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Old 14th January 2017, 14:05   #1
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Default My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

The team-bhp forum has several Renault Duster ownership reviews. However, there is not a single review of the Duster Petrol. Well, I am penning down a 25000 km review of the Renault Duster RxL petrol - One of a kind!!!

Background
I had been driving a Maruti Zen Vxi since 2005 owned by my dad. No doubt it is a great car but in August 2014, I thought it is a good time to buy our 1st car. My wife was in complete support and thus, the search began with no budget in mind. I started reading a lot online about the different cars in the market. Websites like our own team-bhp, carwale overdrive etc. became my most viewed pages. The initial thought was of buying a premium hatchback. I was sure I do not want a sedan and I had not even thought of buying an SUV as I thought it would be too expensive and also find kind of intimidated by the size. I was open to buying an automatic transmission car but preferred a manual. We started visiting car dealers in Bangalore.

Requirements
  • Budget - Definitely nothing extravagant. Since I was upgrading from a Zen, the minimum would be at least a premium hatchback.
  • Colour - White or Black strictly
  • Drive - Comfortable to drive in the city
  • Safety - ABS and airbags compulsory

Cars considered
  • Elite i20 - A car that looks like a Mercedes. The top end version was well within my budget. The diesel version also seemed an attractive option with 6 gears. The dealer told me that waiting time was around 2 months.
  • Ecosport - My wife loved this car. The Ecosport is a good car and I was interested in the petrol automatic but it had a waiting period of 6-8 months and no test drive car which was really ridiculous. So ruled this out. The sales executive also did not seem eager to take my contact details. I think he already had lots of customers. I also visited Metro Ford on St. Marks road where the dealer offered me a test drive immediately. However, I backed off fearing the heavy traffic.
  • VW Polo GT-TSi - A seven speed dual clutch transmission in a hatchback!!. I was thrilled to know the power and torque this small car can generate. But I felt that the driver and passenger seats have low head room. Again waiting period was 6 months which was too long for me. I wanted a car as soon as possible.

So how did I conclude on the duster?
Very close to the Volkswagen showroom is the Whitefield Renault showroom and I decided to just have a look at the cars they sold. I was not interested in the Pulse and I did not want to buy a Sedan. I entered the showroom and there was the Duster. I had seen several Dusters on the road but never had I really cared to notice. What a beauty it was. I was really impressed by its looks. My wife too loved the Duster and she told me that "I want to see you drive this car". The dealer told me that they had stock and delivery could be done in 10 days. I was very happy hearing this. Next came the discussion about the on-road prices.

Options available -
  • RxZ/RxL 85PS/110PS Diesel - Expensive. The sales executive told me that the clutch would be rather heavy and that wife might not enjoy driving it.
  • Diesel RxE - Basic safety features missing
  • Petrol RxE - Basic safety features missing
  • Petrol RxL - This exactly fit the bill. I thought I could manage the cost though I would need to go back home and work it out. A drawback would be lower mileage but I was ready to live with that since I would be making long trips once in couple of months and at other times it would be city driving. So it would take quite a while to break even. The price difference and the hard clutch was not worth it.

Test drive experience
I got a test drive on a Sunday morning after waiting for a couple of days as the petrol vehicle was not available. I shed all my inhibitions of driving a large car and took the TD on the Outer ring road for a while. I loved the easy drive, the high ground clearance and commanding view from the driver's seat. The entire experience was extremely smooth. Coming from the Zen, I felt the pedals were placed very close to each other and gear shifts felt different but I was okay with it as I knew it was just about getting used to the new car.

Booking
After the test drive, I was satisfied with the Duster and decided to buy it. Some of you might be thinking that just one test drive of one car sealed the deal?

The petrol version would set me back by 10.7 lakhs. I was provided Free Insurance along with 2 years standard warranty + 2 years extended warranty for free. I made an advance payment of Rs. 10000. I took finance from SBI which was an easy process and they released 7.7 lakhs while I made a down payment of 3 lakhs.

Delivery
In 10 days time on 30th Sept. 2014 we got delivery of our car. While checking the documents I realised that the RTO folks have misspelt my name. It was really frustrating to see this as I thought now I will need to go through an ordeal to get this fixed. The sales executive Kiran Kumar told me not to worry and that once the RC book gets delivered home, to come back to them with it and they would have it fixed through the RTO. I was somewhat satisfied hearing this. Finally our car was ready to be driven out on the road. I was handed over the keys, a bouquet, box of chocolates and a ganesha idol. A photo of us with the car was taken. I started the car and I was so tense driving back home in the heavy traffic. But we got there safe and sound and the car was still exactly like it was in the showroom.

