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Old 20th February 2015, 22:22   #1
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Smile Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Car : Duster 110PS
Trim : RxL
Colour : Fiery Red
Engine : 1461 cc
Year & Month of Manufacture : April 2014
Dealership : Khivraj Pearl, Nandanam, Chennai
Date of Booking : 10th May 2014
Date of Delivery : 24th May 2014

What I like:
1. The menacing look
2. Great ride quality especially on poor roads
3. 205 mm of ground clearance
4. 475 litres of practical boot space
5. Fuel efficiency
6. Air bags even for mid trim
7. Additional 6th gear for 110 PS which helps on highways

What I did not like:
1. Pricing
2. Quality of plastics used in the interior
3. Wind noise at high speeds
4. No remote for OEM HU
5. Not providing a key chain

Few expectations in a 1.3 million rupee car:
1. Auto central locking
2. Reclining 2nd row
3. Automatic climate control
4. Cruise control

My Duster is named Raje and the following is an extract from Wikipedia on the meaning of the word Raje.

Raje is an honorary title of a King or Nobleman (i.e. "your majesty") in India. In India, south Indian states were ruled by the royal Indian dynasties whose rulers were addressed by the people as Raje.
In Maharashtra, Shivaji was addressed as King or Raje. Also, other clans of the Maratha community put Raje before their original clan name; RajeBhosale, RajeShirke, RajeMahadik, etc.


Raje has completed 11,000 kms in 9 months time and recently undergone the 10k service. Please bear with the quality of photos as these were taken using a mobile camera.

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Background:
My previous car was a Swift VXi. There was no intention of taking the car for long drives as I had just learnt driving a couple of days before the delivery of the car. One sudden long trip changed my mindset and the Swift was travelling to many places in South India – Madurai, Guruvayoor, Yercaud, Kodaikanal, Coorg and Munnar. This gave me huge confidence and a trip to Bangalore, Murudeshwar, Goa and Mumbai was planned. As the trips became longer and longer, there was a need for large boot space. We started moving around in the car virtually. Further one minor accident during that trip to Mumbai made me think about the importance of safety features. I wanted to go for the ZXi instead of the VXi at the time of purchasing the car. However, I could not shell out an additional Rs. 1 lac owing to budget constraints. Further, long drives in the Swift created some sort of pain in my back due to lower seating position.

The following were my requirements:
1. High ground clearance
2. Large boot space
3. Higher seating position
5. Better fuel efficiency
6. Safety features – air bags a must

At the time of launch in July 2012, the Duster made head turns across the country. I went to the showroom to just have a look at the vehicle and there had no intention to make a purchase. The vehicle impressed me a lot and I told my better half that our next car should be a Duster.

Fast forward to December 2013. I took a test drive of the Duster 110 PS - just before my trip to Mumbai via Goa in December 2013 and was put off by the hard clutch. The test drive of 20 minutes resulted in severe pain in my left foot.

I was inclined to go for an SUV. The Scorpio was one of the contenders, but, my budget did not allow me to look at it.

Duster:
I fell for this car when I saw it for the first time in 2012. It met all my requirements. The video of Himadri Mondal to Singalila National Park, Sandakphu was also one of the reasons to tilt my decision in favour of the Duster as I felt it could easily take on bad roads. Read every view / opinion on the Duster on the Team-BHP Official Review thread and got to know that Renault has changed the clutch to a lighter one in the 2014 version.

Buying process and discounts:
I took a test drive of the 110 PS on 12 April 2014 and found that the clutch was really much lighter. When I insisted on safety features, especially air bags, the sales executive informed me to go for the 85 PS Optional as it had all the safety features and was within my budget. I informed Khivraj that I would require sometime to decide. I was somewhat inclined to go for the 110 PS for the additional gear to have a smooth ride on highways. However, I understood from the junior sales executive that the RxL trim was having only ABS and EBD and not air bags. I just wanted to cross check the discounts being offered by Renault and hence, was browsing their site. It was very surprising to note that 110 PS RxL had all the safety features ABS, EBD and dual air bags. Cross checked this with the senior sales executive at Khivraj. I believe the junior sales executive was not aware of the availability of air bags in RxL trim of 110 PS.

The final decision to go for the Duster was taken on 10 May 2014 and I inspected a 110 PS RxL at their yard. During the discussion with the senior sales executive, I got to know that they had got one Fiery Red 110PS RxL the previous week. The cheque for the booking amount was handed over and I was told by Khivraj that it would take a week to deliver upon receipt of the payment. Hence, the tentative date of delivery was 28 May 2014.

