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Old 18th August 2019, 00:54   #1
Tgo
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Default Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

To begin this ownership thread we need to pick it up from the following post.

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Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
So, I thought its about time I put up a picture of the new ride.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-0.jpeg
The sojourner. Pushkar, December 2011.

The Verna was a really good car. It was a first from Hyundai which made Maruti’s to VW's line-up look drab and under equipped. The sweet engine and the unique gizmos were quite nice to have but their novelty wore out. My dad (the primary user) never connected with the car. The low seating position, the claustrophobic rear seats and the bouncy ride didn’t make it last long in the garage. With just a tad over a year and 18,000 km of use, it was sold off as soon as other events unfolded.

It started with the venture into the unknown, much like with the Qualis, being a first of its kind launch in India from a foreign manufacturer. At the time, Renault had the Koleos and the Fluence as a CBU and Pulse (a rebadged Nissan) in their line-up with the Scala to launch soon. The Duster was going to introduce the affordable crossover SUV market in India and was to be manufactured here too. The XUV 500 was the only competitor in the market and its persistent niggles with the engine and electronics didn't deem it fit as an option. It was also priced higher and was not in line with our 'want of a 5-seater' decision. I was eagerly awaiting the Duster’s official review as much as my dad was planning to get rid of the Verna.

In the second week of July 2012, I visited the Renault showroom in Mangalore where there was a big queue and a wait till 7:30PM for a test drive. I only got to sit in the back while an equally enthusiastic and well experienced customer looking to replace his Xylo, took the driver’s seat. That, I must say, was the most fun I had in a test drive ever. As we took off towards Kottara flyover, heading south on NH 66, I had my eyes fixed on the gauges where the needles looked pumped up on adrenaline. The push in the seat was not as thrilling as the Verna, but that was IT. The whole thing felt like a vessel and not like a tin can on nitrous. The guy cuts lanes like the Dhom inspired bikers, it felt wrong, but alright. A quick flick of the indicator stalk and we get off the NH to make a U-turn at Kuntikan Junction. Into the broken service lane, at a decent pace, I didn’t feel the bumps which I used to avoid even on my bike. They were there but we drove over them comfortably. Merge back onto the highway and we begin the return dash. The cabin felt silent. The headlamps had a wonderful throw and intensity. The rear seat recline angle was perfect. I heard the man behind the wheel admire the heaviness in the steering and the short throws of the gearbox. Soon we pass Chevrolet (now a Bosch Service Center) and take a U-turn at Kuloor Junction. The brakes impress. Back to the showroom, we all shake hands and I immediately get on the phone to call my dad in Jaipur and insist him to take a test drive the very next day. He called me back a few week later saying that it had been booked.

Booked twice, eventually.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-1.jpg
The two Dusters sharing a garage. Hissar, October 2018

From that period in the second half of 2012 till today, in the coming posts, I have tried to pen down the ownership of the Dusters and the relationship with Renault India.
Disclaimer: I have driven very few cars. The ones that I drove quite a lot are Qualis, Santro, i10, Verna and Figo (old-petrol). The ones I have driven briefly are Scorpio 2.6, Cruze AT, Figo (old-diesel), Ciaz (old-diesel), Brezza, Swift (petrol), Wagon-R, Brio AT and Fortuner AT. This is a long thread and I have tried to cover the ownership part rather than getting too technical and comparing the Dusters with their competitors in the Indian context.

Last edited by Tgo : 25th August 2019 at 14:23.
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Old 18th August 2019, 01:16   #2
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Default Two Dusters sharing a garage - The White One

Nov 2012 | 110PS | RXZ(O) | 2WD

The harbinger of good times. Sambhar 2012

All that I like

• An all rounder with practicality par excellence.
• Comfortable ride well settled at high speeds too.
• Ingress and egress. The seat base height hits the sweet spot.
• Good amount of steering feedback helps relay the terrain condition to the driver.
• Frugal engine which is enjoyable at highway speeds.

All that I dislike

• Poor AC cooling.
• Poorly matched first 3 gear ratios.
• Compromised rear legroom.
• Durability and life of wearing parts is inconsistent.
• Expensive spares compared to the segment of the vehicle.
• Many Gen-1 (Borneo-1 Engine) specific parts. Will be hard to source in the future.

In November 2012 we took delivery of the car from Renault Jaipur. I remember being stuck in Mangalore and waiting eagerly to get back home for the year-end break. A trip to Deogarh had been planned and I was keen to get behind the wheel. I remember the parents pulling up in the airport pick-up lane and having felt a great deal of joy seeing this one of a kind thing. The planned trip went well. I was quite amazed by the maneuverability it had to offer in the tight village lanes and how the visible bonnet acted as a visual aid. Seeing a range of 770 km on a tank-up was commonplace. Loved the comfort in which 3 people could sit in the back with a bit of wiggle room to spare. The leg-space was mediocre but not dis-comfortingly so. Since then on, I found my dad going for some trip the other on the drop of the hat. The first long trip was a 13 day road trip along the coast in Gujarat. Being away from home I liked getting updates over the phone. In the summer of 2013 we traveled to Dehradun to drop off my brother to IMA. One trunk full of his stuff had nicely fit in the boot with the luggage of the other 4 passengers.


