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Old 18th August 2014, 13:02   #1
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Default Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

Mod Note: Team-BHP's Duster AWD report has been uploaded at this link (Renault Duster AWD : Official Review). Please continue the discussion over on the new thread. Thanks!


Renault Duster the urban SUV has been in the Indian Market for quite sometime, Renault now comes with the Duster 4WD ,but thats not what they call it,its called the All wheel drive (AWD).Having the 1.5 DCi engine with 110PS (obviously).


Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report-duster-awd.jpg
What will you Like in the Duster AWD
  • Great ride quality for any kind of road
  • Good Muscular looks
  • Ground clearance slightly more than its predecessor,210mm.
  • Large boot space,410 litres
  • ESP & ASR available (yes) ,both variants
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Eco mode for better fuel efficiency,offered in RXZ only.




Things that might put you off
  • No 3rd row of seats, a strict 5 seater
  • Turbo lag under 2000rpm ( kicks off after 1800rpm)
  • Could be priced higher as the RXZ variant of the 1.5 dci,110 PS 4x2 Duster is already expensive.
  • No climate control AC
  • No touch down windows ( even for the driver window)
  • ORVM switch placed weirdly under the handbrake
  • Power window switches placed weirdly
  • No dead Pedal
  • Rear Drum brakes
  • Plastic quality
  • After sales yet to prove its mark



At the first glance its the same Duster,but will a 1.5 dci engine do justice to 4WD ? You would be amazed as to how far it can really take you.

Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report-10620558_10152325095721139_1669961743844945300_n.jpg

Driving Dynamics of the car is amazing,though it has the ergonomics of a car,you still feel way off it. The handling of the Duster AWD is brilliant, it handles itself well at corners.
The steering feels heavy even at higher speeds unlike a car.Even at high speeds the stability is great and now the Duster AWD comes with ESP ( Electonics Stability Program) and the ASR (Anti Skid Resistance) in all the variants, though at times you feel the car is going a bit faster than its actual speed.Ride quality is outstanding the car goes very easy on potholes and bad roads.


Performance -Duster AWD only has one engine option 1.5 diesel engine with 110PS of power, 85 ps was the obvious option out no room for petrol here as well. AWD will be offered in two variants RxL and RxZ (Top end).The 1.5 diesel engine has max torque of 245NM@ 1750 RPM. You would find a noticeable turbo lag till approx 1800rpm after which the engine responds well to your needs. This engine comes with a 6 speed gear box, at start you might find the gears a bit hard, I earlier thought it had something to do with the gear ratio mismatch, but no you just have to get used to the gear shifting and things will be fine.You have an additional Eco mode option in the Rxz variant,its nothing but programming your car ECU to offer more mileage but resulting in reducing the power of the engine.This mode is apt for the city drive,but if you want to do some serious offroading or need power, just turn this off. You can expect a mileage of anything between 12-14 km/l (actual reading given by the odometer).
NVH levels are well taken care of you can hardly hear the sound of the engine, be at idle or at higher speeds.There are no vibrations irrespective of the driving conditions.





Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report-10603405_10152325128601139_1203106351536990496_n.jpg

Off-roading - You would definitely want to know how the car performs in this area.Duster AWD can be driven in 2 modes , 2WD and Auto. In auto mode the car switches to 2WD or AWD depending on road conditions. We did a bit of driving on rocky roads, slush a bit of grassy terrain and water pits,the Duster AWD handles itself well.Though on slush you do feel that you will loose control of the vehicle, but you manage to get back in control with ease.And you do find the ESP light flickering at such instances.The Duster AWD handles the 30-35 degree climbs effortlessly and that too without brushing anything beneath thanks to a healthy ground clearance of 210mm (just 5mm higher than the current running model). The AWD has another great feature called the hill start assist, where it will forbid an immediate rollback after starting off your Duster AWD on inclines,but this just lasts for around 2-3 seconds after which the car starts to rollback.



Exteriors of the cars are pretty compelling,the Duster AWD has killer looks,though there is not much change from its predecessor, it has the same double barrel headlights.

Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report-ranaultawdwheels.jpg

The sides too have a muscular feel,the Rims differ,16-inch alloys in Rxz and 16-inch Steel in RxL,Tyre size remains the same 215/65 R16 MRF Wanderer.Brakes could've been better with all Disc brakes unlike the current Front Ventilated Disc and the Rear Drum.
Roof rails add in to the SUV look of the Duster AWD.
The rear of the car looks muscular as well, but has the same dated tail lamps,Renault could've had some differentiating factor here.
There is a black button which can be pressed to release the boot.All the variants have the rear wiper and only the top end (Rxz) come with rear parking sensors.With the Variant name and the engine you will find the 4WD(AWD) badge prominently placed below.