Delivery of the vehicle:
Surprisingly, I got a call from Khivraj on 22nd May morning and was told that vehicle would be taken to RTO the next day. Hence, I had to rush to do the PDI. The vehicle was delivered on 24th May evening, well ahead of the promised delivery date. The kilometre reading at the time of delivery was 66 kms.

The following accessories were added:
1. Seat cover
2. Full floor mat
3. Wurth windshield screen
4. Extra Hella horn
5. Reverse camera
6. MapmyIndia Zx350 navigation

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On-road price and discounts:
Ex-showroom price - Rs. 10.88 lac; OTR - Rs. 13.10 lac
Discounts - Rs. 22K

Extended warranty:
Additional 2 years covering 80,000 kms overall was provided free of cost.

Engine:
1.5-litre Renault DCI engine - I could feel the power during my first long drive to Ooty. There was no lack of power on highways and despite maintaining speeds of 100-110 kmph, the rpm was within the prescribed engine run-in range of 2500 rpm. The additional 6th gear was helpful on highway drives as there was no strain on the engine at considerable speeds. Also, the engine did not stall once during my trip to Ooty - even on steep Masinagudi climbs. The only problem was that I had to downshift in slow-moving city traffic to avoid stalling the engine.

Safety equipment:
I would like to thank Renault for introducing air bags on the mid trim. The ABS was tested on NH7 once, when a truck changed the lane suddenly and without any prior warning. On sudden braking the ABS held the vehicle in a straight line and was able to stop it at a safe distance.

Usage pattern:
75% of my usage pattern is 20 kms daily in dense traffic and I would be doing long drives once in 3 months.

Exterior styling & design:
1. The Duster has got an unrefined, masculine and aggressive look. The beefed up wheel arches give it a majestic look. The only concern is about the inter-cooler being placed just behind the front grill and in the case of any small impact, there is a possibility of it getting damaged.
2. Tail light design and size compliments the overall rear design.
3. Parking sensors do a great job and in my view are necessary for the size of the vehicle.
4. The external door handle should have been body-coloured and the black or silver does not go well with exterior.
5. The wipers are not covering the entire portion of the passenger side of the windshield and one has to often get down to wipe it manually.

Overall build quality, fit & finish, paint quality and panel gaps:
1. The Duster has got strong body and it has been designed to take the abuse of Indian roads.
2. The underbody is neatly tucked and I could not find any wires or parts hanging out.
3. The quality of metallic paint seems to be good, however the colour being Red would like to wait for an year to comment on the durability.
4. I could not notice uneven panel gaps.

Wheels and tyres:
1. 16" wheel compliment the overall length and height of the vehicle. The do a good job of maintaining stability.
2. It takes on any type of road with ease and no body roll is felt inside the cabin.
3. The tyres seem to protrude 1 inch outside and if you drive on a water-accumulated area, the water splashes all over the windshield. Hence, one has to be very careful and reduce the speed to avoid splashing which completely affects the visibility.

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Interior design and quality:
Renault did not score much in this area.
1. The windows are large and bring brightness into the cabin.
2. The quality of plastics seems to be poor and finish seems to be rigid.
3. I did not like the placement of the power windows buttons for rear passengers as it does not allow them to rest their hands.
4. The position of the ORVM button is awful.

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Interior space and comfort:
1. Though road presence is good with a high seating position, the under thigh support for driver and front passenger seat should have been better.
2. The ingress and egress is easy even for elderly people.
3. The overall head room for all the seats is good. The shoulder room for the rear seat is OK for 3 average sized adults.
4. Had there been an option to recline the rear seats further, the leg room would have been much better.
5. The centre arm rest for the driver should have been provided. It is missed during long drives.

Driving position, ergonomics, controls & MID:
1. I like the tilt-adjustable steering wheel as it gives comfort during long drives.
2. Upgrading from a Swift with an ordinary instrument cluster, the one with the MID is like a boon. I feel happy looking at MID as I get to know the overall speed achieved during the trip, distance to empty, mileage, etc.
3. Ample space between clutch, brake and accelerator should have been provided.
4. Lumbar support for the driver is good.

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Visibility and size of mirrors:
1. ORVMs are just about OK and should have been little wider.
2. Due to the tall size of the vehicle, the IRVM does not cover all areas while reversing. In addition to parking sensors, Renualt should have added a reverse camera to be on the safer side .

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Air-conditioner cooling and effectiveness:
1. Though I was skeptical due to the size of the vehicle and the city being Chennai, the AC is very effective. Knob can be kept at position 3 on hot days and the entire car gets chilled within 10-15 mins after which you may switch the knob to position 2.
2. Automatic climate control should have been provided on the 1 million-Rupee car.

