially on the Sales communication. I got my Dusty allotted within 3days of booking (leaving Sunday in bw). But then I opted for a PDI on the same week (Day of Ugadi). I was happy with the car and planned to take the delivery on the next weekend post Vehicle registration. Though the Sales team was good in explaining all details with regards to the payment, the price split, etc.; before the date of delivery, I had to follow up with the dealer couple of times to confirm the delivery, time of delivery, progress on registration, etc. which I felt could have been better. Though I reached the showroom on time, it took close to 3.5hours to get the car out. I could sense a lack of final inspection from the Dealer end before the actual delivery. For instance I was inspecting the vehicle and noticed that the steering audio controls were not working with the CASKA unit which was perfectly working on the day of PDI. With further interrogation I got to know that the CASKA unit was installed few days back & I was inspecting a unit called MegaAudio during the PDI. I was quite disappointed hearing this because I and my close friend spent a good and reasonable time on the unit during the PDI. I made the sales team ensure the steering audio control is integrated with the unit on the same day – A CASKA support executive came to my residence and got this corrected. He explained the features and how to use the unit. The sales team could have saved our time during the PDI and rather informed us about their mistake, which would have been more appreciated. Felt the sales team was more focused on targets. With more new vehicles coming up in the same segment with competitive pricing, Renault needs to ensure there is consistent quality on the sales and support. In short, we heard the Dabaang item song in a different Unit.

A week later, I took my Duster from Bangalore to Trivandrum. I had my family (2Adults & 2Kids) and my close friend and his wife. We left from CV RamanNagar around 5.12am and took the Inner Ring Rd>Madiwala, Electronic City route. Before starting, I set the destination as Salem in the navigation unit. The rear seat easily accommodated my wife, my 7year old kid, my 1 and half year old kid & my friend’s wife. My younger kid was placed in a child seat and still the rear seat had good space for the rest. We had quite a lot of luggage packed in from two families. Though the dashboard is not so flashy, it has smart, convenient storage spaces. For e.g. - The neatly placed storage option on the Dashboard above the ac vent helps you to keep your wallet, office ID card, toll/diesel bills and anything that needs to be handy. The glove box has decent space but the lights within turn on only when you have the park light or main lights running.

3.5 months with my Renault Duster-1.jpg
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Early morning drives are always fun with less traffic, slow music and less panic to reach the destination fast. I kept the RPM below 3000 which was told to be maintained for the first 2000Kms. The drive was awesome with less body roll, absolutely nothing from the roads were felt inside - thanks to the good suspension and wide tyres, Duster absorbs bad roads with ease. I moved to the 6th gear and could feel the cruise becoming smoother. Morning drives do spark your craving for a good breakfast and we started thinking & speaking about Hot Dosa, chutney, Vada & coffee. Around 7.45am we stopped at the A2B restaurant before Dharmapuri, with no more patience as the lust for a good breakfast kept going up. The A2B is on the other side of the highway and we had to take a U-turn. Duster is easy to take a full turn like any other small cars. There were dark clouds and it was quite windy. Kids enjoyed the stop as there was a play area & obviously we enjoyed our Dosa pitstop.

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At 8.30am, we hit back on NH7 after a good breakfast. Reaching Salem was the next milestone. Now I switched on to fast music (some popular Filmy tracks) from slow Bhakti songs. I kept moving well within 100-115Kms/Hr, infact the 6th gear helps you to move at this speed maintaining rpm within 2500. Duster gives you lot of confidence on the road. The brakes are receptive and add more confidence on speed drives. I am very cognizant on the hidden dangers in highway drives and always like to keep the mark below 110 Km/hr even though the roads look tempting – folks suddenly cross the roads through small space of the road dividers and the visibility of these sudden breaches become challenging with long plants on the dividers. One appreciable factor noticed in Tamil Nadu highways is the way TN registered Trucks give way to passing vehicles. Man, the fastest moving cars on highways are the Altos, Swifts and Innovas. No offence here, but I have seen most of them pass by with utmost urgency. The Duster engine is responsive and I kept moving in 4-5-6th gear. The seating is comfortable though I felt the need of a better thigh support in the front seats. A very good feedback from the steering alongside with the gear position gives you a relaxed driving. The steering mounted audio controls are quite easy to use once you get accustomed to it. The large windows make the cabin feel bigger with lot of light and space. The rear platform above the boot is designed to hold things intact during the journey – objects don’t easily fall during sudden jerks, braking or turns. The bottle strap holders are smartly placed without eating any space when not in use. Though it was cloudy early morning, the sun started getting brighter and seemed hotter from the windshields. The AC in Duster is impressive which cools the interiors very fast in the lowest mode on any hot day. But I really wish Duster had automatic climate controls.
We crossed Salem around 9.30pm. It was Mango season and found lot of road side sales.