Resting in a cozy corner. Dehradun, July 2013

It was during these long trips that some of the issues became more evident. The creaking from the doors and the humming from the tyres became unnoticeably irritating. We had to deal with Renault quite sternly for these issues but the overall ownership experience was mostly positive. November came and the car had clocked 25,000 km in one year. The 10,000 km service interval came as a boon for my dad who was accustomed to the 5,000 km service interval of the Qualis. Costs were reasonable till then. December 2013 came by quickly with a long trip to Udaipur in tow. On the way back we took a little detour to Sambhar Lake for flamingo sighting. Driving on the lakebed was a different experience altogether with a caution taken to not cross into the moist sections. That setting provided a picturesque backdrop for my favourite picture of the Duster (the opening picture of this post). For the wildlife and outdoor lover this car proved to be the perfect match. Its readiness to venture out into the wild (akin to off-road) complemented my dad’s hobby. Everything about it matched the eagerness for travel he has in him.

The next year had bigger plans unfold as it had to change station to Gujrat. My dad had been posted there. The distances seemed far, there were connectivity issues with trains between Jaipur and Gandhidham. After a few initial trips, we often heard of 9-10 hour journey times to cover the 900 odd kms. Others could only relate to the soreness from traveling such a long distances. However, I would be grinning at my dad jokingly, taking his case for the speeds he must have been doing and thoroughly enjoying those long drives. He always says its only because of two things. 1st is the car and 2nd is the timely maintenance. I have seen him follow the maintenance schedules more strictly than the utility bill payments. Conversations used to go like this...

Me: The tyres have 1 mm to go till the tread wear indicator show up
Dad: Forget it, they’ve done 40,000 kms. I’m getting them changed.

ASC: Sir there is 3,000 km life left in the pads.
Dad: Change them now, I don’t want to be calling you from the side of the road.

People: Why Renault? It has not run well in India.
Dad: We’ll make it run.
People: Why not an XUV?
Dad: I like a car which has its basics sorted out.

That year the Duster became an international traveler. Dad and a few of his birder friends went to Bardia National Park in Nepal. It was so enjoyable to drive that the return trip was a 18 hour dash from Nepalgunj to Jaipur. This trials of sort was the highlight after which the bond with the car had become rock solid. In December 2014 we went again to Dehradun for my brother’s passing out from the IMA. So this Duster brought a cadet to the academy and ferried back an officer back home, within the first two years of ownership.

Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-ddn2.jpg
Everyone needs a fill-up. En-route to Dehradun, December 2014.

The coming year the Duster had settled-in nicely in Gujarat. Dad was alternating between the train and the car for his monthly visits back home. However, work related travel had picked up to 120 km per day. The lovely roads of Gujarat begged my dad to explore the place even more. Local trips with family and friends were a weekly affair. mangoes and dates, snacks and pickles, savouries and souvenirs or folk art work, the Duster took on the carriage duties impressively.

Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-wp_20151226_13_13_48_pro.jpg
Salt-pan or Blacktop, just another lane for me. Bhuj-Mandvi Highway, December 2015

In December 2015 we had the annual winter trip planned in Gujarat. This time it was the smallest gathering of five. A crammed up yet exciting trip was planned with close to 1800 Km to be covered in 5 days. This was my first trip to the State and we visited the grasslands of Velavadar moving on to Bhavnagar and later Zainabad. Off-roaded across the little rann from Zainabad to Palansva to the ruins of Dholavira onto the Rann of Kutch festival, Rudrani, Mandavi, Gandhidham and back to Ahmedabad. I was pretty impressed by its composure both on and off road. Switching from on-road to off-road and back was seamless. We would be doing triple digit speeds even before one could see the dust settle in the rear view mirror.

The coming year was business as usual, apart from a month’s rest in September owing to overseas travel. In October 2016 there was a Change of Guard of sorts. My dad and I exchanged the cars for a yesr. I was relayed the baton with 92,xxx km on the ODO. That was when I truly got to experience the 1st Gen car and its quirks. I realized how moch more fun to drive it was. There was lag and coupled with the poor gearing of the first two gears it felt slow from the get go. But in the turbo zone, this one surged ahead with more determination than the new gen cars, Also the seats were plusher which was great. Compared to my car the headlamps seemed more effective. The additional boot space was welcome. December 2016 rolled by and I was having fun with it getting accustomed to the different engine tune, gearing and suspension setup.

Early next year I took it to Sheopur, MP to visit our relatives living there. This was a memorable trip since it was to a small hamlet in the heart of MP and on roads that had not been charted by me before. We visited the Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary where the boot doubled up as a seating for two. This two day trip was the beginning. Work related travel and the usual home coming runs kept the odo clicking steadily. Later in July, we traveled to Dehradun (for the third time) to visit our relatives there. Started early from Delhi, 3:30 AM and reached in time for breakfast. We trekked up to George Everest Bungalow during a day trip to Mussoorie making this the highlight of the trip. On the way back the boot had a decommissioned medium frame mountain bike, 10 kgs of farm fresh Lychees in addition to the luggage we took with us.

Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-ddn3.jpg
Fresh back from the goat's neighborhood, the bug doesn't know it has already bitten me. Dehradun, July 2017

Later that year there were a few social gatherings in the family, attending which made the ODO cross 1,20,000 km by the end of December 2017. This was a special occasion for me since I had never seen the odo roll over the hundred thousand kilometers in any of the cars we owned previously. With this one I got to do it let alone see it and then some. My dad and I also exchanged the cars since he was back home in Jaipur and was busy with the construction at his new house.

In 2018, the Duster went back to Jaipur but only for a short while. We exchanged the cars again in May as my car needed major work and required to be in Jaipur at my trusted ASC. This Duster suffered an AC compressor failure for which we had to send the car to Jaipur hence another exchange was on the cards. To put it in effect, in August, we started early one morning from Auraiya and my parents from Jaipur and met mid way for the exchange at Bharatpur. ... difficult to keep track? It is for us too since the Numbers are similar. Its easier to refer to them by the colour and even that was going to be the same, initially. You can imagine the drama keeping track of service schedules, insurance renewals, PUC checks and the keys. We’ve faced it all. But The car in question here, the white one, was back in Jaipur and after the compressor replacement was functional again. Dad settled into his routine after an early retirement and the Duster was clicking 80 km daily, golf in the morning, construction site after breakfast, back home for lunch and a second visit to the construction site in the evening. Plants, milk cans, farm produce, labour, tools and hardware everything possible was being hauled from across the town to this rural site which is soon to be the Dusters and its owners’ new home. Not to mention, the trips kept coming its way within Rajasthan now. By the end of December 2018 the Odo was reading 1,48,000 km completing just over 6 years of ownership.

This year too, the miles are being clocked at a steady pace. A journey of 2-3 thousand kms are childs play and require just a few precautionary checks of the tyres and fluids. The age is starting to show in places like the paint chips on the body, lost mud-flaps, worn out seat upholstery, rock chips on the windscreen, dulled down headlamps and a funny drone from the underbody which seems like a loose engine guard. I think of them as battle scars. On the drivetrain front there are no issues, its even running on the factory clutch till now. Mounts and bushes might need a change along with the shock absorbers but that needs further investigation. There is no way I am going to pay the Renault tax for these parts if I can help it. The hunt for a good FNG as begun as the required part suppliers are being identified.

Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-img1386.jpg
On the rare occasion it looks clean.

This Duster has always been serviced at the Renault ASC, whether it be in RJ, GJ, UP or DL and it shows. People sit in the car and are surprised to see the Odo reading. The premise behind sticking to the ASC was that FNGs open 10 nuts and reinstall only 9. That is the case for the parts you can see are missing, what happens to the ones you cannot. And gradually you stop caring about it either just because you save big on cash. At least this way there is some semblance of accountability. They have a stock of the smallest of the plastic clips and washers which for your car. With the service manuals and knowledge about parts through online resources, I now feel more confident into venturing into the FNG world. Today, the Odo reads 1,70,000 and the rig is ready for whatever you plan to do with it. It has never let its occupants stranded anywhere in these years and still has the grunt to cross the next milestone eventually.


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Thoughts on the..

Engine - Very adequate for the vehicle and the kind of driving required from it. Gives it a decent 90 bhp and 206 NM per ton, which I think is very versatile for Indian driving conditions. The engine is dated now specially in this Borneo-1 spec since its a bit less responsive and sounds more gruff. New oil and filters makes it happy and peppy. Have stuck to mineral oil since I conform to the recommended 10,000 km service interval. The engine does this very peculiar thing when one lets go of the throttle. Its a part of the anti stall feature most probably and can only be described as the tacho needle breaking its free fall back to to idle revs. I'm sure many owners can relate to this audible and visible trait.
Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
EDIT: The figures are even better in their proper tests: 0-100 in 11.88secs making it faster than even XUV and Fortuner and in the same league as Yeti 110. Yeti 140 is a sec faster.
Gearbox - Is sure slotting with a smooth slotting action. The shifts have a short-ish throw. The clutch is really hard even after a clutch pedal spring update done proactively by Renault. It has a higher bite point (or it has shifted, i cannot be sure). I hate the 1st and 2nd gear ratios. 1st is short and the second is too far away. This was catered to in the AWD models and I wish they used the same gears for the 2wd models too.

Suspension - This was the first SUV which made me feel like I am sitting in between the wheels and not on top of them. The wider track helps in keeping the vehicle planted and gives it that mature finesse other crossovers lack in. It does feel front heavy and you can feel the weight shift when you load it up with passengers or luggage. It feels more planted when its full. The suspension has held up well with only minor seepage showing up now.

