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Old 2nd January 2017, 12:53   #1
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Default A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Don't be a tourist, Be a Traveller!---Andrew Zimmern

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When someone from a middle class layout buys a car, its a big DECISION to be made, a DREAM to be realized.
I just realized mine and this is is my first thread/ownership log on Team-Bhp. Also, please be advised that this is going to be a long post.


BACKGROUND

My tryst with vehicles started at a very early age. My father's family used to own jeeps and Matador vans as part of a transport operation in the 80s/90s. With my father getting into a government service, and we moving to Vizag, we moved to any other regular middle class family with a bike carrying all four of us.

I had my first bike in 2008, a second gen pulsar 150 DTSi which i used vigorously for about 80000kms and 3.5 years. Then went onto a Karizma R and then a Hunk before settling down on a Royal Enfield Electra for the past 4 years. In between, i had an onsite assignment and once i was back, we decided that we needed a car. (all this while we never needed one as i and my sister was always at a different place studying/working and my father had the government vehicles which took care of official work and moreover he preferred his 2 wheeler as well for daily chores).

A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-da29a2785e01e32e76db278bfcea48a8.jpg
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-13924931_1253578331342849_5745880698912341226_n.jpg

We took delivery of a Alto800 towards the end of December 2014. The whole idea of buying the Alto was that it would be the family car after a year or so and i would upgrade to a higher segment hatchback in a year or so.

A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-c5b9e17981bd7ee1a3557eae1e2c1484.jpg
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-e3b203714c92248e89be526d66cb607a.jpg


THE SELECTION CRITERIA

In between all this, I swapped jobs twice, and two years were gone and we almost forgot about the car upgrade thing.

The primary contestants all throughout the buying process were the Ecosport, Duster and then the Scross (in the same order of preference). But, we did checkout all the available cars/segments (<14 L) ranging from hatchbacks to SUVs. I have listed the pros and cons(strictly personal opinion) of each car that we have checked out during the buying process.


HatchBacks

1. Figo TDCi
+ves:
+Engine
+Dynamics
+value for money- steal of a deal for the top end variant.
-ves:
-Sync system TFT
-bad build quality
-not too wide and boot is average
-did not feel premium both on the interior front and exterior front.

2. Tiago
+ves:
+cute, small on the outside but spacious in the inside
+music system**
-ves:
-felt crude
-too small to be considered an upgrade

3. Swift
+ves:
+Handling (on the top variant)
-ves:
-way too many on the road
-build quality
-no boot(well almost)
-cramped rear seat
-ZDI not VFM anymore and at almost ~9 Lakhs OTR is overpriced

Hell yeah! We are the PREMIUM HatchBacks

1. Baleno
+ves:
+Maruti
+DRLs and space
+reliable service
-ves:
-build seemed too flimsy,
-apart from the Alpha variant, all other variants look like a bloated swift.
-An I20 feels a much better made product for a little more premium

2. Elite I20
I really have nothing against this car. If the final decision was for a hatchback,this one would have been it.
+ves:
+Everything
-ves:
-Hyundai’s Greed in overpricing their products

3. Jazz
Didn’t interest me much after driving it back to back after an I20. Felt Meh!
+ves:
+Space, space and more space
+Smooth I-VTEC
-ves:
-5000km service interval. This is a big minus which prompted me to stay away from every Honda product
-Needs the 1.5 I-VTEC

The CONFUSED yet, PRACTICAL Lot – The CrossOvers

1. I20 Active
+ves:
-Everything from the regular I20
-ves:
-Grossly overpriced. SX(O) CRDi was just 40k lower than Ecosport Titanium+ in Vizag.

2. S-Cross
We booked a S-Cross Zeta in 1.3. If not for the callous attitude of NEXA, I would have been owning a S-Cross now. I was never interested in the S-Cross but sitting and driving it completely changed my opinion. Did an immediate booking. Later on realized that NEXA isnt as customer centric once you get a booking done. I might be wrong but they gave me an idea that they were just trying to get their target of S-cross bookings done for a month than actually trying to sell the vehicle. Their whole approach changed after we did the booking. So, we ended up cancelling the booking.
+ves:
+Felt more like a proper sedan.
+Interiors
+Maruti
+Strong driving dynamics
+Best build quality in the current crop of Marutis
-ves:
-No Street cred. Feels Meh when seen in the rear view mirror
-NEXA
-Rear seat headrests seem to be at an awkward position.

The Impractical BUSINESS Class – The Sedans

Thought about NHC and Ciaz for a while but, then i realized that for the travelling that i do (I travel a lot on my Royal Enfield. Covered almost the whole of South except for some pockets in Kerala and TN) it is much better to have a decently high standing vehicle(read C-SUV or cross over). I've had some experiences on a Figo and swift where we scrapped on the Karnataka speed breakers. Saw so many sedans/hatches scrapping the edge of narrow hilly terrains of Kerala/Karnataka/TN.
+ves:
+Classy*
+Decent boots
-ves:
-I'm not 35+ yet
-Ground Clearance
-Low seat height

The COMPACT Bada Gaadis – C-SUVs (sub 4m)

1. Vitara Brezza
Two of my friends do have it and they have very good things to say about it. But, somehow I was never really impressed with the looks. As far as Im concerned, the only viable Maruti product is S-Cross for its classy interiors and good ride quality.

