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Old 26th September 2013, 13:41   #1
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Default My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

I started my search for a new 4 wheeler during April 2012. I was using a Maruti Esteem (Gas / Petrol) and I was looking for a different one other than a sedan. To be honest I didnt go for any test drives of all the available cars in the market. Shortlisted Ertiga / Storme / Duster based on my requirement (bigger with good ground clearance than a normal sedan). By that time Ertiga was launched and I got impressed with the package it was offering. Since there was no news about the Storme / Duster launch dates, I booked a white Ertiga VXi (ABS) @Popular, Muvattupuzha, Kerala during 1st week of May with the delivery expectation of 1.5 - 2 months. But it didnt materialize either because of the dealer's irresponsible behavior or the strike at the plant. To increase the probability of getting the car I did another booking at another dealer too (@Indus, Muvattupuzha, Kerala).

From one of the thread in TBhp, I came to know that the Duster is going to launch on July 4th and started reading the available reviews to get more idea about it and on July 3rd I transferred my booking amount to TVS (Renault Cochin dealer) to their Madurai a/c without specifying Petrol/Diesel/variant with an understanding that I can select the variant after the launch and test drive. Later, I cancelled both the Ertiga bookings on getting the Duster in November.

Atlast, I chose 85RXE (Diesel) variant based on the test drive experience with 110PS. The promised waiting period was 1-2 months. But I had to wait for 4.5 months due to reasons only known to the dealer / Renault and I changed the model to 85RxL(O). I got it for the initial pricing ~11.25Lakhs OTR w/o choosing any additional addons from the dealer and took the zero depreciation insurance from National for ~23K compared to 36K quoted by the dealer.

Ordeal with the Dealer:
The waiting started since July 3rd and no update is coming from the assigned executive (Naveen). Since I was not happy with the response from the exec I asked him to connect me to his team leader (Ragesh) and he was supposed to be my communication channel. But most of the time he never picks up the call. Months went by and during a status update call (always I had to call them up to get any info, I believe I had spent more than 1000/- just for this), I was told that the RXE will not be available till March 2013. So I had no other choice than booking RXL by paying 1 lakh more. But, to me, Renault is looting by charging 1L for a few cosmetic changes in RXL variant. To compensate that loss, I decided to add another 1Lakh for the optional pack (it worth the money, as it has airbags, ABS, alloys including all the other cosmetic addons for 2L, overall ~2.25L extra).

Another waiting period started and I had to literally bash them to get an update that my car will be in transit by Nov 11th. On 5th/6th one executive called me up and asked for the possibility of arranging the payment saying the car is already in the yard. Believing that I went to my native from Bangalore and made the arrangement to approve the loan, but didnt release the amount. Later on asking the TL, I came to know that its not yet arrived and will be shipping only after 11th (as per the earlier info) and he dont have any answer for his executive's phone call. I had to literally say that his executives are a bunch of BS when he started blaming the incompetency of the executive and try to escape.

After one week, on further pushing, I got the confirmation that the vehicle is in transit and will reach the yard by last week of Nov. One week later, by 24th/25th they were asking me to pay the full amount immediately, stating next day is the last date to get the price protection!!!. They were telling that its the instruction from Renault to bill it at the revised price from the next day onwards. It was a nightmare that I had to immediately start to native and to arrange the bank formalities and release the amount. At the same time I am really suspicious that no company will revoke any statements esp the price protection within a short period (1 / 2 days) and also without any press conference. Anyways I thought it will be good that I will get the vehicle immediately inspite of all the mental agony and tension. I had to even sent a mail asking them for extending the last date of the payment so that I can reach cochin and disburse the money from bank.

Anyways I got the car by 29th night 8:30PM with Temp regn. and got the permanent regn on the next day itself.
Note: I have not mentioned all the issues I had to face from the dealer, this is only a glimpse of that.
The ordeal didnt end there, the left drive shaft full assembly got changed under warranty with in 1 week due to improper crimping on the driveshaft rubber boot. I noticed it when I saw a splash of grease at the right side of the car on a Cochin-Bangalore drive. More details later.

The Engine – The K9K engine, India's "national engine" had already proven its robustness and reliability in Logan. I have seen taxis with more than 2lakh kms in odo and running without any sweat. Its refined, but not a rev happy engine for an impressive mileage. With the combination of FGT and a 5 speed gearbox, its a peppy car to drive. But sometimes we may feel out of breath in highways. A remap is in the pipeline once everything is settled. I want the peppiness in the 4th and 5th gear without losing the current peppiness at the initial gears. Since the duster is built to cost, it will be a NO NO for a TUNING BOX, I dont want to risk the injectors. So a safe remap is recommended (the pistons / transmission and other related parts are different than the 110 since it doesnt support the torque of 110). Need to analyze more.

