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Old 26th April 2015, 18:52   #16
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

Thanks to all for your encouragement and support! Honestly, I did not think that my first piece on TEAMBHP would get a five star rating. Here’s an epilogue to my initial review of the AWD.

Speed limiter and cruise control
I had tried out the speed limiter during my run in period. It works as expected – there is no response from the engine on pressing the accelerator after the limit is reached. I am not sure if I am ever going to need it!

I am yet to actually test the cruise control. There has been news where some people have reported it to be broken, so I am a bit apprehensive. Personally, I am not a fan of cruise control and similar electronic gimmicks, but I do intend to test it out on the highway very soon.

More on features and driving dynamics

Hill Hold
The hill holding feature works for both inclines and declines. But the manual gives a warning that it may not be enough to hold the vehicle on very steep inclines. It works perfectly fine on shopping mall ramps (even steeper ones) but I personally would not bet my life and that of the car on electronics, if I am stuck on a 40 degree incline and a few feet from a gorge somewhere in the Himalayas! I have been practising the heel toe technique (thanks to BlackPearl and Debdeep27) to minimise my dependence on the hand brake!

I would have really liked an option to switch off hill hold function though, to practise the heel-toe thing properly. As it turns out, it cannot be switched off.
In fact, from my brief off-roading experience, I found that the handbrake is sometimes not enough to hold the car on steeper inclines (it was a bit dusty though).
Also, I found that the duration of the hill hold can be tricky (the manual says 2 seconds, but on very steep inclines, I felt that it disengaged the moment I touched the accelerator. It can be my error too and I promise to give a second feedback after I try it again.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
As mentioned before, this feature doubles up as Understeer control and traction control. I have found that the car has a slight tendency to understeer at higher speeds and the ESC works perfectly to keep things under control (works well in AUTO driving mode as expected). However, when driving in deep slush or snow in 4WD LOCK mode, the manual recommends switching it off for better traction where brakes can be applied to a single wheel if it is spinning.
The ESC cannot be switched off if you want! It automatically comes back on if the vehicles speed reaches 50 kmph.

Towing
The manual clearly states that the car cannot be towed without a flatbed truck. If it is not available, rollers have to be placed under the wheels which are in contact with the ground. Now I am not sure if this is the case for all 4WD vehicles, but having had the experience of being stranded once on the road, I am planning to fabricate a set of rollers myself in case of exigencies in remote areas. If anyone has similar experience of building a roller, please share. (BTW, the manual says that Renault road side assistance is not available in most NE States, J&K and Sikkim!)
Attachment 1364436

Some other points
I do miss a MIST mode for the wipers which I had in my Swift (a single touch on the stalk to get one swipe of the blades). I also seriously hate the reverse positions of the turn indicator and wiper stalks.

Almost all surfaces of the dashboard are curved, so much so that I could not find a place to fix my mobile holder! Finally, I had to stick it on to the windshield.
Also, I sorely miss a USB point inside the glove box as I almost always play from my IPOD and I hate to keep it lying around on the dash.

Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD-img_20150421_104356.jpg

Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD-img_20150421_104346.jpg

It was only a couple of months ago that I discovered this wheel behind the audio control stalk which can be used to advance tracks and radio channels!
Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD-1.jpg

Another feedback, though it will probably not be clear from photographs, is that the windshield curves quite deep into the cabin and might give a feeling of limited headroom to some. May be I am comparing it to my Swift, where the driving position and headroom was perfect. I always push the seat up to the highest position to get a top of the road view, and I always get a feel that the windscreen is too close to my head! (I am only 5'5" )

A snap of the raised honeycomb patterned seats in red and black! This almost makes up for the spartan interiors!
Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD-img_20150421_104409.jpg

Though this is an entire personal opinion - the clutch, although considerably lighter than the 110 PS Dusters, has more room for improvement.