In hindsight, I feel I should I have first checked and selected a car in the yard and done a detailed PDI but back then I was a noob at this.

And the new car has arrived
The same night we decide to go on a drive along NH4. Coming from a Zen, the high ground clearance and the commanding view it gave felt so good. I drove a bit beyond Hoskote and decided to return. On the way a policeman stopped us seeing no number plate I told them that it was registered already and that today was the 1st day. They asked me to go and did not check the documents. Two days later that the number plate was fixed.

Specifications

Engine
  • 1598cc K4M petrol engine
  • 104PS max power
  • 145Nm max torque

The diesel engine gets badging. Not sure why this engine does not. Without a badge, looks like unbranded stuff
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125309.jpg

My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125406.jpg

My opinion on this engine

Pros
+ Silent (at city speeds) - slight clatter on startup. Spins at around 900rpm and then settles into 600rpm.
+ Good power and pickup
+ Great to drive in the city: Doesn't need too many gear shifts in heavy traffic. Can easily chug along in 2nd gear at very slow speeds. At times it can pull through even in 3rd gear at speeds as low as 15-20kmph without lugging.

Cons
- Not really inspiring
- Extremely Noisy at higher speeds. It spins at about 4000rpm on 120-130kmph speeds.
- Low mileage in city and highways. Currently it is about 9.2kmpl for the last ~340kms of city driving. I get a max of 14kmpl on highway runs with A/C always running

Mileage of only 9.2kmpl
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130117.jpg

Wheels
  • 4+1 Steel wheels
  • 215/65 R16
  • Apollo Apterra - The tyres also come in MRF Wanderer

The front left tyre suffered from a sidewall damage once and needed a complete replacement. Apart from this I have never faced any problems with the tyres.

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Safety
  • Seat belts - Also has a driver seat belt indicator
  • Only front SRP airbags - Supplementary restraint protection. Not sure how this is different from SRS
  • ABS - Anti-lock braking system
  • Brake Assist - Helps to come to a stop quicker in case of emergency braking
  • Engine Immobiliser - Prevents the engine from running unless the correct key is used.

The SRP airbag
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_124925.jpg

The seat belt warning indicator
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130019.jpg

Transmission
  • 5-speed manual
  • Very smooth and nice to use
  • Short 1st gear

I have sometimes faced some problems downshifting from 2nd to 1st gear. It won't slot into 1st neatly if the car is moving. This might be due to the really short 1st gear. These days I try to use 1st gear only when starting off. Otherwise its always 2nd gear and move it to neutral when bringing it to a complete stop.

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Battery

Standard Exide battery
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125315.jpg

The Interiors

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  • Multi Information display

    Total distance covered
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130056.jpg

    Distance since last trip meter reset
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130103.jpg

    Fuel consumed since last trip meter reset
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130110.jpg

    Mileage since last trip meter reset
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    Distance to empty. Note: When the fuel is in reserve, the indicator comes up. However, after a while the "distance to empty" is not seen anymore. This has given me a panic attack more than once
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130124.jpg

    Average speed since last trip meter reset
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130132.jpg

    Press the button with the 3 dots to change the display
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  • Music system
    The music system in the Duster is basic but good. It can play through DVDs, radio, AUX, bluetooth and USB. We can make and receive calls through bluetooth as well. Calls can be received and disconnected from 2 push buttons behind the steering. Music can be muted by another button behind the steering. I found this quite convenient as compared to being mounted on the steering.

    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_124956.jpg

  • Air conditioner
    The A/C is manual. Knobs are provided to control temperature and fan speed. There is a switch below the knob controlling fan speed that can be swung to the left for circulation mode and to the right for fresh air mode. The A/C performs well even in really hot conditions. When taking out the car from open parking in summers, keep the fan running at 3 or 4 and the car will cool in few minutes. I still prefer parking in the basement at office. The service adviser at Whitefield Renault told me to keep de-dusting the engine bay to keep the A/C functioning better.

    The A/C controls
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  • Pedals
    The pedals are located too close to each other and there is no deal pedal either. There is an ugly looking knob to position the headlights.

    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125032.jpg

    This needs to be lifted to open the bonnet. Very uncomfortable.
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125054.jpg

  • Glove box
    The glove box is large. It has a lamp which comes on only if the headlights are switched on. It has a separate section to neatly keep the user manual.