3.5 months with my Renault Duster-11.jpg
3.5 months with my Renault Duster-12.jpg

We passed by Namakkal, Karur, ViridhuNagar, Sattur, and Kovilpatti. I could see the mileage slowly started moving up from 12 to 14 to 15 KM/L. CASKA unit was pretty good showing details of the roads, places, eateries, petrol pumps throughout the drive. The unit plays movies with good clarity. I have to thank CASKA for keeping my always restless younger one quite and glued with some animation movie & making me feel like a Bus driver. I always feel the position on the dashboard for the integrated unit could have been better rather than the way it is placed - which is too low and quite distracting your drive. Taking or ending phone calls using the unit is not possible with the steering controls; you can take or end calls only by selecting this on the touch screen. I missed the driver hand rest in Duster during long drives where you need not have much play on the steering. Though the Duster does not have a dead pedal, you can extend and place your leg in the vacant space left to the clutch.

3.5 months with my Renault Duster-8.jpg
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Around 2.15pm, we stopped at a drive in Restaurant called Capsi at Rajapudukudi, near Tirunelveli for lunch. The food was pretty good with fast service. They have both Veg, non-Veg and they serve good Fish curry. They also have a children play area to keep the kids engaged. After a good meal, we started around 3.00pm. The skies were cloudy and windy. We moved 2Kms and suddenly it started pouring heavily with lightning and thunder. We saw lightning strike an electric post followed with sparks as we went past by it. It rained at the same pace for another 2Kms and then all of a sudden the roads became dry as if it never rained in these places for ages. You see lot of windmills when you near Tirunelveli.

3.5 months with my Renault Duster-13.jpg
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From Tiruneleveli to Trivandrum, the roads became narrow with more towns in between and further traffic congestion. It was drizzling at times and places which added more to the traffic bottlenecks. We got trapped in Parasala close to 30minutes without notin moving. Then things started moving slowly and around 6.00pm we hit home which is before Trivandrum City. It seemed there were rains few minutes before we reached home. The skies were getting dark. The smell of earth after rains and the swampy feel added to our excitement of reaching home for a long vacation after a long time. With this climate I really craved for a HOT cup of Tea. We travelled 716Kms at the end of our journey but never felt tiring of driving or travelling this long. My friend’s parents reached our place to pick them up. Everyone was waiting for us and Yes, also waiting to see the new Duster.

3.5 months with my Renault Duster-15.jpg

Next few days in Trivandrum, we had been to couple of places visiting friends and relatives. It never rained heavily or continuously during our stay there, infact it was very hot and humid on few days. My kids had a good time playing around in the rain puddles. I had taken the Duster for most of my travels within Trivandrum except for a few city drives to places with less parking and narrow roads for which I relied on our Swift. The Duster handled terrain full of steep turns and slopes with ease.

3.5 months with my Renault Duster-18.jpg
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Within 5days, with lot of reluctance we packed our bags back to Bangalore. We started around 6.00pm in the morning and reached Bangalore around 5.30pm in the evening. With this trip we covered close to 1650Kms and my Duster was almost around the corner for the first 2000km inspection within a month’s time of purchase. Throughout the trip the highest mileage received was around15.5Km/L. One thing I noted during my journey back was the tripmeter got reset to zero after 1000kms. This was quite odd since the tripmeter can only go for a reset by manual intervention. Has any other Duster owners noticed this? I brought this up to the service executive during the first inspection and he told to check this again during the next 1000Km cycle. One more thing came up when I went to collect my vehicle from Trident after the inspection – my duster was running without mudflaps. It seems all Dusters which were sold during that time were never given a mudflap due to lack of stocks. Though immediately I got the mudflap fixed, this was something never notified to me by the sales team when I took the car from the showroom and this very thought made me feel bad since it could have went unnoticed for a longer time.