Name:  renaultdusterawdbutton.jpg
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Interiors - Though the interiors of the car are well placed, plastic quality could've done better, especially the buttons.The ORVM switch is weirdly located below the hand brake.The power window buttons too feel oddly placed and so is the headlamp level adjuster.Audio controls behind the steering wheel which can take a while to get used to.One considerable difference from the 4x2 variant is the absence of rear AC vents in Duster AWD.AC cooling is quick ,like its predecessor Duster AWD too doesn't have the climate control AC,which is available mostly in all the cars in that segment.Dead pedal too is missing.
Duster AWD has a humongous boot space of 410 litres and you can drop down the rear seats to increase the boot space even more.
Audio systems differ,Rxz gets the Media Nav system whereas RxL has an Integrated 2 Din Audio.Renault did a good job adding the Burnt Red Fabric Upholstery instead of their conventional beige interiors.


Rxz comes with cruise control where speeds can be fixed via the controls on the steering wheel.
You have an intelligent driver advisory system recommending gear shifts depending driving condition, but this is again limited to RxZ.
Both front and the rear seats are comfortable with enough leg room and headroom with under thigh support.

Final Take after having a complete day with this offroader and cruising through different terrains must say,this car is a complete winner.Though the current 1.5 dci Rxz(o) 4x2 is already priced around 14 lakhs, this vehicle would be priced atleast a lakh higher considering its 4x4,almost nearing its competitors the Mahindra's XUV500 and the Skoda Yeti , also one more worrying factor is about Renault after sales,I still haven't heard of any signs of improvement yet. Apart from that with great driving dynamics the Duster AWD is here to stay.

Last edited by GTO : 17th October 2014 at 18:30. Reason: Linking to our review :)
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Old 18th August 2014, 13:54   #2
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Default Re: Duster AWD Test review

Looks like pictures from the media drive. Are you part of the media, by any chance?

The Duster 4*4 looks a very good mechanical package indeed, let down completely by the interiors which do not do justice to a 15L price tag! But then, the 4*4 competition is also not much better in this regard.
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Old 18th August 2014, 14:10   #3
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Default Re: Duster AWD Test review

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
The Duster 4*4 looks a very good mechanical package indeed, let down completely by the interiors which do not do justice to a 15L price tag! But then, the 4*4 competition is also not much better in this regard.
That's the whole point. The competition the Duster AWD has is the Scorpio 4X4, Safari VX 4X4 and XUV AWD.

If you compare it vs the competition it comes out as a very compelling package.

The Duster is a car that you will initially be very apprehensive about. The minute you sit in one, you will complain about the cheap interiors and lack of features, When you start driving the 110PS, you will complain about the turbo lag. But over time all this is forgotten and you begin appreciating the capabilities like ride, handling, cruising ability and ruggedness. You can literally drive over anything our roads have without realising.

So while initially the Duster doesn't blow you away like the Ecosport or the XUV, over time you begin to appreciate the vehicle.
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Old 28th August 2014, 13:54   #4
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

Thanks for this quick review. You covered quite a bit in the drive!
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Old 28th August 2014, 14:00   #5
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

@nikhilmadgavkar Can you confirm if the AWD really has got the independent suspension?

Heard that the AWD version will be coming with independent suspension unlike the ongoing versions. If so then it will be another step forward along with AWD. Maybe thats the reason you got better ride quality.
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Old 28th August 2014, 16:18   #6
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbppjpr View Post
@nikhilmadgavkar Can you confirm if the AWD really has got the independent suspension?

Heard that the AWD version will be coming with independent suspension unlike the ongoing versions. If so then it will be another step forward along with AWD. Maybe thats the reason you got better ride quality.
It has to have independent suspension. If it was a torsion beam where would the rear axle go? The reason for independent rear suspension is because there is a rear axle for the AWD.
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Old 28th August 2014, 18:07   #7
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
It has to have independent suspension. If it was a torsion beam where would the rear axle go? The reason for independent rear suspension is because there is a rear axle for the AWD.
You can have AWD without independent rear suspension also, as in Tata Aria.
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Old 28th August 2014, 18:27   #8
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

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Originally Posted by directinjection View Post
You can have AWD without independent rear suspension also, as in Tata Aria.
The Aria is not a monocoque. Ladder on frame like Aria, Endeavour don't have independent suspension cause they are solid axle designs.
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Old 28th August 2014, 18:48   #9
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

Thank you for the quick bytes.
Any idea, when is this getting launched ?

Prem.
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Old 28th August 2014, 19:16   #10
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Default re: Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilmadgavkar View Post
Off-roading - You would definitely want to know how the car performs in this area.Duster AWD can be driven in 2 modes , 2WD and Auto.
ACI review (http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-rev...-389839,0.aspx) states that there are 3 modes. Extract from their article -
Now, getting to the real big changes – the addition of all-wheel drive and independent suspension. There are three modes on the AWD selector knob: 2WD, Auto and Lock. 2WD keeps it permanently front-wheel driven, while Auto sends a part of the power to the rear wheels when the system detects the front wheels losing traction. ‘Lock’ keeps the hardware in 4x4 mode up to around 60kph, after which it shifts back into ‘Auto’.