Brakes - Have good feedback. Despite their smaller size, they feel adequate in every condition. Another point to mention is that this whole car talks to the driver. I have felt loss in braking effectiveness if the tyres are on the way out or even if the tyre pressure is off. I guess all cars do it but this makes it feel more noticeable. On an average the brake rotors require a change every 40-50,000 kms and the pads around 30-40,000 kms.

Tyres - three different brands have been tried and I think its going to be Michelin for the foreseeable future. MRF were the worst especially due to the uneven tyre wear noticed as early as 25,000 km. Apollos were good when new but towards the end they made the steering very heavy. Again the car has great feedback, the steering weight changes when new tyres are installed so much so different brand of tyres have had different steering feedback. The Michelins provide the best overall performance and I also noticed least amount of deterioration in the ride quality over time. They are also the quietest of the lot. Average life of a set of tyres is between 40-55,000 km
.
Controls - The control stalks have the European layout and are very basic. The clicks sound very crude these days as they are reminiscent of older times. The window switches have a spongy feel to them. Similarly the parking sensor switch has no clicking action. The placement of the AC controls is very low. The Air flow direction switch is very stiff and problematic.

Comfort - Space is adequate for five regular sized adults. Seats are supportive but the bolstering is not. They also lack in the rigidity of the frame and rails due to which the seats keep rocking back and forth. Adjustable seatbelt height feature is a good one which almost everyone in the segment skimps on. Rear seat passengers have only one complaint and that is forward visibility. The seat back has the perfect recline angle for my liking. Ingress an egress is great as one can slide in and out easily. The seats are just a little below hip level especially helpful for the elderly. That said, the leg room could have been better and the hump on the floor flatter to free up some more room.

AC - This has had a change of character after replacement of the compressor. The older set-up felt grossly inadequate while the new one has never felt so. The rear ac vents have a functional cooling coil and is handy in cooling the cabin faster.

Versitality - The space on offer in the boot is ample. The only complaint being that there is no place to store the rear parcel shelf within the car. The jack and tools have their own concealed compartment in the boot. The other one on the left works well to hold the tyre inflator, puncture kit and cleaning miscellany. The front door pockets can hold two 1L bottles each. The cup-holders are too low and have never been used due to the 'no food and drinks in the car policy'. The same goes for the well placed but small center armrest cup holders. They hold the ash tray which holds spare change for parking and tolls.Glove box is a bit small but the essentials fit in easily.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-img_0040.jpg
Time for some fun. Palpur-Kuno, February 2017
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Places Visited

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The Duster has been to many places and a Jist has been given below. Many places have been missed out or cannot be recalled at this time. Some of the places jotted down have been visited multiple times as well.

RJ – Jaipur, Dholpur, Alwar, Udaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Bundi, Kota, Hanumangarh, Anupgarh, Suratgarh, Bharatpur, Ajmer, Deogarh, Kishangarh, Karauli, Boondi, Bishangarh
GJ – Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Alang, Surat, Gandhidham, Mundra, Zainabad, Bhavnagar, Zainabad, Rudrani, Lakhpat, Morbi, Bhuj, Mandvi, Dhordo, Dholavira, Palanpur, Jessore
MP – Gwalior, Sheopur, Datia, Bhind, Morena
NCR – Gaziabad, Noida, Delhi, Gurgaon
UP – Etawah, Agra, Kanpur, Auraiya
HR – Chandigarh, Sirsa, Hissar,
UK – Dehradun, Mussoorie
DD – Daman and Diu
PB – Abohar, Amritsar

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Non-routine Maintenance

Door Creaking - This was an issue with the early Dusters. Tactics used for solving this problem began with a slimy spray on the weather seals on all doors, then adjustment of the door strikers in the B and C pillars so that the door sits firmly against the weather seal and lastly it was solved by...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
As explained by my dad. They;
Took out the door beading.
Installed a Buffer pad below the beading.
Installed the beading on top of the buffer.
Paint peel off - There was a minor ding from a rickshaw wallah on the rear right door which resulted in a paint peel off For which we got a goodwill repair. The patchy repair done didn’t colour match the rest for the car but it wasn't noticeable enough to bother with.


Stained trim - The door satin silver door handles and the rocker panel garnish had a very see through coat of silver paint which was showing the black plastic beneath. It was also taken up along with the paint peel repair under goodwill.

Humming @ 40-60kmph - This was an issue which was tyre related. It required a thorough investigation. Service center blamed it on uneven tyre pressure leading to uneven tyre wear. We argued why the routine maintenance did not cover wheel alignment in the past three services. They said its not required and asked to file a claim for new tyres with MRF. MRF inspected the tyres and gave a written report stating uneven pressure distribution on the tyre being the cause of the humming sound. The ASC acted upon this report and got the wheel alignment adjusted and reversed the tyres on the rims to even out the wear and eventually provided two new tyres under goodwill. The new set put in at 27k lasted till 70k but the humming came back when the tyres had done close to 15k. The issue finally went away by changing from MRF to Apollos and later to Michelins.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
Have a look at the 25 K run tires on our Duster.
Suspension Bushes - At the 80k service the ASC reported play in the Rear-Left wheel bearing along with a replacement of front suspension bushes. Luckily we were able to wrestle out of the situation through another goodwill replacement since they were reporting one issue every day rather than doing a thorough check in one go. Also it seemed like a tactic to fleece the customer with the 80K extended warranty getting over. I think they said they did a goodwill replacement but I doubt hey changed anything.