    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125618.jpg

  • A joystick to adjust mirrors? Seriously Renault? And where do they place it? Below the handbrake

    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_130317.jpg

  • Other interiors

    Front seats. The driver seat is torn slightly in the middle. This happened after about 1.5 years.
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    The rear seat. This can quite comfortably take 3 adults of average built. I have driven 3 adults in the backseat comfortably to Hyderabad and back.
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    The really large boot space
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125143.jpg

    The handbrake and bottle holder
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125638.jpg


    The puncture repair kit neatly placed in this compartment in the boot. I really like this idea.
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    The button to roll up/down the rear passenger seat is placed at a bad position. I hope Renault has moved it elsewhere in the 2016 duster. Passengers tend to roll it down when resting their hands here. I usually end up turning on child lock.
    My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125123.jpg

The Exteriors

Headlights - The stock headlights aren't very good. i have not gone for an upgrade thought. The Elite i20 has better headlights
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125436.jpg

The spare-tyre is mounted below the boot - There is a screw in the boot that has to be loosened which will bring the spare tyre down after which it can be removed and fitted. Tip the air guy extra as there is some extra work involved to fill air in this tyre.

The spare-tyre.
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125156.jpg

Front view
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125244.jpg

Provided for car towing I guess. Also the rear parking sensor can be seen
My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!-20170114_125206.jpg


Car service
All the three free services of the car are completed. They are done at 2 month(1000km), 1 year(10000km) and finally at 2 year(20000km) completion. The Whitefield Renault staff is competent and do a good job overall. However, the interior cleaning is something I am unsatisfied with every time.

Some important points
  • City driving
    This car is wonderful to drive in the city. With the crazy traffic we see on Indian roads along with the humps and potholes, the Duster doesn't really see these as problems. Humps and potholes are dismissed with impunity. The adequate 205mm ground clearance ensures that the underbelly is never scraped. The suspension then ensures that the occupants don't feel the pothole/hump. Bumper-to-bumper traffic can be managed very easily with the really light clutch and the infrequent gear shifts. Th first gear is only needed when starting the car or negotiating a really large hump since we need to slowdown to almost zero speeds. We can potter along at almost zero speeds in second gear. I never feel tired driving this car in heavy traffic. The engine runs very silent in city driving conditions. The Duster's petrol engine is not turbo-charged. Hence, there is no question of the annoying turbo lag. Another feather in the cap of the Duster is a small turning radius of only 5.2m which makes it very small car like to drive in the city.

  • Highway driving
    Lets be honest. This petrol engine is NO highway scorcher. It is best suited for driving in the city. However, on the highways it will definitely not leave you overly disappointed. You can cruise along all day at speeds of 80-90kmph. It operates at about 3000rpm at these speeds. Going faster makes the engine stressed. It is not very comforting in the cabin either thanks to the engine noise creeping in. At speeds of 130-140kmph, the engine runs at an uncomfortable 4500rpm. You will see the mileage plummet to about 10.5-11kmpl. There is good enough acceleration for quick overtaking on single carriageways. It won't make you nervous. Just leave a decent gap between you and the vehicle in front, shift to 3rd gear and accelerate. At speeds above 100kmph, there is excessive wind noise as well. Not a very good job done to control wind noise.

  • Gearshift and clutch
    The Duster petrol has a 5-speed manual configuration with a short throw. The clutch is very light and the gearshifts are smooth. I face problems sometimes shifting to 1st gear when moving at 5-10kmph. This might be due to the really short 1st gear. This car is best driven around at slow speeds( <20kmph) in 2nd gear with 1st gear needed only when starting off. Downshifting from 3rd gear is not needed for speeds >= 20kmph. Any lesser than that and you are lugging the engine.

  • NVH levels
    This car has below average noise control levels. I really hope a lot has been done to fix it in future versions. When I complained about this during car service, the service adviser redid the beading and told me that this is all he can do and that there is nothing else that can be done. The engine feels totally stressed out and gets really noisy beyond 100kmph. It spins at 4000rpm at speeds of 120-130kmph. The engine noise creeps into the cabin and it can get very loud inside. There is also a lot of wind noise at these speeds. The two together complement each other making it really uncomfortable in the cabin. Drive this car at less than 100-110kmph for a good experience.

  • Fuel efficiency
    Fuel efficiency is definitely not a strong point of this car. But expecting good FE from a heavy car running on a petrol engine is expecting a little too much. At this point, with only city driving for the last 500-600kms I see an FE of ~9.5kmpl (A/C always ON) which is quite poor. On the highways, I usually get a mileage of ~13kmpl (A/C always ON). I have seen it reach 17kmpl on a night trip to the bangalore airport which was fantastic I thought.

  • Steering
    This is a hydraulic power steering. The steering is light making city driving easy.
    One important point to note here is that never turn the steering without any wheel movement. This makes a strange kind of noise. When I enquired about this I was told always turn the steering with some accelerator input to make the wheels move. Not doing this puts tremendous pressure on the hydraulic pump and can damage it in the long run. This is due to the larger tyres.