The cabin space – Its more than adequate for a normal dravidian family, there is no one in our family with more than 6ft ht. All seats have good knee room, shoulder space and outside visibility.

Driveability – Inspite of having the size of a crossover, it is an easy drive car with great road visibility. The clutch is not to my liking; hence I opted for 85PS, in city it requires less number of gear shifts than 110PS.

Gearshift – Shifting is smooth, but slightly notchy. Short throw and slots well. But the slight hardness of the clutch can be a let down if it is frequent.

Brakes – Feels a little bit spongy, so I did a bleeding during the 2nd service. But it does the job without any drama, did a detailed test during the test drive, tried to stop a non-ABS model @~100/110 speed, it stopped with a slight screeching \ locking of the wheels, but it never went out of control. Once I had a similar situation with my car too, with ABS it did perfect.

Good GC and Tuned Suspension - This is the highlight of duster and can glide over pot holes very well. It was put to test on our trip to chikmagalur trip. There is one botanical garden \ rock garden (under development) at the top of a hill and to reach there is very risky, literally there is no road and its like a forest to cross. Most of the tourists might have not gone there because of this. On the way, I could see only a few locals in a Jeep with a weird look like "Are you crazy". BTW, you will get breathtaking views from there, a nice place for a photo enthusiast like me.

Large Boot - It has good boot space and could carry all the luggage of 2 families + 25ltr water container + other goodies on a long drive to Goa.

Interiors : Plastic quality for this price is a letdown, but its very practical. The ergonomics are not a deal breaker for me, except the power window controls. I like the audio controls and the orvm control’s location (common complaint), but I find perfect for me. Since the audio controls are at a constant location irrespective of the steering position, will not confuse while driving. Also I can easily locate the orvm controls while driving, without looking at it. Also I feel the size of the rear view mirror is less, a bigger one will be more comfortable. Seats need improvement, its not so supportive, it requires an ortho seat attachment with good lumbar and thigh support is required. Another issue is the A-pillar blind spot while turning, it could hide a whole Alto.

A few more observations:
- The headlights could be more powerful esp for highway runs. I am planning for Hella aux lights, but keeping it on hold due to the recent checking in kerala.
- The horn is adequate, but a better one is recommended
- The music system has all the features you would need and is relatively easy to use, the sound is not a big let down, with proper setting its not so bad for an average user. The default speaker size is 5.25" and needs reinforcing the door panel to accomodate a bigger one.
- The rear parking assist works pretty well and is accurate.
- Observed a slight dimming of headlights while some electrical load is there, eg: during a load on electrical power steering while truing the steering
- Windnoise due to the rails / orvms at high speeds. One solution is to increase the ice vol, but I like to listen the engine during my spirited drives.

Anyways, now its running fine and I am happy with my decision. I am getting 16-18km/l in city and 20-21km/l in highway with <2700rpm for sedated drive ~80-100 and occasional use of AC. Once it cross the 110-120 mark, the FE drops and got 15-16km/l (with AC) during a pondy drive.

Following are the mods \ customization done:
================================
- Bumpers painted to give a Bull Dog \ complete \ mean look
- DIY Detailing using Meiguar's Ultimate Polish + Meiguar's NXT Gen Wax Polish (more details and pics later)
- Vinyl wraping on the B & C pillars to give a lengthy side profile
- DIY ICE using a carpc / IVI (more details : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/diy-do...lt-duster.html)
- Floor mats : Elegant from Reliance Mart
- Mud flaps from eBay at 1/3rd price what the dealer had quoted

Mods in pipeline:
===========
- Remap
- Front grill blackening
- Seat cover + Handrest
- Dashboard Leather wrap (another DIY project)
- Aux driving lights
- DIY Damping the full car (currently front 2 doors are done as part of ICE), planning to do the floor/roof/boot/firewall

Following are some of the pictures which I took during the initial days:

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Last edited by Aditya : 5th June 2015 at 07:06. Reason: Removing mention of high speeds
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Old 26th September 2013, 13:59   #2
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Default re: My white Bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O). 14000 kms / 9 months

Nice to see this. You paid 11.25 for the RXL(O)? Thats more than a lakh less than what it was introduced for at Bangalore!
On remaps; do check if you really want to take it? Take into account the fact that you may miss the lag free drive.

Congrats and all the best.