Wheel bearings - The first bearing was replaced with the suspension bushes above at 80k, which was the Rear-Left bearing. I was going to be trapped by another ASC in Delhi for the same wheel bearing at 100k but after confirming with the Jaipur ASC I refused the replacement. The second requirement for wheel bearings came in at 144k when the bearing had failed with an audible sound resonating within the cabin. This time two bearings, Front-Left and Rear-Right were replaced.

ORVM Mirror - One which fell and cracked after I nicked a sign board.

Key Fob -
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
Replacement was very straightforward
Turbo Control Solenoid - This was an odd one. During the 120k service I asked for EGR valve cleaning and the EGR pipe was found to be fully choked. On further investigation a few hoses to this valve were found disconnected which were re-connected but did not give the desired results. The car changing hands between me and my dad didn’t help as no one noticed the drop in acceleration. It was replaced without further questions.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-sol-vlv.jpg

AC Drain pipe - At the same 120k service there was a problem with the AC knob for which the ASC suggested a dashboard out inspection. We decided to go for it and he fixed this problem but also proactively replaced the AC drain pipe.

Sump Drain - Soon after the 120k service we started noticing oil stains in the drive way. This is one thing that my dad detests. The ASC said its external damage. The threads in the sump drain port leading to the minor oil leak. We asked them to fix it at any cost since there was no damage to the underbody protection plate which would suggest external damage to the drain plug which sits behind it. Apparently this job is so shoddy that aother Renault ASC noted it down as ‘external repeir work’ on the job card. But, there is no leak now, even after many subsequent oil changes.

AC compressor - One day, while returning from Dholpur to Auraiya. Just before entering Agra, I noticed a drop in the cooling. I stopped to fill up in Agra and checked under the hood, but could not get my head around it. Drove further and there was no cooling at all. Stopped and checked the fuses but everything was found in order. Took it to etawah later and they said that the AC compressor is not running. I asked them to check the clutch relay which was found to be working. Had my doubts whether something was fiddled with in the last service and decided to get it checked at the same ASC in Jaipur. they carried out their diagnostics and said that the compressor has failed. I asked them to replace it with a specific instructions to return the old compressor to me. I got it back after 4 months and many follow ups with the name plate scratched out clean. Really shady practices are imbibed in these ASC folks.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-comp.jpg

Seat squeaking- One of the driver’s seat rail bolts had gotten loose and required tightening which was DIY job for with a T40 torx key on a Sunday which took less than 10 minutes for both front seats.

Headlamp Bulbs - 2 of them. One at 115k and the other more recently at 165k.
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Accident Repairs

Rear-end collision at a traffic light. A distracted young chap in a Santro didn’t brake in time behind us which led to the rear bumper and the tailgate getting banged up. This called for the first insurance claim last year. Good thing - the rear emblem which was nicked long ago by some hooligan was replaced under the same claim. The rear looked neat again after 4 years of it looking naked.

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Plans for the future...

Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-fog.jpg

There won't be a need for both the Dusters doing active duty, so this one will become the farm hand eventually. It will be looked after though but will serve a specific role. The plans for the future have loosely been categorized into 3 stages. Spoiler - It is going to be bone stock as far as the drive-train is concerned. Don't want to mess around with an already finicky engine.

Stage - 1 : Get the basics sorted.
  • Dashcam - As an insurance for unethical fleecing on the hands of the victims in case of a crash in the future.
  • GBX oil, link/bush and knob - I think an oil change wouldn't hurt along with an inspection of the gear lever linkages which might have worn out bushes. The gear lever knob is worn out and needs to be replaced since the leather has worn down to a velvety and slippery substrate.
  • Suspension & Steering Overhaul - On the suspension front the car needs a complete suspension overhaul - 4 shocks and all bushes. The link rods, control arm bushes, and ball joints need a thorough inspection so that the steering is also sorted if required.
  • Indicator stalk replacement - as it has become sticky in its operation.
Stage - 2 : Take on a new role.
  • Van Conversion - My dad is fixated on using this one as a van for the farm. I showed him the Van Conversion Kit available for the European models and something on those lines will be fabricated locally. This is to ensure a safe transportation cage to keep the items secure in while on the move. Lets see how it goes.
Stage - 3 : Look presentable.
  • Seat Covers - The driver seat upholstery material has started peeling off. Its the original cover which came from the factory. Nothing aftermarket added on top of it. i quite like its feel and the non-sticky nature of it compared to other aftermarket faux leather covers. Would try to find the same thin if available or a replacement seat from a scrapyard.
  • Headlamp lens restoration - Since the headlamps have become dull with age and also have some dust inside them due to a missing cover which was found somewhere in the engine bay after being missing for a year.