  • Suspension & ride quality
    Enough is said already of this brilliant ride quality of the duster. If not anything else, buy the duster for the outstanding ride quality on the pathetic roads of India. It flattens bad roads as good as high-end SUVs if not better. The potholes and broken roads are dismissed with complete impunity leaving other cars on the road behind in the dust. You will never feel any need to slow down on bad roads. As a matter of fact, you shouldn't slow down. The suspension ensures that no one inside feels any thuds of the potholes.

  • Braking
    The braking capability is very good in this car. Not once have a felt nervous. The Duster comes equipped with ABS and Brake Assist. The emergency braking is good and the car maintains composure. During hard braking, I have felt a vibration through the brake pedal. This might be probably ABS kicking in. A few times I have also felt a vibration in the pedal while braking at speeds when entering broken roads.

  • Tyres
    My car came with Apollo Apterra HL 215/65 R16 tyres. The tyres are adequate and have performed well. One of the tyres had a sidewall damage and I had to replace it. The tyres still look to be in good condition. I maintain a tyre pressure of 30psi for all the tyres.

Summary

What I liked
+ High ground clearance and excellent suspension -> The Duster just dismisses bad roads, potholes and humps. This is the USP of the product for sure.
+ Great looks -> Flared wheel arches, attractive looking front grill and headlights
+ Driving comfort ->Comfortable drive on the city roads and highways alike. Can take on the hills with ease.
+ Light clutch -> The clutch is light and easy to use. Hence bumper-to-bumper traffic is not a problem
+ Lesser hear shifts -> Does not need shifting to 1st gear unless on a really large hump
+ Huge boot space -> The space in the trunk is extra large. It can accommodate several bags easily. The spare tyre mounted below adds more space.
+ A/C -> The A/C cools quickly and is adequate

What I did not like
- Ridiculous positioning of the joystick (below the hand brake) to adjust the external rear view mirrors
- Wind noise very prominent in the cabin above speeds of 90kmph even with the A/c running and windows rolled up.
- Engine is not noisy at city speeds but gets noisy above speeds of 100kmph and is obvious in the cabin
- No automatic climate control which is there in most cars today
- No automatic closing of ORVMs
- Doors do not get locked automatically when the car starts moving.
- Lack of a 6th gear
- Engine is not really inspiring
- Poor mileage
- Stock headlamps are not really adequate
- No push button start
- No reach adjustment for steering
- No seat height adjustment
- Poor under thigh support
- The doors seem to be of poor quality and light. Doesn't feel premium when the doors don't close with a nice thud

The brilliant ride quality of this car makes me forget all the small negatives the car brings along with it. It is a loved family member.

Last edited by rohanak1 : 22nd January 2017 at 10:16.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 08:55   #2
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd January 2017, 11:26   #3
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

Very honest view and review of a fantastic car ! Wish you munch many more miles of the car to its fullest capability.

While I really enjoyed reading the review, I felt that the car should have got washed before taking photographs! (Sorry for mentioning this point, but I could not resist from writing)

It would have enhanced the review !
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Old 23rd January 2017, 11:54   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkveda View Post
I felt that the car should have got washed before taking photographs! (Sorry for mentioning this point, but I could not resist from writing)

It would have enhanced the review !
Valid point!! It was a sudden decision to write the review and then I couldn't wait until I had the car cleaned from inside
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Old 23rd January 2017, 14:40   #5
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Very well written review. I feel you should consider upgrading those tyres to better ones. You will be happy to see an improved overall behaviour and road noise ( thus NVH).
Agree to the point you mentioned about doors seeming weak, specially the rear doors. They almost thud like that of a Santro.
I was surprised to know that the Duster uses hydraulic power steering unlike its competitors.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:01   #6
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

Congrats on the petrol Duster, as you said not many in the forums. Does it have a passenger side airbag? When i was considering it remember not going for it because it didnt have a passenger airbag in the top end petrol.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:08   #7
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

Very nice review and thank you for contributing a clear, concise and comprehensive ownership review of a rather rare car!

Lack of low-end torque and higher cost/km is what usually turns off people from perfectly sound petrol variants of popular cars in this country. Your experience seems to confirm this.

How's the service experience with Renault been? At 26,000 km you must have surely finished 2-3 services.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:25   #8
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

Great review of a not-so popular variant of a popular car. Keep this car for as long as possible as I feel the resale value isn't going to be great.

It is time manufacturers start investing in Turbo-petrols and Hybrids to attract more customers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Lack of low-end torque ....
His review seems to indicate that there's sufficient low-end grunt. We do have petrol engines with good low-end torque in our market.