The Duster gives me close to 13.5 Km/L in the city with AC. And Duster is not a difficult one for city drives once you get used to the bulgy body parts above the front and rear wheels. Also you need to get used to the second gear a bit since there is a power lag when you slow during speed breakers. I have heard and read in couple of places that the 85PS is a better option for City drives, though I am curious to know the difference between an 85PS and an 110PS in Cities like Bangalore where you have bumper to bumper traffic. After few days, I noticed a squeaky sound coming from the driver seat and this sound was quite evident when the music is not played. I notified this to the CRM when they called for a feedback of the vehicle. I was immediately connected to Mr. Deena Joyappa (CRM). He took an appointment to check this problem. Deena is one person you would like talking to – he listens to the problem with patience and assures you their assistance to solve. We took a test drive with Mr. Deena and one of his aides named Purander. Deena easily figured out the problem was not with the seat but rather the seat belt. The entire seat belt unit had to be replaced and this was taken care. The problem is solved and I would thank Mr. Deena and his team for their assistance. The service team told they recorded this sound and would send this to the Renault Company as an observation.

My Duster completed another 1000Km cycle and again the tripmeter got reset to zero. This time I was told from the service team that this is a feature of Duster. This is a surprising feature though…

Now My Dusty completed 3600 Km within 3 and half months. I had done 2 body works on my Duster – one was a mistake from my end which happened before I got used to taking close & sharp pillar turns. The second body work was a Graffiti contribution by a Gentleman who left two big & deep X scratch on either side of the Duster logo on the boot door. I was disappointed for the first few hours after seeing this but then found solace with the Bhagwad Gita quote “The power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument”. The body work team in Trident is good and they turnaround pretty fast with quality work. I would like to thank Mr. Lezlee D who attended me for both the body works. He would guarantee that the work gets completed on time.

We had been to Wayanad this month. Driving Duster in that terrain was fairly easy and comfy. I plan my next drive to Goa. Duster is apt for Families who travel quite often on long vacations packed with luggage. You never feel tired after a long drive. Few things I miss in the Duster are –

• Driver’s hand rest
• Automatic climate control
• Electrically folding ORVM

I am happy with my Dusty and will definitely have more “Miles to go before I……”
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Old 3rd August 2013, 17:50   #2
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Default re: 3.5 months with my Renault Duster

Many Congratulations hari_snair.

Very crisp and short buying experience coupled with equally well narrated first journey experience with your new ride.

Wish you many happy miles ahead.

Drive safe.

Last edited by S.MJet : 3rd August 2013 at 17:54.
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Old 3rd August 2013, 22:30   #3
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Default re: 3.5 months with my Renault Duster

Congrats on the purchase! Good pics.
Looks like you're making full use of the bootspace.
Wish you many more happy miles ahead.
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Old 3rd August 2013, 22:51   #4
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Congrats for the Duster. I especially like the the snap where Duster and Swift are roosting together. The boot space is quite good as evident from your snaps.
Why have they marked the tacho all the way to 7K? Common part, perhaps.
Anyways, wishing more such merry drives on and off the tarmac.
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Old 5th August 2013, 14:09   #5
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Many congratulations Hari for your Dusty.
Wish you many more happy mile munching with your Duster.
Enjoy your ride and drive safe.
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Old 5th August 2013, 15:36   #6
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Default re: 3.5 months with my Renault Duster

Many congrats on your Duster. A nice crisp review.

Wish you a very happy ownership period.

Drive Safe!!
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Old 5th August 2013, 16:02   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hari_snair View Post


My Duster completed another 1000Km cycle and again the tripmeter got reset to zero. This time I was told from the service team that this is a feature of Duster. This is a surprising feature though…
I can relate to this from my Logan. There is only one trip meter and only 3 digits. With a 50 litre tank and an expected mileage of 20 + kmpl it is only logical they give a 4 digit trip meter, but sadly not the case. My pulsar has 2 trip meters :-)
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Old 5th August 2013, 20:24   #8
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Congratulations on your new purchase!