Audio-system and sound quality
1. Initially, I decided to change the HU to MediaNAV, provided in some models of the Duster and wanted to change speakers as well. However, I found the OEM speakers to be effective and hence did not touch the HU as or the speakers. This was very surprising to me as many of the reviews rated the speakers as average. For navigation, I bought a Mapmyindia Zx350 separately.
2. The placement of the audio controls behind steering wheel is thoughtful and they are very easy to use.
3. Pairing with a smartphone isn't difficult.
4. The circular button / knob in the HU is for FM frequency adjustment. However, everyone who sits in the front passenger seat obviously uses that for volume control. This is very strange. Hope someone from Renault is reading this.

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Interior storage and boot space:
1. The glove box is deep and the lighting is well thought out by Renault.
2. The cup holders near the gear lever are not of much use and there aren't any cup holders on the rear doors. Finally, you are left with only one behind the hand brake which can accommodate a 2-litre bottle.
3. The storage space on the dashboard is well thought out with a rough surface and an incline to hold mobiles in case of sudden braking / hard acceleration.
4. Large boot space was one of my requirements and the boot space is 475 litres. I could notice there was enough storage space left inspite of adding 7 travel bags of normal size.

Few points on interior:
1. The height of the centre arm rest in the rear row is apt and provides the required comfort.
2. The parcel tray is wide and the partition helps to hold things in place.
3. The additional 12V socket comes handy for the rear passenger.

Engine performance and driveability in the city and highway:
1. Driveability in the city is very easy and it is more like a car. However in slow-moving traffic one has to downshift to first gear to avoid stalling the engine.
2. Maneuvering on city roads is easy and steering feels very light in comparison to my that of my Swift's.
3. The sixth gear comes in handy during highway drives and the 110 PS is a real highway cruiser. There is absolutely no strain on the engine even at high speeds.
4. Overtaking on highways is easy and one doesn't need to downshift to fifth gear as enough power is available in sixth.

Fuel efficiency:
1. City - 10 kmpl till second service and now it is 12 kmpl even in bumper to bumper traffic. This improved mileage was post oil change during second service.
2. Highways - 15.6 kmpl was the overall highest I have got on a route which included ghat sections. The SA informed me that efficiency would improve upon completing the oil change during second service. I haven’t done any long drives post the second service.
3. Though the air filter is to be changed at the end of every 10k kms, it is better to clean it at after every 5k kms.

Suspension, ride quality and handling:
1. Suspension is good and gives an overall comfortable ride.
2. It is easy to maneuver on city roads and the driving is more like a car and does not feel like a SUV.
3. Wind noise is very high when you cross 120 kmph.
4. It is definitely not a silent diesel engine and NVH levels seem to be under control if you switch on the music system.

Cost of upkeep and maintenance:
I paid Rs. 3.5k for the 2nd service at 10k kms. I specifically informed the SA not to do wheel alignment and balancing as I intended to do it outside.

There hasn't been any niggle / issues faced so far in the 8-9 months of ownership except for the low fuel efficiency, which was rectified post cleaning of the air-filter.

To conclude, in my view, one shouldn't go only by the overall positive or negative aspect of a vehicle, but should take a balanced view as the car is his personal choice and should meet the requirements of the individual rather than satisfying others.

This is my first detailed review on Team-BHP and of course a bit lengthy . Thanks for your time and patience.

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Last edited by Aditya : 2nd March 2015 at 23:31. Reason: Spacing
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Old 2nd March 2015, 14:33   #2
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd March 2015, 17:17   #3
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Nice detailed review. I hear you about the noise issue.

About the ORVM adjustment knob, I must confess that after 2 yrs of usage I personally feel it is very conveniently located.

One design issue that I hate is that the front wheels splash mud/muck on the front portion of rear wheel arches if you drive through slush. This is despite fitting Mud flaps.

BTW could you share your experience of the rear view camera & how much did it cost?
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Old 2nd March 2015, 17:31   #4
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Congrats on your buy! Really informative especially your comment on the engine performance in Masinagudi ghats. If it performed well there, especially the Kalhatti ghat section, it can perform anywhere. I was glad to hear the engine is real good. I'm sure it'll be great on the Lodgy too!

I presume you're servicing your Duster at Khivraj? If yes, how would you rate them in terms of service appointment, delivery time and quality of service? I'm looking to buy the Lodgy soon and Khivraj is the closest to my place. They also have a Maruti showroom and that's where I got my Ertiga (sold) but I wasn't too happy with the service. Basically, they didn't have much space to park all the cars and my car was parked in a busy street post service. Later, I started going to trusted ABT in Guindy and stuck with them.