+ves:
+Maruti
-ves:
-Interiors looked bad- no leather upholstery even on top end, seriously?
-Any variant apart from Zdi(+)

2. Ford Ecosport
The whole family were sold on the Ford ecosport and we almost booked it if not for the perseverance of the NEXA folks in getting the S-cross booked (and later on cancelled).
The only reason we don’t have it in our parking right now is because we liked the Duster better. This is no non-sense product with a superb build quality and features on offer.
+ves:
+Safety kit on Titanium+
+Music system quality
+Build quality and handling
-ves:
-Small Sync TFT Screen (this is now probably improved with the platinum edition's touch screen)
-The interior space could have been better utilized
-Rear spare tyre cover costs a whopping 14k
-Cramped rear seat for 3 (though wasn’t a deal breaker for me)

3. TUV
+ves:
+Space. (After the test drive, my family said it felt like sitting on a SOFA at home)
+7 seats
+Looks butch from the front.
-ves:
-Too crude- 3 pot engine, gearing
-Boat like feel
-Rear and side view

The GIVE ME WAY Gaadis – SUVs

1. Scorpio
+ves:
+Space. (Even more than the TUV)
-ves:
-Lower variants are too basic
-Boat like feel on highways during sudden lane changes.
-Felt too big.
-Looks too old now.
-Not the best build quality.
-Somehow did not like the front seat Ergonomics.

2. XUV
Though I like the XUV, it was a little over the budget which we already extended due to our cross shopping.

3. Creta
My uncle suggested me to get this as this is a very new product and has the tried and tested 1.4/1.6 CRDi motors powering it. It does look neat and classy, yes, but then again, it is overpriced as well and also it never really excited me like the duster had been since 3 years. Also, not that it matters, but a 180mm GC should put it in the Crossover territory more than the SUV or C-SUV. Heck even a Punto Evo in petrol has more GC than this.

4. Duster
Duster has been a dream car to own for me since it was launched. But, when my car shopping started I never really considered it because to be frank, I thought the price is way beyond what I should be spending.(remember, I started my car shopping with a Figo TDCi in mind)



THE NEGOTIATIONS:

Just when we were thinking to go book the Ecosport, got a call from Renault informing me of the offers. I really have to appreciate the efforts of the sales guy from Renault for taking care of everything from literally arranging for the loan over just emails (I was in bangalore for the whole while).I just had to go to Vizag on the delivery date.
Please ask for 'Prasad' at Renault vizag. A very nice chap to deal with.

The variant was decided to be a 85ps RXL after quite some thought. 85ps RXZ was almost 1.5 lakhs more over the 85ps RXL which i wasn't ready to spend. If at 1.5 Lakh premium i was getting a 110ps RXZ i would have taken it. But, that not being the case, i decided upon the 85ps RXL. Also, the interior scheme of grey and black on the RXZ variants did not help either. In my view, the RXL interior color scheme looks much better with brown and black.
The only thing i am missing in the RXL was a passenger side airbag (ABS is standard across the Duster range while RXL adds on the driver airbag). But, I was quite ok with that even though it is quite a miss when compared to the 6 airbags in the Ecosport Titanium+ which were about to book after the S-cross cancellation. The primary reason being, i am still an unmarried IT guy working in Hyderabad and would be driving the car single 80% of the time while my parents stay in Vizag.


85ps RXL on road price in Vizag comes to around 13.04 with a 14% tax slab. The best price quoted by the dealer was 12.44 which includes all the below items/accessories as well:

1. Rear view camera plus display
2. Mudflaps
3. Carpets- Renault branded (they seem decent except for the fact that they are in beige. Must have been from the pre facelifted model)
4. Genuine Renault Seat Covers
5. Renault genuine Car cover
6. Extended warranty till 4 years/80000kms

THE BUYING EXPERIENCE

So, finally on 9th of December, we took delivery of our Silver Duster 85ps RXL.(my Royal Enfield Electra is of the same colour). Reached showroom at about 09:30 A.M
To be frank, i haven't even seen many Dusters in Silver at least in Vizag/Hyderabad/Bangalore and was worried how it might look in person on the facelifted model. But once the car was ready for delivery, i was just in love with it.

The showroom guys arranged a cake to be cut and did put up a small little ceremony before handing over the keys.
The only gripe being it took almost till 02:30 P.M in the afternoon for the temporary registration to be done which is all an online process in AP now because the portal was down.


First look from the showroom:
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_20161209_132541788.jpg

Right Before Delivery:
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-15380416_1381089048591776_3136598612535148497_n.jpg

Handing over the Keys:
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-20161209_150009.jpg

A Little photoshoot for the memory lane:
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-15439799_1381089038591777_8571106566344154212_n.jpg
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-20161209_150243.jpg

Who doesnt like Cake?
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-20161209_145637.jpg

Whats in the glovebox?
Delicious Renault imprinted Chocolates.
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_1865.jpg

A decent folder. Better than the plastic file that Maruti offers.
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_1867.jpg

The spare key. The key seems to be shared with the KWID now.
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_20161212_084410634.jpg


INITIAL RUN-IN

The first two days i have done about 300kms carefully running in and then it was at home (Vizag) under wraps for about 1.5 month apart for a few quick runs by my father everyday just to keep it in shape.