Please clarify
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Old 28th August 2014, 20:41   #11
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Default Re: Duster AWD Test review

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Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
The Duster is a car that you will initially be very apprehensive about. The minute you sit in one, you will complain about the cheap interiors and lack of features, When you start driving the 110PS, you will complain about the turbo lag. But over time all this is forgotten and you begin appreciating the capabilities like ride, handling, cruising ability and ruggedness. You can literally drive over anything our roads have without realising.
True, the car doesn't give you much to crib about apart from the interior plastics, space and price. The rear isn't bouncy nor is it built crude or rudimentary, so after a good drive, you end up loving the car.
I am totally bowled by the car but can't warm up to those interior plastics, which is why people like me, are bothered because we like it and find it silly that plastics are the crazy reason we have to go through this constant conflict within us, to justify spending that large a sum.
This unproductive confusing thinking is irritating just like the auto transmission, constantly hunting gears.
If they had sorted the plastic design and quality, decision making would be pretty straightforward, devoid of continuous evaluations.
It also doesn't help the pricier but brilliant Yeti sits there as a benchmark.

Last edited by s_pphilip : 28th August 2014 at 20:48.
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Old 28th August 2014, 21:48   #12
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Originally Posted by s_pphilip View Post
If they had sorted the plastic design and quality, decision making would be pretty straightforward, devoid of continuous evaluations.
It also doesn't help the pricier but brilliant Yeti sits there as a benchmark.
Do wait for the AWD duster! If you read all the reviews the dashboard plastics are now soft touch material. The whole instrument cluster and MID is redesigned and not like the Logan.

They have done some improvements to the interiors. May not be day and night difference but will be noticeable.
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Old 29th August 2014, 08:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Do wait for the AWD duster! If you read all the reviews the dashboard plastics are now soft touch material. The whole instrument cluster and MID is redesigned and not like the Logan.

They have done some improvements to the interiors. May not be day and night difference but will be noticeable.
I have an weird feeling that Renault may have provided the UK spec "Duster AWD" for the reviews. Eventually what we get might be the Indianised versions without the goodies highlighted by the reviewers such as soft touch dash etc. I am guessing it may still be priced higher than the currently offered variants by about a lakh more sans the goodies.

Could this be the reason for the delay between the media drives and the launch (time required to Indianise the offering)?

Although I wouldn't be surprised if the above turns true, I just hope I am totally wrong and Renault surprises us pleasantly.

Lastly a question for Vid, was teambhp invited for the media drives? Is a report in the pipeline?
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Old 29th August 2014, 21:41   #14
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Default Re: Duster AWD Test review

Quote:
Originally Posted by s_pphilip View Post
True, the car doesn't give you much to crib about apart from the interior plastics, space and price. The rear isn't bouncy nor is it built crude or rudimentary, so after a good drive, you end up loving the car.
I am totally bowled by the car but can't warm up to those interior plastics, which is why people like me, are bothered because we like it and find it silly that plastics are the crazy reason we have to go through this constant conflict within us, to justify spending that large a sum.
This unproductive confusing thinking is irritating just like the auto transmission, constantly hunting gears.
If they had sorted the plastic design and quality, decision making would be pretty straightforward, devoid of continuous evaluations.
It also doesn't help the pricier but brilliant Yeti sits there as a benchmark.

I hate the way these manufacturers "Indianize" everything on account of price.
Truly, why can't they give us a good spec and charge a fair premium if necessary for it? There will be takers for sure at the rate our market is maturing.

Incidentally, FYI the Western world perceives the Yeti as pretty cheap in comparison with say, the Tiguan even! But for us here, it is like a benchmark.
Make no mistake, I own one and love it but frankly it does definitely pale a bit in comparison to the Tiguan.
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Old 29th August 2014, 21:50   #15
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Default Re: Duster AWD Test review

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I hate the way these manufacturers "Indianize" everything on account of price.
Truly, why can't they give us a good spec and charge a fair premium if necessary for it? There will be takers for sure at the rate our market is maturing.
Shankar, in case of the Duster, it is exactly the opposite.

The Dacia Duster internationally had really cheap interiors:

Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report-daciadusterdci8510.jpg

Notice that for cost cutting they didn't have power window switches on the doors but on the centre console.

When they were going to get the Duster to India with the Renault tag, the interiors actually had to be updated, improved as the cheap euro interiors would never cut the mustard in India. Ofcourse in Euro, the Duster is the cheapest SUV one can buy but in India it's a premium priced SUV. So they had to improve the interiors.

In essence what we get in India is actually better than what some countries get with the Dacia Duster.
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