My uncle was surprised the Ciaz ZXi felt better to drive than the ZDi
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:24   #9
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Thanks for compiling a nice ownership review on Duster Petrol! Very rare to see on forum.
I own a 2016 Duster Diesel ( 85 PS RXZ ). Just been about 2 months & 2000 KM. Brilliant car! Interiors are improved compared to previous generation Duster & lot of features are also added in facelift. Overall, enjoying every single moment of driving the beast & totally happy with the decision
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:34   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aabhimanyu04 View Post
I feel you should consider upgrading those tyres to better ones. You will be happy to see an improved overall behaviour and road noise ( thus NVH).
Not so soon I guess. May be I might think after about 35000km. I don't know why my car came with Apollo tyres while almost all Dusters have MRF wanderer tyres. Probably I should have traded these tyres on the first day for Michelin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanScorpio View Post
Does it have a passenger side airbag
Yes it does have a passenger air-bag. Probably was updated by the time I purchased it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
How's the service experience with Renault been? At 26,000 km you must have surely finished 2-3 services.
I have completed all the 3 free services. Nothing extra-ordinary about the service. Nothing really bad either. But the interior cleaning is usually not upto the mark. About another point you raised, about the high cost/km, this is definitely true. However, I saved about 2L upfront and for 10000km a year I think this is a decent saving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
Keep this car for as long as possible as I feel the resale value isn't going to be great. His review seems to indicate that there's sufficient low-end grunt. We do have petrol engines with good low-end torque in our market.
Yes the resale value won't be good with the low mileage. No one wants petrol SUVs except may be the AMGs
I am not really savvy about torque and power. However, I guess good low-end torque contributes to great city driving. So yes, the drive within the city is excellent. The car loses steam beyond 110kmph on the highway. It pulls to about 140kmph with lot of puffing and panting and gets nervously noisy.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAHS View Post
I own a 2016 Duster Diesel ( 85 PS RXZ ). Just been about 2 months & 2000 KM. Brilliant car! Interiors are improved compared to previous generation Duster & lot of features are also added in facelift.
Yes the interiors have improved considerably in the 2016 version. How are the stock headlamps? Are they good enough? My Duster doesn't have very good headlamps.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohanak1 View Post
Yes the interiors have improved considerably in the 2016 version. How are the stock headlamps? Are they good enough? My Duster doesn't have very good headlamps.
Stock headlamps are not great on highway drives. It's fine for city drives. So upgrade is in pipeline soon! Might go with Osram night breaker.
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Old 24th January 2017, 09:10   #13
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Great review rohanak1. Its good to see a review of such a rare vehicle. This honest review would definetely help people when they think of buying a petrol Duster !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohanak1 View Post
  • A joystick to adjust mirrors? Seriously Renault? And where do they place it? Below the handbrake

    Attachment 1595269
Contrary to popular belief, I find this position of mirror adjusters just fine primarily because of two reasons

a. ORVMs are not something that are adjusted everyday. My car is only driven by me & the ORVM positions once set are not changed for a long time. I don't remember when I changes the ORVM position last. Also, they are safely tucked under the handbrake to avoid any accidental fiddling.

b. I can set the ORVMs without leaning forward or sideways. I can get into my driving position and change it in one go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RAHS View Post
Stock headlamps are not great on highway drives. It's fine for city drives. So upgrade is in pipeline soon! Might go with Osram night breaker.
Osram NBU's are great. I have been using them for more than a year now. The change in light throw is substantial.

Regards,

Pawan
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Old 24th January 2017, 09:26   #14
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

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Originally Posted by rohanak1 View Post
Yes it does have a passenger air-bag. Probably was updated by the time I purchased it.
I checked out the Duster in June 2016, guess they deleted it by then, checked with the Duster Dealer he said it was only available in Diesel. It was a shocker for me and my wife, immediately went to the Ford dealer down the road and booked a Ecosport Petrol AT and got the delivery within a week.
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Old 24th January 2017, 17:26   #15
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Default Re: My Renault Duster Petrol - One of a kind!

A honest and very good review. when I was scouting for a better car after my Manza, I thought of Nissan Terrano and Duster. But duster was uninspiring from inside. Terrano was good but lacked good amount of features. I waited for Creta and booked it when launched. The difference is 6th gear and an extra kmpl of mileage.

100 in creta comes @ 2500RPM because of 6th. Also I changed to Synthetic and started using K&N, that substantially helped to get a better mileage of 10.9 (approx) in city and 16 on the highways (I maintain speeds between 90 and 120 (mostly ambling here)).
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