First day at home beside our Alto
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-15826902_1411552552212092_6290574136942013890_n.jpg

First outing at night
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-15741209_1411552592212088_5466869122187380398_n.jpg

Eventually I had to relocate from Bangalore to Hyderabad owing to a job change in the mid of Jan and that's when I had to drive the Duster from Vizag to Hyderabad along with a bit of my luggage. I wouldn't comment on the drive and ride quality of the duster as everyone knows that it is unmatched this side of 20 big ones.

Rather than taking the faster, better road through Vijaywada, I went through Khammam fully knowing that it does have a lot of bad patches in between. The idea was that the bad roads will keep a check on the speeds and also require frequent gear changes which might be needed for a proper run-in.


ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES ADDED

Currently the below are the accessories/additional fitments present.

1. Rear view camera and a display - A must have on the duster
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_20170203_180433880.jpg

2. A Minion to keep me company on my to-be solo drives (a gift from my GF)
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_20170122_173109541-copy.jpg

3. Changed all the front bulbs to OSRAM Nightbreakers. Total cost is ~5500 (includes far/near and fog lamps- H1, H7 and H11 respectively)

4. Added metal sill plates to make it easier to clean the mud/sand

5. Leather steering cover.
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_20170203_180411061.jpg

6. Universal Hand rest - Borrowed from our Alto.Bought this a couple of years ago for about 700 online.
(I did not drill any holes. It just lies there with 3M)
A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true-img_20170203_180419057.jpg

7. 3.1 AMP Mobile charger + holder from Belkin.

8. Jopasu car duster.

9. Hella windtone Horn.

10. I-POP rubber strips to prevent scratches on door edges when opening in tight spaces.
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THE OTHER TIDBITS

I have tried to list down my observation on each of the below items and also added a comparison with my primary alternatives(Ecosport and S-Cross) that I had considered so that it would be helpful to someone who is in the same boat as I was.

Interior design & quality
Interior design on the Duster would not split people's decision. Everyone agrees that it is dated. Heck, it was dated even in 2012 when it was launched. The only thing that changes in the 2016 edition is the colour tone and a DUSTER logo embossed on the passenger side Dashboard. So, lets just say that the interior design or the quality of plastics are not Duster's forte. I would say that the Dashboard plastics a little better than the ones on the Ecosport though they cant hold a candle against Creta's or S-Cross's.
[ Scross > Ecosport > Duster ]

Interior space & comfort
Duster offers plenty of space in the front seats. The rear seats are supremely comfortable as well. But there is a minor gripe. If the front seats are pushed back, the rear seats do not have the kind of leg space as you might expect in a car of this size. As long the person sitting behind and the driver are not six feet in height, I think it is pretty much alright. Think of it this way – A regular south Indian family would be extremely comfortable. A Punjabi family would still be but might not be as much they would want in the back seat. (Considering that people down south have a shorter average height)
[ Scross> Ecosport > Duster ]

Driving position, ergonomics, controls & MID
Duster does have a commanding driving position with the long bonnet clearly visible to give you that SUV feel. Ergonomics are pretty alright as well now with the central locking, ORVM controls shifted to more convenient and traditional positions in the facelift. The headlight and wiper stalks though are on the wrong side. This is just a matter of time before getting used to. The MID does have the trip computer, DTE, real time mileage with respect to the RPM, average mileage, outside temperature and a clock which I think is all that is ever needed. It does not have any fancy colour display though to show which door is open etc.,
[ Duster > Ecosport > Scross ]

Air conditioner cooling & effectiveness
I have not driven the Duster in peak summers yet but I have a feeling that the rear passengers are going to struggle before the cooling kicks in which seems to take a little more time than the Ecosport definitely and probably S-cross as well. I have no idea on the size of A.C compressor being used to comment but, this definitely would have a little to do with the big window glass areas as well.
[ Ecosport > Scross > Duster ]

Audio system & sound quality
Duster in the RXL variant comes with a normal 2-DIN audio system. Nothing fancy. It has average audio output as well. The one good thing it does though is that it connects to Bluetooth lightning quick. I do have issues with voice on call connectivity though(it doesn’t connect to the phone’s voice call sometimes though the music plays without any issue). Also, the mic does not seem to have a good sensitivity as the receiver always seems to be complaining of a problem in hearing me.
[ Ecosport > Scross > Duster ]

Interior storage, practicality & boot space
The one big complaint on the pre-facelift model was that the Duster did not have enough spaces for knick-knacks which has been unfortunately carried over to the 2016 facelift. It simply cannot hold any bottles in convenient locations. For that matter, it doesn’t have any bottle holders on the doors. The only bottle holder present is in between the front two seats which is covered anyways by the aftermarket hand rests that people put up anyways.
[ Ecosport > Scross > Duster ]

Boot space
If you need a car/SUV for boot space, Duster is your answer. It can gulp huge loads of luggage even with the parcel tray in position. For instance, when I was driving from Vizag to Hyderabad, the boot had in it – a folding chair, trolley, A TV in its box, XBOX packed up, a mid-sized suitcase, DSLR kit, a table, 3 backpacks, couple of helmets- all in the boot with the parcel tray in place. Beat that!!
You can also plan on kidnapping that ever ditching friend for a GOA trip and keep him tied up there (He would probably be super happy out there and even have a nice, comfortable, sound and loud sleep).
[ Duster > Scross > Ecosport ]