Last edited by Tgo : 26th August 2019 at 14:04.
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Old 20th August 2019, 16:44   #3
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Default Two Dusters sharing a garage - The Green One

In February 2015, I had a big change on the work front which involved a move from Mangalore, KA to Auraiya, UP. It was closer to home in Jaipur but the connectivity was very poor only one slow train which usually got delayed and getting reservations from the small station it stopped at was impossible throughout the year. I was feeling trapped and a need for a means for transport with flexible timings was grave. It was going to be a car for sure. The Ecosport seemed the right and affordable choice, but they were delaying the launch of its face-lift which even made me consider the Avventura. Day dreamt about ownership with the Avventura for a few days and it didn’t feel right no matter which plots I played in its favour in those dreams. Fiat India’s future was not looking promising and for the price of an Ecosport the practicality was shortchanged.

I was in Jaipur on one of my visits home in May and my dad accompanied me to the bank to enquire about the loan procedure and the documents required. As the officer checked the documents I was eagerly awaiting the final number that he would say I’m eligible for. And it was way above my expectations. Needless to say we agreed to proceed with the loan without having decided on the car, and I heard my dad say, “ How about a Duster again?”. Till that point I never considered it as an option, probably because I was thinking from my head. But listening to that, it felt like a valid suggestion. Called up Renault Jaipur for the OTR pricing and the AWD could be squeezed in. Went back home for lunch and I replaced the Avventura with the Duster AWD in all those plots and replayed the day dreams. It fit in superbly. The deciding factor was the extra boot space, which was a must since it was going to be full of stuff (groceries, winter wear, furniture, plants) whether it would be a to or fro trip home. Having a hatchback would have made spending that money useless. Came back to the bank after lunch, the salesperson met us there. Handed over the booking amount cheque to him and he handed over the receipt to the loan manager. Walked out of the bank with the loan sanctioned without even finalizing the colour. Without even a test drive. Yes, technically I hadn’t driven the AWD (advertised as the new gen Renault Duster). Later, the colour Amazon Green was decided upon for the uniqueness. I think the colour was later later renamed to Outback Bronze (...could be wrong) when the Kwid came out.

June 2015 | 110PS | RXZ | AWD
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Day-1. Kalakh Bandh, Jaipur 2015.

Likes (over the 2WD)

• Perfect gearing which eliminates the turbo lag altogether.
• Independent suspension adds another feedback stream to the driver's senses.
• Better NVH on the outside.
• Ease of access to the air filter.
• Additional driver aids: Hill Hold, ESP, Cruise, Limiter, AWD.

Dislikes (over the 2WD)

• Pathetic cooling.
• No place to store the parcel shelf.
• Repeated part failures raise further questions on quality and durability.
• Firmer seats do not take the form of the body and become uncomfortable on long drives.
• Placement of the (touch based) Medianav unit is too low from an ergonomics standpoint.

The first thing I learnt after owning this car is that I had overspent. I was enjoying it too, but the expenses had to be calculated. A substantial chunk of the monthly income had to be kept aside for the EMIs and travel related expenses. The threads giving financial advice for car buyers and hidden to me till then caught my attention but it was too late. The next best thing to do was to reap returns from your investment. It began slowly. From August till December I had done a few day trips and three runs back and forth between Jaipur and Auraiya. I was getting used to the car. I bought a few essentials - Tyre Inflaror, Wash Mits and Cloths, Wheel Cleaning Brush, Tyre Pressure Gauge and a Puncture Repair Kit and put some of it to use.

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Posing after its first wash. Auraiya, July 2015

I used to religiously maintain the expenses in the Fuelio app for android. I was also exploring and getting used to the routes around Auraiya. Routes that lead to places of interest or places where relatives and friends live. I used to rely heavily on the maps and used to feel like a novice in those days. One of the first memorable drives was a drive from Jaipur to Auraiya via the Karauli-Dholpur-Etawah route. It was a solo drive during the monsoons and I had meticulously put in the way-points in the navigation system to guide me.

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The monsoon drive and proof of having a great time. Karaili-Auraiya, August 2015.

The coming year was a very hectic one. It was the year I was getting married and a number of runs back home and to the in-laws' had to be done in preparation for the functions. A second car at home was such a great asset in those times. From February to May it was a jam packed affair. Wedding shopping, visits to the venues, the decorators, ferrying the guests and being a part of the actual Baraat, this Duster did everything along with its mate. In the mean time it had had its first accident repair and had covered 20,000 kms at a pace of 2000 km per month. The remaining year went by as numerous outstation trips were lined up for buying furniture for the house and to Delhi for work on a few occasions.

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No frills attached. Auraiya, October 2015

My daily commute was limited to 20 km but I was also using the bike intermittently. Graduating from a bike to a car for the daily commute was cumbersome in the beginning. It took a bit longer but was more comfortable. Later on the bike started giving me trouble and it has since been parked requiring a thorough inspection which has been on the cards for the past 3 years now.