Last edited by ampere : 26th September 2013 at 14:08.
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Old 26th September 2013, 14:49   #3
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Default Detailing the BULL DOG

Since its a new car, I didnt do an extensive surface preparation for detailing. Applied a normal shampoo to strip the existing coatings, if any. Applied the Meguiars Ultimate liquid Polish as an initial preparation, its slightly abrasive but not like a compound paste. Completed the finish with 3 layers of Meguiars NXT Tech Wax 2.0. Following is the sequence, did on a weekend:

- Sat : Normal shampoo wash + Meguiars Ultimate Liquid Polish
- Sun : 3 layers of Meguiars NXT Tech Wax 2.0

Note: This was the first application, ~6months back. Almost 2 months back I did one more waxing with 1 layer, but used the Meguiars NXT Gen car wash so that I dont have to start from scratch.

Result : A Day-n-Night difference from the showroom finish, well worth the time, effort and money.

Following are the pictures after the application (sorry for the low light pics, it took one full day to apply 3 layers of wax, went till late night)

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Last edited by ::CMS:: : 26th September 2013 at 15:04.
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Old 27th September 2013, 00:52   #4
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Default Re: My white Bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O). 14000 kms / 9 months

Quote:
Originally Posted by ::CMS:: View Post

Mods in pipeline:
===========
- Remap
- Front grill blackening
- Seat cover + Handrest
- Dashboard Leather wrap (another DIY project)
- Aux driving lights
- DIY Damping the full car (currently front 2 doors are done as part of ICE), planning to do the floor/roof/boot/firewall
That's a good review CMS! I concur with each of your views there, after driving my Duster RXE for 2 months now.

- Front Grill Blackening - Do you mean the chrome one? That would be an interesting first here.

- Seat Cover and Armrest - Would strongly recommend Impreial leathers for the work me & Hillman got. Please check the directory post for mine and Hillman's Duster seat covers and armrest.

- AUX driving lights and damping is something I am also looking for. Please keep us posted how it goes.
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Old 27th September 2013, 09:44   #5
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahwa View Post

- Front Grill Blackening - Do you mean the chrome one?
Yes, It will look more like a BULL DOG by giving more importance to its cheeks, moreover it will look more wider.

Quote:
- Seat Cover and Armrest - Would strongly recommend Impreial leathers for the work me & Hillman got. Please check the directory post for mine and Hillman's Duster seat covers and armrest.
Yes, I have seen the work done in both of your cars. I am in a dileamma, comfort of fabric seats vs the finish of the leather seats.

Quote:
- AUX driving lights and damping is something I am also looking for. Please keep us posted how it goes.
I am not in a hurry to get aux lights coz' of the strict traffic checking in kerala. One of my friend got fined 400/- twice for using aux lights eventhough the location was below the H/Ls. Now he is running w/o them, he feels almost blind with the stock lights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
You paid 11.25 for the RXL(O)?
Yes, The starting model of Storme was also quoted almost same.

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Last edited by moralfibre : 27th September 2013 at 12:52.
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Old 27th September 2013, 10:23   #6
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

Just dropped my Duster for first service. Have opted for engine lacquering at Rs. 683. However, the service advisor is pushing me to go for the under chassis coating from 3M at Rs. 4500. I bought some time to get back to my computer and find out from fellow BHPians -

Is this under chassis coating at Rs. 4500 any useful? Any of Duster owners did that already?
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Old 27th September 2013, 10:34   #7
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

^^ I got that done myself.. SA promised 3M but put in Fucon. at 2.5K
But I was not quoted that high a figure for the 3M (was 3K-ish)

Its not bad I would say.. if you get the black tar type , consider it to be some additional sound deadening if not anything else.

Renault says its cars have six(?) years warranty on anti-corrosion.
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Old 27th September 2013, 11:10   #8
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

I dont think underbody coating is required unless your car faces frequent under body scraping which is very unlikely incase of Duster or used near a coastal area. No need of any preventive coatings, once it scrapes, apply only at that area. You dont even require a 3M coating for that, apply a good paint primer after preparing the damaged area and apply 2 coats of paint, its more than enough.

Engine Laquering!!! LOL..Dont waste your money.

If you are looking for damping, do it from inside with proper damping sheets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahwa View Post
Just dropped my Duster for first service.

Last edited by ::CMS:: : 27th September 2013 at 11:20.
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Old 27th September 2013, 12:01   #9
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
^^ I got that done myself.. SA promised 3M but put in Fucon. at 2.5K
But I was not quoted that high a figure for the 3M (was 3K-ish)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ::CMS:: View Post
I dont think underbody coating is required unless your car faces frequent under body scraping which is very unlikely incase of Duster or used near a coastal area.