Engine performance & Driveability
85ps K9K is known for its low speed drivability. I haven’t taken it past 2700 RPM yet and it seems to be doing ~110 at about there. If it is city runabout with occasional highway trips and you are a sedate driver, I would happily recommend the 85ps. Saying that the 110ps is much more comfortable at highway speeds and also it does have a 6th gear for a smoother cruising at highway speeds with lower rpms. 85ps would obviously do highways speeds but it isn’t at its smoothest best at those speeds.
[ Highway: Scross(1.6/1.3) > Duster(110ps) > Ecosport > Duster(85ps) ]
[ Traffic: Duster(85ps) > Ecosport > Scross 1.3 > Duster(110ps) > Scross 1.6 ]

Gearshift & clutch
The 5-speed Gearshift on the 85ps version Dusters has sort of a mid-ranged throw and you could probably call it notchy. Not rubbery but notchy with a buttony feel to it. Probably will feel better with more mileage but I remember having the same feel on the friends 32k run Duster.
The clutch is much lighter on 2016 Facelifted Dusters now. You wont have to do a leg workout in stop-go traffic.
[ Scross > Ecosport > Duster ]

Overall NVH levels
Pre-facelift had below average NVH insulation and the same unfortunately seems to be the case with the 2016 facelifted version. That wind noice is present >110kmph and the engine is fairly audible inside the cabin at anything above 2000rpm.
[ Ecosport > Scross > Duster ]

Fuel efficiency: City and Highway
I haven’t used it enough for city runs to comment on the city fuel efficiency but on the highway runs that I did do, I think it was close to ~17KMPL on 100% A.C utilization. Should get better with mileage and the first service.
[ Scross 1.3 >Ecosport > Scross 1.6 > Duster ]

Suspension & ride quality
Well, suspension and ride quality is what makes a Duster what it is and how many it sold. It is extremely comfortable and pliant both in the front seats and rear seats. Nothing comes even close to beating it. You can nonchalantly dismiss road irregularities.
(Just ignore the odd rattle here and there though - <pun intented>)
[ Duster > Scross > Ecosport ]

Handling, on-road behaviour, grip levels, stability, body roll & turning radius
Duster inspite of its tall boy SUV looks has tremendously low body roll. Handles and turns pretty good. Turning radius also I believe is slightly lower than the Ecosport. My Duster came shod with MRF Wanderers which have a high road noise but then again, I am satisfied with the grip levels and also most of the online reviews seem to agree that MRF Wanderers perform pretty good on the Duster.
[ Scross > Duster > Ecosport ]

Visibility & size of mirrors
The ORVMs are decently sized and offer a good view of the rear but a size bigger would have definitely helped as well. The IRVM has a clip on display in my Duster for the aftermarket rear view camera. It is pretty wide and offers the view of the entire rear windshield. I wouldn’t be able to comment on the OEM IRVM’s view as I have never used it. The visibility outside is great due to the large window area. There is slight blind spot due to the A pillar but it isn't as bad as the Ecosport.
[ Duster > Scross > Ecosport ]

Overall build quality, fit & finish, paint quality and panel gaps
Build quality is strictly average and probably poor in some areas especially when compared to brilliantly well-built products like Ecosport and Scross. The front doors do close with a decent thud but the rear ones sound tinny. The colour being silver, I cannot find any orange peel effect. So, I would say that the paint quality is decent. Considering that I came across door rattling in about 1200kms, I would say the fit and finish isn’t the best as well.
[ Ecosport > Scross > Duster ]

Steering
The facelifted Duster does not seem to have the aggressive turn back of the steering that the pre-facelifted Duster seems to have had. I remember holding on pretty tight when going through the Chickmagalur ghats on the pre-facelifted Duster. Steering feedback from road undulations has also reduced a bit which is good. Duster’s steering has always been a little on the heavier side which is good and this seems to be the same with the facelift as well. Parallel parking sure does take a little more effort than say a Creta or Ecosport.
[ Duster > Scross > Ecosport ]

Braking
I have no complaints on the braking capability on the Duster. It has enough bite and the pedal has a nice feel and not over accentuated like some of the FORDs (read Aspire) or the rubbery feel on some Hyundai/Maruti(lower variants of most cars) cars. Brake pads though need to be replaced every 20000kms which might turn out to be the expensive proposition in most services.
[ Scross > Ecosport > Duster ]

Ground clearance
If someone has scrapped their Duster, as they say, God save the Queen! You need a driver mate <pun intented>
You get 205mm on the regular and 210mm on the AWD which remains the same in the 2016 facelift versions. That is more than enough for any road in my view.
[ Duster > Ecosport > Scross ]


Though I have tried to cover the granular specifications, I have tried to keep them as abstract as possible as the 2016 facelift is a mere facelift over the previous gen and the mechanicals remain unchanged. Hence, for a much more detailed and exhaustive report on ride quality, interiors, exteriors, engine etc., please refer the below official review of the pre-facelift Duster

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...al-review.html (Renault Duster : Official Review)

For a detailed report on the 2016 Facelift and its changes/upgrades, please refer the below

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...al-review.html (2016 Renault Duster Facelift & AMT (Automatic) : Official Review)


THE SVC EXPERIENCE

Though I got the vehicle in Vizag, I'm currently staying/working in Hyderabad after my relocation from Bangalore.
When I got it to Hyderabad, it had around 1200 on the odo. So, I approached Autologic SVC in Kondapur for the first service/checkup as it is only 3km away from my Flat. The service was alright as there were no issues at that point(touchwood). They did their checks and did a wash before delivering the vehicle. The customer waiting area is decent as well with a TV and air-conditioned setup with a couple of sofas. The only problem is that there is no proper road to the SVC with about 200m on rough surface though its not an issue for the Duster.