Not sure if Khivraj Renault is any different. Do they have enough space to park all their cars in their compound? Do let me know as I'm eager to purchase my Lodgy through them.
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Old 8th March 2015, 23:12   #5
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Quote:
Originally Posted by penpusher View Post
BTW could you share your experience of the rear view camera & how much did it cost?
Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
I presume you're servicing your Duster at Khivraj? If yes, how would you rate them in terms of service appointment, delivery time and quality of service? I'm looking to buy the Lodgy soon and Khivraj is the closest to my place. They also have a Maruti showroom and that's where I got my Ertiga (sold) but I wasn't too happy with the service. Basically, they didn't have much space to park all the cars and my car was parked in a busy street post service. Later, I started going to trusted ABT in Guindy and stuck with them.

Not sure if Khivraj Renault is any different. Do they have enough space to park all their cars in their compound? Do let me know as I'm eager to purchase my Lodgy through them.
Thanks penpusher for the compliments. Rear View Camera is of TORQ make and very useful for such big vehicle. The reverse camera compliments the reverse sensors and provides good judgement. I believe it was close to 7k and do not remember the discounts. You have the option of playing video and audio through USB and SD card slots. Being wide it gives a good rear view and do not affect the high beam headlights flashed by vehicles from behind. The audio needs to be connected through three way Bluetooth pairing with TORQ, phone and HU.

Thanks swiftdiesel for the nice words. My brief answer is I would rate Khivraj service as 8 out of 10. I have to admit that haven't spoken to any other service advisor and stuck to only one service advisor who values customers and service oriented to the core. Hence my rating is limited to experience with one guy.

Just to rewind my first service post purchase of Swift was at Khivraj. I did not like the service and started giving it to CARS India. Do agree with you on this.
For Renault vehicles, there is no choice and have to take it only to Khivraj. Of course, this was one of my area of concern before purchase. Luckily before my purchase I did visit their service station to talk to someone about rpm for each version 85PS and 110PS. One of the service advisor was good enough to answer my queries. Though there were numerous questions he did listen to me patiently. The same guy attended when I went to Service Centre for the first service and he became very friendly. He is very helpful and answers all my questions. Overall, he is very responsive.

Couple of instances of the service centre guy being very helpful:
Wanted to check for low fuel efficiency and went straight to the service centre without any appointment. Did call this guy just before 15 mins and he did not say anything in negative about visiting without appointment. He checked the vehicle and cleaned air filter free of cost.
When I called Khivraj for taking an appointment for second service (10K kms) no one told me that I have to leave the vehicle overnight to get it serviced. I was shocked when this guy told me when I took the vehicle to the service centre. However he did handover the vehicle around 6pm on the same day.


There are some negatives too with Khivraj like the following:
a> Khivraj charges Rs.250/- for pick up and delivery for Service. This is too costly as I just need to spend only Rs.60/- as autofare for delivery and pickup of the vehicle.
b> The no. of days to take appointment to bring the vehicle has increased from my first service to second service. During my first service I got an appointment after 3 days however I got an appointment only after 7 days for my second service. This was in first week of Jan15.
c> Not happy with their inside cleaning of vehicle as they miss out some area especially the one under the rear wind shield. It seems they do not have the practice of opening the boot. I did experience this both the times and informed this guy who promptly got it cleaned.

They do have enough space to park their cars as they have moved to a prior appointment model which was not the case for Maruti Cars those days.

Wishing you all the best for your purchase of Lodgy.
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Old 9th March 2015, 03:40   #6
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Quote:
Originally Posted by couswheels View Post
There are some negatives too with Khivraj like the following:
a> Khivraj charges Rs.250/- for pick up and delivery for Service. This is too costly as I just need to spend only Rs.60/- as autofare for delivery and pickup of the vehicle.
b> The no. of days to take appointment to bring the vehicle has increased from my first service to second service. During my first service I got an appointment after 3 days however I got an appointment only after 7 days for my second service. This was in first week of Jan15.
c> Not happy with their inside cleaning of vehicle as they miss out some area especially the one under the rear wind shield. It seems they do not have the practice of opening the boot. I did experience this both the times and informed this guy who promptly got it cleaned.

They do have enough space to park their cars as they have moved to a prior appointment model which was not the case for Maruti Cars those days.

Wishing you all the best for your purchase of Lodgy.
Thank you couswheels! Because of the way service engineers abuse our cars I always would like my vehicle to spend the least time with them. The fact that you need to leave your car overnight concerns me. Got so used to Maruti service quick delivery that I really wish I could replicate the same here. Thanks for the heads up on parking space; good to know that.