If you are looking for damping, do it from inside with proper damping sheets.
Thank you CMS and BUXX!
CMS - Sorry for having hijacked your great thread with my queries.

Said NO to the service advisor for under-body coating for now. No scaraping faced till date, however, there is a lot of mud and slush under the chassis which makes me worried. The mud and slush is expected to stay due to constant rains and road conditions in Bangalore.

Sound damping will need a proper sound damping approach using the sheets. My poor 4 lac on road Spark has better sound insulation. Anyone walking past me can hear my songs even when I am at a very average volume level. Also want to cut down on the metal shudders in certain kind of music.
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Old 27th September 2013, 12:39   #10
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahwa View Post
Said NO to the service advisor for under-body coating for now. No scaraping faced till date, however, there is a lot of mud and slush under the chassis which makes me worried. The mud and slush is expected to stay due to constant rains and road conditions in Bangalore.
Its a good thing to do get it done. But you can do it at 3M itself. Thats a much better option.
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Old 27th September 2013, 13:15   #11
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

Are you looking for soundproofing your car? SoundProofing and Damping are different. IMO, proper sound proofing will be very expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahwa View Post
My poor 4 lac on road Spark has better sound insulation. Anyone walking past me can hear my songs even when I am at a very average volume level.

Damping will help in this.

Quote:
Also want to cut down on the metal shudders in certain kind of music.

Last edited by GTO : 27th September 2013 at 16:00. Reason: Refer to our FAQ. This isn't the place for such queries
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Old 29th October 2013, 00:50   #12
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Default My French Bull Dog became a wild Bull Dog

My French Bull dog was a calm pet till last saturday.

"Frenchies are playful and affectionate. Their loyal, loving nature makes them a wonderful companion dog. French Bulldogs are an intelligent breed, however their willful, stubborn nature can make them more challenging to train. They require patience, repetition and early socialization."

But he is no more a calm and a lazy normal bull dog. He has become very aggressive and I have to change myself to handle him. Last saturday his DNA was slightly tweaked at "CODE6 Hospital, Bangalore" aka BAY6 Engineering Pvt Ltd. Yes, he got REMAPPED. For the time being, he is running only a stage II map. Till now, I had to pull him while going for a walk, but now I have to run after him to bring him back to home. More details later...

For the time being, a few snaps of the Bull Dog with the last weekend's diy grill blackening using 3D carbon fibre vinyl for a proper aggressive Bull dog look: (sorry for the mobile phone pics)

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Last edited by ::CMS:: : 29th October 2013 at 00:52.
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Old 29th October 2013, 01:35   #13
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

Loved those grille modifications, could you please post more close up and outdoor pictures of the same?
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Old 29th October 2013, 08:20   #14
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Default re: My white bulldog: Renault Duster 85 RxL (O)

Nice to see remaps of the 85 trim. In the other thread I saw dyno charts af an 85, and it seems, they are not effecting the "zero lag" aspect at all. Its only improving power delivery at mid range.

Will wait for your data and dyno.
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Old 5th November 2013, 14:45   #15
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Default My French BullDog became WILD : Remapped (running on Stage II map)

"Duster 85PS is a breeze to drive in city. But on highways it needs more punch." This was the common complaint with the 85PS duster.

I felt my Bull dog was straining a lot during my drives to kerala and I really felt it during my last trip to Goa. I tried my best to train it as an aggressive dog, but failed to convert him from a pet dog. Last weekend we did a remap and tweaked its DNA a little bit, Voila!!!, we went for a small walk on the NICE road, but he was running like crazy. I was so happy to see the transformation. Till that time his usual highway speed was ~130-140, now I am not able to control him within that speed. Like someone said, remapping can change your normal speeds unknowingly to 20-30km/hr more. The immediate difference I noticed was that the car became so smooth to drive and became loose as it has more power. On flooring at 2nd, we can really feel the grunt under the hood and literally gives the "bonnet lifting" or jumping feeling. The difference was mainly in gear-to-gear acceleration / speed.

For a driving experience, I tried the 110PS. It gave me a wild grin on my face on my decision to go for 85PS and save >2 lakh difference. Moreover, I didnt like the stock 110PS, it was very boring to drive. On highways, this weekend's trip to Ooty, I could feel the difference eventhough I couldnt use the current map's (stage II) full potential. On ghats, it was pulling like a locomotive, no other word can replace the experience. On highways, I am able to overtake even at 5th gear very easily and gives the feeling of more power remaining under the hood as it keeps on increasing the speed. Now I feel the need for a 6th gear. A few more tweaks are required, for StageIII map.

Last edited by ::CMS:: : 5th November 2013 at 14:48.
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