After a week or so, I started hearing rattling from the front left door for whatsoever reason and when I took it to the SVC, they promptly agreed to check and work on it. They seem to have refitted the front left door pad and for now the rattling is gone. Though they were late in delivering the vehicle by a couple of hours, they did wash the vehicle as well for free. It was a Rs. 0/- charged service. So, I'm pretty satisfied with it.
Saying that, I might have a keep an eye on the rattling issue as door rattling can be recurring in most cases on any car.


THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

The Good:
1. Ride Quality
2. Stance/Road presence
3. Road presence
4. color of interiors on the the RXL
5. A size bigger over the other compact SUVs like Brezza and Ecosport
6. Widest in segment (probably TUV is wider though)
7. Rear seat is supremely comfortable with a good recline angle
8. 3 headrests on the rear seat which do not seem to be the norm in most other cars in contention
9. Boot space
10. Theatre dimming effect on cabin lights.
11. Charging point on parcel tray for rear seat passengers.
12. OEM Music system is decent with all the required features like Bluetooth, CD/DVD playback etc.,
Bluetooth connects fairly quick as well. But sometimes, for phone call voice, it doesn't receive for whatsoever reason.

Things that have been added on the 2016-FACELIFT which makes it better over the previous gen:
1. Clutch is much lighter now- almost feels similar to the one on Ecosport TDCi now
2. A little more bling with the LED tail lamps and hawk eye head lamps
3. Bigger roof rails.
4. probably better interior colour schemes now(beige was a dirt magnet in the pre-facelift)
5. Electrically foldable RVMs now
6. Better positioned ORVM control - more conventional now rather than below the handbrake in the pre-facelift
7. Auto AC and Cruise Control (present on top of line RXZ. Missing on my RXL)
8. Turn indicators on ORVMs (probably new ?)
9. ABS with EBD now standard across range.


The Bad:
1. Rear seat legroom is strictly average. (though it is supremely comfortable for mid sized adults- read upto 5'9)
(Jazz and Baleno definitely have better leg rooms- The rear seat legroom in Duster may be in line with the elite I20 if not only slightly better)
2. Though the front doors close with a decent thud, the rear doors are pathetic especially when compared to an Ecosport.
3. SVCs not as organized as Hyundai or Maruti though they have a decent customer waiting lounge.
4. Sound insulation still not the best.
5. No sound notification on lock/unlock
6. No auto-locking on doors. Need to manually press the central locking button on the console.
7. No dead pedal though, not a big issue as you have more than enough space to rest your left foot.
8. No vanity mirror on driver side. Guess Renault doesn't expect lady drivers <pun intended>
9. Amazon green only being dispatched in the top of line AWD variant. That colour looks fantabulous.
10. Flap type door handles feel flimsy though they might do the job.
11. Interior plastic quality is strictly average.
12. Renault, did you hear of DRLs?

The Ugly:
1. Still no bottle holders in the doorpads.
2. Rattles. - With just 1300km on the odo, my front left door started rattling like a drunken duck. Needed to go to the SVC to get it sorted. They say they have opened and refitted the door pads. Might have to monitor for a while if it would return.
3. No reach adjust on steering wheel which might be an issue for shorter drivers.
4. Forget Six Airbags. Even Passenger Airbag is still not standard across range. Only RXZ gets it.
5. No split folding rear seat.


THE WHY SO, SECTION

[Q:]Am I Happy with my buying decision?
Hell yeah. I think with the December discounts, the 85ps RXL was quite a value proposition in itself. You need to consider that it costed me almost the same as a Titanium+ TDCi Ecosport. Yes, Ecosport is a very good product and it does have a very good Kit offered on Titanium+ but, Duster is infact a size bigger than Ecosport and that's what tilted my decision towards it. Otherwise, I would recommend an Ecosport to anyone as well.
The same goes to S-cross as well if not for the JAYABHERI NEXA, VIZAG attitude and also the plain jane looks.
(But, I did infact book the car inspite of the exterior looks. Didn't I? The reason being it is a good car. Infact, if anyone is getting a car from Maruti stable right now. S-Cross is the only car I would endorse)

[Q:]Is the Duster still worth buying after all the latest launches like CRETA?
Yes and No. If you can spend the extra moolah and need more bling, go get a CRETA. But, the thing to note is no one ever bought a DUSTER for its interiors even when it was launched. So, if you can live with its interiors which btw are decent and not as bad as you might perceive. Infact they are much better than the Vitara Brezza in my view though they cant hold a candle against Creta's.
Also, nothing comes close to its ride quality both in the front and back seats.

[Q:]Is the facelifted Duster a big improvement over the previous gen?
No. there aren't any mechanical improvements/changes over the pre-facelift. Interior color scheme has been altered along with some other minor changes. One big change though is that the clutch is much lighter than before.
Please refer the section "the Good, the bad and the Ugly" above or the official facelift thread for more info.