In October 2016, my dad and I exchange the cars. This one had covered 33,000 kms till then and had undergone two more body repairs which have all been covered later in this post. Handing over to dad meant it had to go to Gujarat. Over there, he was engrossed into his bird watching hobby. This Duster always had the Camera equipment, Binoculars, a chair and an umbrella in it since his plans would materialize randomly. He would be in Banni one weekend, Zainabad on the other, Jaipur on the next and so on. Even he found the clutch to be nicer, the acceleration subdued but the steering to be nicer. The AWD gave him some extra peace of mind when venturing off the road. On one occasion he drove off the highway into a ditch as he got distracted and missed the sharp bend doing highway speeds. He said it felt like the Duster was going to roll over. It was a severe and unsettling situation which had no effect on the car. It only required a shock absorber replacement and a wheel alignment which was dealt with under warranty. Getting out of the ditch would not have been possible without the AWD system and he drove sheepishly back home in it. By the end of 2016 the Odo stood at 38,000 km.

In January 2017 the year began with the service and a tyre replacement at 40,000 km. Since Renault had opened up an outlet in Gandhidham he no longer had to send the duster to Rajkot for a service. The Duster got a month's rest in April that year as my parents were in Canada visiting a family there and later road tripped for 5 days around Vancouver. On their return the Duster was used more for commuting locally in Gujarat as the train connectivity had been sorted out and became the more convenient choice. The usual 120 km daily run kept the odo ticking steadily. The green car served him in the same capacity as the white one and it had clocked 60,000 kms by the end of December 2017.

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When it got stuck. Badopal, December 2017.

They were getting ready to walk to the nearest road to wait for help since there was poor connectivity. My dad's tenacity made him choose otherwise and he dug around and under the car to get it free. We later realized that the rear differential was acting up. I had also settled the car loan from SBI by transferring it to a service loan offered by my employer. That was a big sigh of relief as I could now spend freely on traveling.

Early in January 2018 we exchanged the cars and I had got the Green one back in my custody. In Lucknow in February and Alwar in March. A few works related trips had just got the momentum built-up but soon it started having problems. I had it checked for the jerky pick-up and drive-train shuddering at the ASC in Jaipur. The did some checking and booked a replacement differential. Had to leave the car at Jaipur with dad to follow-up. They were quite upfront about accepting the problem and did their best to carry out the job as quickly as possible. In July, we drove to Chandigarh from Auraiya, breaking the journey in Delhi for some work. Later, On one of the journeys via Karauli I clicked this picture.

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One from my favourites. Karauli, August 2018

It reminded me of the first solo drive I did via this route two years ago. This time again I was driving solo and the weather was the same as before. It was great to see better roads throughout the course. You might wonder where's the need for an AWD these days? Its part of the package for me. It wasn't a conscious choice but something that amalgamated into this later. The tractable drive-train and the driver aids alone, justify the decision to go for an AWD. The AWD is an added extra which works like insurance. In September we realigned our bearings to head eastward. My parents were visiting me in Auraiya and we had planned to visit Varanasi. Mom had some shopping and temple visits in mind and dad wanted to visit Sarnath. My brother was to join us in Varanasi. And I was more than happy to plan the route and time. We drove the whole leg of 500 kms non-stop. Sometime in the last year I had added the fastTAGs to both the Dusters and they made crossing the toll plazas more convenient. No more loosing the cool air from the cabin which is so precious. In October I got the battery replaced which solver the stereo sound muting and the ESP malfunction lights go for good. Was in Shahjahanpur, UP to celebrate Diwali with a close friend and his family. Back home in December for the annual family get together bringing up 79,000km on the odo.

Back in Auraiya after the annual family meet, the first outing of 2019 for the Duster was to Ayodhya. I had planned to attend a friend's wedding there which was a great excuse to visit this ancient city which would otherwise not warrant a separate visit. or plan was to leave on a Saturday evening and stay in Lucknow for the night. Begin early the next day and reach Ayodhya, visit the landmark temples and the ghat and later attend the wedding and drive back to Lucknow the same day. Return to Auraiya beginning early from Lucknow on Monday. The plan changed on Sunday morning on our way to Ayodhya when my wife was reminded of the very old Parijat Tree begin somewhere in the vicinity of Barabanki district that we would be crossing soon.

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The ancient Baobab tree and another one of its kind experience. Barabanki & Agra Lucknow E-Way, February 2019

This gave us little time to visit the Hanuman Garhi Temple and Ram Janma Bhoomi which were a let down. We later went for a boat ride along the Sarayu Ghat which was very soothing after the temple run in the heat of the day. Attended the wedding functions and had to make an early exit in order to stick to our schedule. As we approached Lucknow late at night we thought it would be best to stretch a bit further and return back to Auraiya the same night. Once on the E-way it was a thrilling drive. The fog was dense and the road had no reflectors to aid the drivers. My wife took the wheel for half of the way. Off the E-way it became more scary as ongoing road work meant we had to be careful of the unmarked diversions in poor visibility conditions due to the fog. And all this is happening on roads where stories of people being looted are commonplace at 1:30 AM and no vehicles on the roads except for dump trucks ferrying stone and gravel for the road work. Eventually we managed o get back home safely.