My planned mods in future

The car has a decently high GC of 210 mm. But I would urge everyone who owns it to be extra careful as it is not a ladder frame chassis and the suspensions are tuned towards the comfort side. The underbody (including rear diff) is quite exposed and it cannot take serious hits from rocks on the crucial components. I plan to upgrade to the Ironman kit for the Dacia AWD (with 40 mm lift) after the suspension warranty ends.
http://shop.mudster.ro/en/ironman-of...itrogas-40mm-2

I am also planning to get a differential cover and fuel tank guard similar to what we find here.
http://mudster.ro/en/duster-off-road...ction-shields/

This is a Romanian site and has some interesting mods.
ADMINS: I hope I am not breaching any rules my giving external links.

The approach angle (29 degree), though not that great should be good for most places. Even in the picture below, I could not hear the scuff plate scraping.
Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD-2.jpg
I was considering whether to fit a custom made steel/aluminium one but I need to check out if they affect the already poor approach angle.

Once again thanks to everyone for their support. Hopefully, my text piece will be that of a travelogue to the High Himalayas!
Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD-img_20150426_183356.jpg
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Old 26th April 2015, 21:46   #17
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

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Just curious - do you generally keep the car in ECO mode? (and in 2WD?)
I am getting this mileage is regular mode not Eco and I keep in AWD mode always...
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Old 26th April 2015, 22:03   #18
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Excellent ownership thread Sayantan! Summarized well with precise detailing which would help future buyers!
I can vouch for the ride quality of Chameleon for the reasons you know well enough!
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Old 26th April 2015, 22:57   #19
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Excellent review GhostRider28 , rated it 5 stars. Your choice of name is absolutely spot on . On camera the colour definitely looks different and depending on the angle and intensity of light it differs when viewed in flesh as well. I did not believe that it was actually Green when I first saw it in the showroom , the salesman showed me a Amazon Green Adventure edition variant as proof.

I am getting 14.7 kmph on regular city driving (no air-con for most of the time) , 2WD mode and no Eco mode. Some inputs from my side :

I can confirm that the Cruise Control works like a charm and comes in very useful on an empty highway. The actual 3 Way switch that toggles the Cruise / Speed limiter control is not very ergonomic and you need to stretch / bend to reach. However the controls on the steering column, once it is engaged is intuitive and easy.

A hill descent control would have been a nice addition.

Given the size of the MediaNav unit , not sure why Renault left out a reverse camera, the new Lodgy has one and the display is on the MediaNav screen. Need to find out if the MediaNav can be rigged to accept a reverse cam input.

2015 edition RXZ Duster's have a Drivers Armrest as standard , would be good to know if we can retrofit one in the AWD.

Absence of dead pedal , one touch down window and automatic climate control, these should have been there.

Considering that you would take your AWD vehicle to remote corners , the requirement of a Flatbed or all four wheels off the ground when towing does raise niggles on your mind when you venture out. I would be mighty interested on your idea about the rollers - but these would need to be bulky and hefty to take the load of the vehicle. There may not be much space left for luggage when these are stored in the boot.

All in all an excellent package and a great one to drive in the city and absolutely brilliant on the highway.
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Old 27th April 2015, 12:18   #20
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

Is towing an issue simply because this is 4WD? I mean RWD vehicles being towed with the rear wheels on the ground has been seen, is that also bad for the vehicle or its only with 4WD that something else comes into picture.

Question to OP, while a 4cm lift kit looks mouth-watering but wouldn't it impact the car-like driving ability of Duster?
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Old 27th April 2015, 12:55   #21
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

Excellent Ownership Review of the Chameleon there GhostRider28 !!

Being a witness to it's capabilities that it has shown in Sukhnopukur; wish you endless miles, inclines, declines, hairpin bends and as much of off road you wanna push the chameleon to in the times to come
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Old 27th April 2015, 19:52   #22
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

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Is towing an issue simply because this is 4WD? I mean RWD vehicles being towed with the rear wheels on the ground has been seen, is that also bad for the vehicle or its only with 4WD that something else comes into picture.
This seems to be explicit for AWD , here is an extract from the manual , it shouldn't be the case for FWD Dusters.