[Q:]Are you content and what would be your next ride?
I'm highly content with my purchase and I wouldn't even think of any purchase for a long-long period unless someone decides to sponsor me and gets a Fortuner.

[Q:]Did you drive all the vehicles in contention before deciding?
Yes. I drove the older gen Duster for about 1200km in about 2 days. Ecosport for about 600kms. S-Cross was a mere 10km test drive. These were the primary contestants. Though i loved the ride quality of the Duster I never knew that the clutch was so hard. I almost immediately removed it from my next vehicle list after that weekend drive. It was only after the facelift review thread came up on Teambhp that I knew that Renault worked on the clutch. On the other hand, I fell in love with the Ecosport as well for its handling.

[Q:]What is the biggest change that you noticed after buying it?
It feels weird driving most of the hatchbacks now. It feels like I'm sitting on the floor and moreover I need to be extra careful with the speedbreakers and potholes.

[Q:]What is your usage?
Ok. It might sound absurd, but I don't even use the car for office commute for 2 reasons. I use it only during weekends and evenings.
1. Office is just 3kms away on the kondapur road and taking the bike is much easier in traffic.
2. Office parking is currently full.

[Q:]So, how would you justify the 'DIESEL'?
Firstly, except for CRETA there is no decent petrol SUV and I'm not ready to see single digit Kmpl on the trip meter. Ecosport's Ecoboost is good yes, but, as per my Father, it had to be a Diesel if its a car which is even an inch longer than the Swift. He is just worried of the mileage figures for the weekend trips I end up in. Petrol Duster did not have a lot of takers and I do not intend to be searching around for spares as I intend to keep my Duster for pretty long.
Secondly, yes, I do not use it for office commute, but I travel a lot on highways. Every month, I'm pretty sure, I would be doing atleast ~1500/2000 on weekend getaways because that was the average on my Enfield.
Thirdly, yes, TURBO, MILEAGE and CRUISING ability of Diesels on Highway runs.

[Q:]Why not the 110ps or the top-of-line AWD?
I'm a very sedate highway driver and hardly ever crossed 110 kmph and the 85ps would do just fine in those speeds.
AWD in Amazon green is but, then again, I'm not ready to extend my already extended budget by another ~3 lakhs.

[Q:]Any more Mods planned in future?
Oh definitely yes! I need the alloys from the Terrano and the front Adventure variant ABS made nudge guard.


AND, FINALLY,

Im still in awe that we moved atleast a couple of segments higher for my car. Our initial plans when we got the Alto was that it will be a Swift or something in that range while the Alto will be delegated to family duties. I have to thank my parents for all the support they always provide me for my travelling and that was the major reason for them to allow myself to get a decently capable car though it extended my budget by at least ~3/4 Lakhs.

Love you mom and dad!

Also, thanks everyone on this wonderful forum for all the help in the decision making!!
Go explore our country in whatever car you've got! They all will get you there!!

Last edited by Rehaan : 10th February 2017 at 15:01. Reason: Formatting changes
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Old 2nd January 2017, 13:51   #2
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Default re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Welcome to the Duster family. It is an awesome vehicle and will take you where you wish to go over good roads, bad roads and no roads. Have owned an AWD for the last thirteen months and I just can't wait for the weekend to go out.
Happy motoring and stay safe.
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Old 12th February 2017, 13:51   #3
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th February 2017, 11:05   #4
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Congratulations on your new buy! Have a safe and wonderful drive.

A well written initial ownership review. I liked the 'THE WHY SO, SECTION'. This would help a prospective buyer to take an informed decision.
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Old 13th February 2017, 11:16   #5
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Quote:
Originally Posted by vamsi2390 View Post
Don't be a tourist, Be a Traveller!---Andrew Zimmern

Go explore our country in whatever car you've got! They all will get you there!!
Congrats Vamshi on your new acquisition, I might be the most severe critic of Renault but it has nothing to do with the vehicle. As a user of Duster and Ecosport I agree to all the cons you have jotted down in the review. It is a wise decision to buy the vehicle in Vizag, wish you many happy miles with your Duster.
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Old 13th February 2017, 11:25   #6
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Dear vamsi2390
Congrats on Your Duster, wish you have a happy and peaceful journey ahead
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Old 13th February 2017, 12:16   #7
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Congrats on the new purchase! I saw the duster RXL in our office car parking and you are right, the interior feels better now compared to the previous generation. I especially love the new wheel caps design and that along with the black steel wheel, makes it look like a genuine alloys from far. I would keep this any given day than buy new alloys (and it's cheaper to replace as well). One of the best OEM wheelcap design IMO.
My friend who has the older 110 RXL Duster complained of 2 main things. The super hard clutch (I tired it...God that's difficult to modulate in bumper to bumper traffic). I think the 85 bhp is better and as you said, the current generation clutch is better.
Next problem as you said, it gets very hot and A/C takes time to cool. This friend of mine used sun film (the light green ones) all around for 3k but the front windshield film with anti glare for 5k. He said it made a world of a difference to the cooling effect and he need not crank it up like before and night driving has become way more easier thanks to the anti glare. I strongly recommend you do the same.
I have the Sunny with the same engine and used it for 41k. Aside from the service, there has not been a single issue with the engine (fingers crossed) and I think it's a reliable unit.
Have you checked the price of the front crash guard with the in built 2 auxiliary lights? That Duster in our office parking I mentioned earlier..it has that and it looks really sporty.