Also, Renault has posted that from today they have free pick up and drop for lady customers. Good news if you've bought your Duster in your wife's/mother's name. :-)
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Old 9th March 2015, 07:44   #7
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Congrats on the new car. You may want to look at alloys. That would help ever better. How is the clutch? Do you feel it to be heavy? Have heard that they have improved. Hence wanted to know your experience. Also have you upgraded the music system? (At the least the speakers). The OEM set was very ordinary.

Congrats once again.
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Old 14th March 2015, 22:02   #8
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Congrats on the new car. You may want to look at alloys. That would help ever better. How is the clutch? Do you feel it to be heavy? Have heard that they have improved. Hence wanted to know your experience. Also have you upgraded the music system? (At the least the speakers). The OEM set was very ordinary.

Congrats once again.

I have gone through your views / comments in Duster Official review pages before taking the final call. Thanks Ampere.

Was getting alloy wheels from outside for 35k however did not want to spend as I have spent already close to 30k for accessories.

Clutch is very light and this was the deciding factor for me to go for Duster. In fact could not feel the difference between my Petrol Swift and 110 PS Duster.

Felt OEM speakers were good and hence did not change.
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Old 11th April 2015, 23:39   #9
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Mileage during my recent drive from Chennai to Kumbakonam. This is on NH45 early morning during a sedate drive wherein speed was maintained between 80-90kmph constantly.

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Old 12th April 2015, 00:37   #10
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Default Re: Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Quote:
Originally Posted by couswheels View Post
Mileage during my recent drive from Chennai to Kumbakonam. This is on NH45 early morning during a sedate drive wherein speed was maintained between 80-90kmph constantly.
This is what I have been noticing right from beginning. My FE has never crossed 20 as seen by many others. Nevertheless very satisfied by what I have been getting. A consistent 17.5 over 50K of mile crunching
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Old 19th April 2015, 20:31   #11
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Raje with me, wife and son did a short trip to Sholingur Yoga Narasimhar swamy temple today. Took Thirumazhisai -SH50 - Tiruvallur - NH205 - Tiruttani - SH54 - Agoor - Sholinghur. This route seems to be bit longer and absolutely no traffic. Left at 6.15am and reached at 9am with 15 minutes break. Roads were good almost except for few bumpy patches in SH50.

Climbed both the hills and had a very good darshan. No issues with monkeys as I carried a backpack and was not carrying a long stick as many devotees were carrying. One thing I did was to avoid eye to eye contact with monkeys. Sad to see many were feeding monkeys.

For return I took Sholinghur - Kaveripakkam - NH4 - Sriperumbudur - Chennai. Left Sholinghur at 12.50pm and reached home at 3.30pm with a 30 minutes lunch break. Could find few potholes on Kaveripakkam road and they were in patches. Hence did not cross 80 though could hardly find any on-coming vehicle.
Overall mileage 15.6 for a 250km drive. Never crossed 100 kmph in NH4.

Is my FE good for a 110PS as I did not cross 100 kmph nowhere during the drive and for the first time I filled the tank in Shell. Of course AC was used throughout.
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Old 5th May 2015, 22:24   #12
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Photologues during Ooty trip

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Yelagiri trip

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Thekkady and Pollachi trip

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Old 10th May 2015, 15:03   #13
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Default Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

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As I lost my LTD sticker, this time I have used two stickers.
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Old 24th May 2015, 14:04   #14
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Raje completes one year today. Have covered 13500 kms in one year and without any niggles. Am happy with the vehicle. Could not go for long drives due to tight schedule at work for the last 5 months.
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Old 31st May 2015, 20:29   #15
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Default Raje, The King - My Renault Duster 110PS RxL

Raje with us visited geographic straight line Narasimhar temples near Cuddalore and Villupuram districts, Tamilnadu
Singirikudi
Poovarasankuppam
Parrikal

Route:
Chennai - Tindivanam - Pondicherry - Cuddalore - Madukarai - Abhishekapakkam - Singirikudi
Time taken 3.5 hours including 2 breaks of 15mins each - 169 kms

Singirikudi - Thavalakuppam Embalam Road - Poovarasankuppam
Time taken 40 mins - 25kms

Poovarasankuppam - NH45C - Panampattu - NH45A - Villupuram - NH45 - Right after Semmanandal - Parikkal

Time taken 1 hour 10 mins -44 kms

Parikkal - Villupuram - NH45 - Chennai

Time taken 4 hours - 183 kms with a 45 minute lunch break and got delayed by 15 mins due to an accident involving two buses on NH45 near Villupuram

Total distance covered - 421 kms

Average Fuel efficiency - 16.6 kms

Last edited by couswheels : 31st May 2015 at 20:40.
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