4WD Towing.pdf

I would like to know whether this is a generic requirement for 4WD/AWD vehicles or is it specific to the AWD Duster ?
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Old 27th April 2015, 22:52   #23
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

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Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Is towing an issue simply because this is 4WD? I mean RWD vehicles being towed with the rear wheels on the ground has been seen, is that also bad for the vehicle or its only with 4WD that something else comes into picture.

Question to OP, while a 4cm lift kit looks mouth-watering but wouldn't it impact the car-like driving ability of Duster?
If the RWD car is put on neutral, the wheels become totally free, which doesnt happen with the AWD vehicles.
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Old 28th April 2015, 00:44   #24
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

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Excellent review GhostRider28 , rated it 5 stars.
Thanks DriveTrain!
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Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
Given the size of the MediaNav unit , not sure why Renault left out a reverse camera, the new Lodgy has one and the display is on the MediaNav screen. Need to find out if the MediaNav can be rigged to accept a reverse cam input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
2015 edition RXZ Duster's have a Drivers Armrest as standard , would be good to know if we can retrofit one in the AWD.
Good point! When will the 2015 facelift be relased? I will call up the workshop to check if it fits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
I would be mighty interested on your idea about the rollers - but these would need to be bulky and hefty to take the load of the vehicle. There may not be much space left for luggage when these are stored in the boot.
I am thinking of a roof carrier. It can be used to carry the spare wheel too.
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Old 28th April 2015, 01:07   #25
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

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Question to OP, while a 4cm lift kit looks mouth-watering but wouldn't it impact the car-like driving ability of Duster?
It most definitely will! But I probably would not mind it much, I have already sacrificed a bit of the handling and high speed manoeuvrability with the Continental AT tyres. I guess now it is rather much more fun being able to go anywhere!

The suspension might be stiffer though, as Ironman website says body roll is well controlled; and I am more worried about sacrificing that super comfortable ride over bad roads!
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Old 28th April 2015, 08:48   #26
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

A really thorough review. The best part being, you really bought something which you intend to use in the way it needs to be! Congrats for mile crunching both on and off the road.

I need to check on the tyre selection part that you mentioned. I am due for a change. I am on Wanderes now at 52K. But I dont need a high performance, all terrain tyre. I need some thing which will hold for long and one with low noise levels. Michelin seems to be on the soft side but with fantastic performance on noise levels.

Last edited by ampere : 28th April 2015 at 08:49.
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Old 28th April 2015, 13:10   #27
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

Sayantan,

Congrats on the Chameleon. This shade of Duster really makes the vehicle stand out in a crowd as do its capabilities. I think this is a great addition to the TeamBHP Kolkata family and wish you many brilliant journeys in this vehicle. Looking forward to the next meet to see the car in person...

Regards
Premjit
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Old 28th April 2015, 13:57   #28
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

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I need to check on the tyre selection part that you mentioned. I am due for a change. I am on Wanderes now at 52K. But I dont need a high performance, all terrain tyre. I need some thing which will hold for long and one with low noise levels. Michelin seems to be on the soft side but with fantastic performance on noise levels.
Just a suggestion: You may also want to check out Continental EcoContact's. Quiet, grippy with excellent wet weather grip.
Been using them for the last 22,000 odd kms on my Swift. Air retention is commendable. Loses 1.5psi max on an average in a month. So far, no punctures.
Vehicle used daily with weekend highway runs.
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Old 28th April 2015, 16:45   #29
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

Excellent choice of vehicle as well as colour. Renault 2WD itself is very rugged and capable. So,one can imagine the performance and reliability of AWD. I believe,as far as SUV is concerned,every extra money spent on 4WD/AWD is worth for the sheer joy in off roading it gives. Do update the thread regularly with your experiences. Wishing you lots of safe and lovely trips!
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Old 28th April 2015, 18:53   #30
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Default Re: Introducing Chameleon - My Renault Duster AWD

Finally I managed to read this wonderful review. It is short and precise just like the steering of your Girgiti ! I really loved your unbiased opinion of the positives and the negatives of you car. I know how hard it is to accept the negatives of your loved baby. Great job there
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