Last edited by rosh_aveo1.4 : 13th February 2017 at 12:20.
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Old 13th February 2017, 13:22   #8
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Congrats on your acquisition !
Recently, I was in Delhi to meet a friend who owns the RxZ 85PS version and got a chance to drive her. To summarize: This car will make a lot of sense after a few years of ownership.
The car is much bigger than the competition (Vitara Brezza, Ecosport, SCross 1.3) and the 85 PS is not at all under-powered if driven sedately. Add to that, its awesome mileage. The car I drove was constantly showing average consumption of 19kmpl and it was having no problems cruising at 90kmph.
The car might not have the best interiors and all those bells and whistles, but when your family size increases later and fuel/running expenses become noteworthy, the Duster will emerge victorious
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Old 13th February 2017, 15:52   #9
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Quote:
Originally Posted by vamsi2390 View Post
When someone from a middle class layout buys a car, its a big DECISION to be made, a DREAM to be realized.
I just realized mine and this is is my first thread/ownership log on Team-Bhp. Also, please be advised that this is going to be a long post.

Yours is one of the most honest reviews or initial ownership thread 've ever come across, you have highlighted everything so well in the right perspective. Yeah there are some issues with the interiors in tems of looks and built quality, otherwise the Duster is a very good car. By now am sure you would have discovered more good benefits of the Duster and hope that you will keep enjoying the rides, drive safe always.

Mod Note: You created a 100 line post to add 2 lines of response! Good to avoid quoting the whole post when responding.

Last edited by ampere : 13th February 2017 at 16:07.
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Old 13th February 2017, 19:50   #10
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Hello Vamshi, congratulations & welcome to GANG OF DUSTERS! Thanks for taking time to compile this review. I must say this is 100% unbiased review. You have been very open and honest with the feedback and while comparing Duster with Ecosport / S-Cross. I have a 2016 85 PS RXZ & totally happy with the beast. Never felt 85 PS is under powered. Recently I went to Pondicherry trip with friends. 5 of us were cruising at 130-140 KMPH speed with AC ON all the time. So 85 PS does have adequate power on highways. Please double check on auto door lock. Mine does get locked automatically in few seconds. If the issue persists, get it checked during 1st service. Once again, congrats & wish you many happy miles ahead
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Old 14th February 2017, 14:17   #11
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Quote:
Originally Posted by vamsi2390 View Post
Im still in awe that we moved atleast a couple of segments higher for my car.
Congratulations!
I can relate to this feeling. I myself "upgraded" from a M800 to 85 PS Duster back in 2013.
I can tell you from my experience that its a good car to own and I enjoy every trip of mine. Wish you many miles of fun too.
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Old 14th February 2017, 15:41   #12
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Quote:
Originally Posted by SajiNSalin View Post
Welcome to the Duster family.
Happy motoring and stay safe.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumeshmani View Post
Congratulations!
I can relate to this feeling. I myself "upgraded" from a M800 to 85 PS Duster back in 2013.
I can tell you from my experience that its a good car to own and I enjoy every trip of mine. Wish you many miles of fun too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneRidder View Post
Congratulations on your new buy! Have a safe and wonderful drive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumeshmani View Post
Congratulations!
I can relate to this feeling. I myself "upgraded" from a M800 to 85 PS Duster back in 2013.
I can tell you from my experience that its a good car to own and I enjoy every trip of mine. Wish you many miles of fun too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by deehunk View Post
It is a wise decision to buy the vehicle in Vizag, wish you many happy miles with your Duster.
Quote:
Originally Posted by N4Nikunj View Post
Dear vamsi2390
Congrats on Your Duster, wish you have a happy and peaceful journey ahead
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAHS View Post
Hello Vamshi, congratulations & welcome to GANG OF DUSTERS!
Once again, congrats & wish you many happy miles ahead
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiInJa View Post
Congrats on your acquisition !
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh_aveo1.4 View Post
Congrats on the new purchase!
Thank you all! Your wishes all do mean a lot. Like one wise guy once said in our very forum, if you have a car and don't look back at it admiringly after parking, you made a wrong decision. And, I keep looking back at it waiting for the opportunity to hit the highways.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh_aveo1.4 View Post
I especially love the new wheel caps design and that along with the black steel wheel, makes it look like a genuine alloys from far.
I would keep this any given day than buy new alloys (and it's cheaper to replace as well). One of the best OEM wheelcap design IMO.
They indeed do look great and like you have said they do look like alloys from far. The upgrade to Terrano alloys is the last thing i would do only after i have become completely tired of the current looks and also have some spare cash. Thinking practically though, you are right in asking me to retain them as they do look great for OEM alloys and do blend in well with the Duster's aesthetics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh_aveo1.4 View Post
A/C takes time to cool. This friend of mine used sun film (the light green ones) all around for 3k but the front windshield film with anti glare for 5k. He said it made a world of a difference to the cooling effect and he need not crank it up like before and night driving has become way more easier thanks to the anti glare. I strongly recommend you do the same.
Thank you so much. This completely missed from my required accessory list.
I do have to visit my friendly neighborhood 3M store especially for the anti-glare front wind shield film.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh_aveo1.4 View Post
Have you checked the price of the front crash guard with the in built 2 auxiliary lights? That Duster in our office parking I mentioned earlier..it has that and it looks really sporty.
Yeah this was the nudge guard that I meant in the 'Why so' section. I absolutely adore it. It comes as OEM on the Adventure versions. It is priced at 18K as per some online searching i did. I will check with the SVC on the exact price. That is a definite to do on the list of accessories planned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayeed View Post
By now am sure you would have discovered more good benefits of the Duster.
Yes Definitely. I absolutely love it inspite of its many flaws. The best thing about Duster is that it doesn't try to be a jack of all trades. It doesn't follow the best practical interior layout inside or carry the latest gizmos. Rather, it is a no nonsense car with lots of space, practicality, ride quality and also a bit of dynamics to still retain the fun factor as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RAHS View Post
Thanks for taking time to compile this review. I must say this is 100% unbiased review. You have been very open and honest with the feedback and while comparing Duster with Ecosport / S-Cross. Please double check on auto door lock. Mine does get locked automatically in few seconds. If the issue persists, get it checked during 1st service. Once again, congrats & wish you many happy miles ahead
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneRidder View Post
A well written initial ownership review. I liked the 'THE WHY SO, SECTION'. This would help a prospective buyer to take an informed decision.
Thank you. The idea was to help anyone else in the same boat that I was as i did see a lot of similar car buying queries on the 'Which car to buy?' section and also in their relevant review threads of Ecosport, S-cross and the Duster.
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Old 14th February 2017, 16:07   #13
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Hi Vamsi,