I have heard good things about Duster when it comes to how it handles potholed roads. Must feel great to just drive over those potholes without fuss while sedans and hathbacks slow down to deal with them
Very keen to test drive one.

I heard the quality of interiors is not premium and that placement of a couple of switches isn't too clever. True?
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Old 5th August 2013, 21:32   #9
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Congrats on the Duster. Nice New Car Review bundled with a mini Travelogue !. I travel frequently between Chennai and Tirunelveli, and loved the photos you have taken near Tirunelveli. (Capsi is my Favourite restaurant too on this stretch).
Wish You many more happy miles er.. Kms.
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Old 6th August 2013, 09:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDIS View Post
Congratulations on your new purchase!

I have heard good things about Duster when it comes to how it handles potholed roads. Must feel great to just drive over those potholes without fuss while sedans and hathbacks slow down to deal with them
Very keen to test drive one.

I heard the quality of interiors is not premium and that placement of a couple of switches isn't too clever. True?
No one can defend the Duster's interiors. Period.

But on the switches part- if you are referring to the Electric ORVM adjust switch- yes, its a little awkwardly placed. Having said that , in my last 3 quarters of ownership ; I haven't used it more than thrice.

You adjust it and then there is no need for the damn switch, really.

However, the Power windows switch for the back seats is terribly placed. Everyone who sits there manages to click on it inadvertently and roll the windows down. Solution: Auto lock the windows from the Driver side.
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Old 6th August 2013, 11:39   #11
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Hey nice reading you thread !
Even Though I liked duster, it just couldn't match up to my expectation !
But you seem to be happy about the whole experience, that is really great to see.

I settled with EcoSport. You can read the thread here if it interests you
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ur-garage.html
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Old 6th August 2013, 11:50   #12
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Default re: 3.5 months with my Renault Duster

Congrats on the Duster. I've driven a Duster quite a lot over the last 6 months and it sure is a highway cruiser. It cruises effortlessly and the good ride and brakes inspire a lot of confidence. The Duster I've been driving also had an RD box to add to the fun.

Having said that, I hated it in the city for one and only one reason - the clutch ! The clutch is really hard and when you are in bumper to bumper traffic it is a real pain. How do you find it, especially since you must be used to the Alto's light clutch ?

Last edited by fiat_tarun : 6th August 2013 at 11:52.
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Old 8th August 2013, 09:11   #13
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Default re: 3.5 months with my Renault Duster

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDIS View Post
Congratulations on your new purchase!

I have heard good things about Duster when it comes to how it handles potholed roads. Must feel great to just drive over those potholes without fuss while sedans and hathbacks slow down to deal with them
Very keen to test drive one.

I heard the quality of interiors is not premium and that placement of a couple of switches isn't too clever. True?
I agree that the interiors do lack a premium finish but not too bad as I have read in couple of reviews. I did not find much problem with the switches. The electric ORVM switch is misplaced below the handbrake but like Buxx has rightly told, you hardly keep adjusting the mirrors. I do adjust the ORVM only when I need to park my Car very close to the footpath on the road side to see the tyre distance with the lane. And the steering mounted audio controls are very easy to use once you get accustomed to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiat_tarun View Post
Congrats on the Duster. I've driven a Duster quite a lot over the last 6 months and it sure is a highway cruiser. It cruises effortlessly and the good ride and brakes inspire a lot of confidence. The Duster I've been driving also had an RD box to add to the fun.

Having said that, I hated it in the city for one and only one reason - the clutch ! The clutch is really hard and when you are in bumper to bumper traffic it is a real pain. How do you find it, especially since you must be used to the Alto's light clutch ?
Yes, I would agree that the clutch is quite hard and turns out very evident in traffic roads. How you find the RD equipment - By any chance, did it help to keep the power lag in control during traffic.

BTW Renault has launched a new club for Duster fanatics called 'Gang of Dusters' and they are planning a west cost expedition along the Konkan belt between 15th to 19th August. I am also going for a trip to Goa around the same time and good if I get to see the 'Gang'.
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