Congratulations on the car. That's a very good ownership report you have put up.

The Duster 85 PS is a sensible choice for those doing most of their driving in urban areas. The negligible turbo lag goes a long way in making it more user-friendly in the city compared to the 110 PS version. At the same time, there's adequate power available for you to amble along on the occasional highway drive.

The best thing about the Duster remains its ride. It beats a lot of much more expensive cars comfortably. The handling is quite good too. What I don't like is the quality of plastics used on the inside. Further, with many B2 segment hatchbacks getting dual airbags as standard, it's high time Renualt offers them as standard on the Duster, which is a couple of segments higher.

Wish you many happy miles of motoring.
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Old 14th February 2017, 22:58   #14
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Congratulations on your new Duster dear Vamsi.

As regards your point about auto locking of doors, please see page 1.7 of your duster manual. Quoting it -

"Activating/deactivating the function:
To activate: with the vehicle at a standstill and the engine running, press 1 the switch 1 until a beep sounds."

It will enable automatic locking of the doors over the speed of 7 kmph.

Hope it solves your problem.
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Old 17th February 2017, 12:24   #15
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Default Re: A silver Renault Duster 85 PS RxL joins the garage! A dream come true

Quote:
Originally Posted by onecar View Post
Congratulations on your new Duster dear Vamsi.
Wish you many happy miles of motoring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Hi Vamsi,
Congratulations on the car. That's a very good ownership report you have put up.
Thank you so much.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Hi Vamsi,
The best thing about the Duster remains its ride. It beats a lot of much more expensive cars comfortably. The handling is quite good too.
This was one of the primary differentiating factors why we chose the Duster over the other XXL sized SUVs like Scorpio or the Storme. (Mileage also obviously being one of the other points). After driving the Duster, they seemed to be having way too much body roll and most importantly i wasn't as comfortable driving them around after been pampered by the handling on my friend's Ecosport and Duster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Hi Vamsi,
What I don't like is the quality of plastics used on the inside. Further, with many B2 segment hatchbacks getting dual airbags as standard, it's high time Renualt offers them as standard on the Duster, which is a couple of segments higher.
I still could not believe that Renault has not made DUAL Airbags as standard across the range. This is utterly disappointing.May be they are keeping it for yet another end of life facelift. At least they made ABS with EBD standard for now and did not end up being even cheaper.

Fun fact : Though RXL does not have passenger side airbags, it does have Warning labels on the passenger side for airbags(above the vanity mirror)


Quote:
Originally Posted by onecar View Post
As regards your point about auto locking of doors, please see page 1.7 of your duster manual. Quoting it -

"Activating/deactivating the function:
To activate: with the vehicle at a standstill and the engine running, press 1 the switch 1 until a beep sounds."

It will enable automatic locking of the doors over the speed of 7 kmph.

Hope it solves your problem.
Thank you so much. I did try this out first with the button 1 on the remote lock and it did not work and then realized the button mentioned here is the central locking button on the dashboard. Now the auto-lock has been activated and it works like a charm. Thanks again!



Also, last week i drove solo to Pune and back from Hyderabad and it performed as expected without any issues. I kept the RPM close to ~2700/2900 sometimes as part of the progressive running-in that I normally follow with my vehicles. Currently the ODO stands at 2700km. The mileage all throughout was 16 to 17(with 100% A.C) which I'm expecting to improve over time and the first service.

I have added Magnetic window shades as well to reduce some of the Sun and heat coming in( Hyderabad seems to have entered its Summer already this time around). I will add pics of the complete interiors and accessories as well soon.

Last edited by vamsi2390 : 17th February 2017 at 12:25.
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