Soon after in March, plans for a visit to Dudhwa and Katarniyaghat materialized. This was a long trip covering 800 kms across UP. The Duster was packed full of passengers and their luggage. Five of us had a wonderful time. There were 3 drivers among us. Our routes were planned in a way to avoid traffic. Approaching the terai region felt very surreal. The change in topography and vegetation was welcome after synonymizing UP with crowded cities. I wrote my first travelogue on Team-BHP covering this trip. However it calls for this little snippet tobe shared here once again:


Ghaghara Barrage, March 2019

The Duster performed without a hiccup. The fun part was the last few kilometers after Palia where the roads had been battered to death along with the drive from Kheri to Katarniyaghat which was along an irrigation canal on similar roads.

This year was proving to be jam packed for us. April brought about another longer journey in store. This time it was Auraiya - Jaipur - Hanumangarh - Ajmer - Auraiya with close to 2000 kms of travel during the peak of summer. The journey to Hanumangarh was done with a full load in the back. Seats folded, carrying, blankets, room heaters, 10 days of luggage for two and miscellaneous stuff. All it took was 3 tank-fulls. And during this trip I decided that a dash cam is a must. There are some scenic routes which make for some great memories. It was a delight to travel toll free on the state highways in Rajasthan.

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en-route to Hanumangarh, April 2019.

Another trip to the mountains materialized in June. This time time to a small hamlet called Haidakhan in Uttarakhand. The night we reached there was a heavy storm which engulfed the valley we were in. The Duster remained perched in this spot overnight while I was worrying about a tree branch or a light pole falling on it. The low ratio performance was a treat in those steep inclines and the dimensions of the car were not a deterrent to venture into the narrow lanes either. We had planned to visit Jim Corbett in the way back. The resort we were put up at had an approach road which was along a dry river bed. Even the last treacherous mile was traversed in comfort because of the Duster.

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The calm after a storm. Haidakhan, June 2019


As of today, the odo reads 96,000 kms in 4 years and a month of active service. I confess that I have enjoyed owing this car more in its second stint with me and the bond with it grows stronger. Safe to say that the Duster and its owner have both matured with age. People often talk of a vehicle being a depreciating asset. But what does one do if one makes so many memories doing what he likes (driving) along with people who love to travel. I long for outings with the Duster every now and then. The Extended Warranty elapses soon and I am getting paranoid since there is no end to issues that could crop up going by the experiences other owners. However, I leave it to karma.

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Places Visited

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In the last four years it has been to the following places. Many of which have been repeated multiple times. Looking at the list below I feel there is scope to extend the reach to more places further North, East and South. Some day, the epic tour of the country will take shape.

GJ – Gandhidham, Zainabad, Ahmedabad, Palanpur, Rajkot, Banni, Velavadar, Rudrani, Bhavnagar, Kandla, Mundra, Bhuj
RJ – Jaipur, Ajmer, Hanumangarh, Dholpur, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur, Alwar, Sambhar, Sikar, Laxmangarh
UP – Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahbad, Varanasi, Agra, Mathura, Dudhwa, Etawah, Katarniya Ghat, Ayodhya, Shahjahanpur
HR – Palwal, Hissar, Sirsa, Chandigarh, Ellenabad
NCR – Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Gaziabad
UK - Haldwani, Haidakhan, Ramnagar
MP - Bhind, Morena

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Non-Routine Repairs
Wheel Well Liner - The first day out in the open, I had a humbling experience with a log ripping out the wheel well liner. Mental Note: Being too adventurous has to be done along with being mindful of the risks involved. Got the liner replaced the next day which was a 20 minute job and was light on the pocket too considering what all could have been damaged behind the liner.
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Shock Absorber - This is a known issue with the AWD Dusters. I believe it has something to do with the increased ride height and the bump stops failing. The first Shock absorber leak was after a mishap where the vehicle veered off-road at a sharp bend due to distracted driving. It was the front left Shock absorber which was replaced under warranty at 34K. The next two were the Right Front and Rear Left which were reported by the ASC at the 60K service which they waived off under goodwill. They probably did nothing since it might have been a seepage instead of a leak as explained in this post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Touringlawyer View Post
if the visible oil part covers less than 1/3rd the length of the shock, it is normal as per Renault and does not require any replacement and if the visible oil part covers more than half the length of the shock absorber, it requires replacement.
Intercooler Hose + Clip - This incident happened when the duster was in Gujarat with my dad. While driving back to gandhidham after dusk he heard the engine make a loud noise like an air horn. He stopped and checked but could not identify anything at idle but it was definitely something not right while resuming the journey. It had to be flat bedded to Rajkot where the diagnosis was of a failed intercooler hose. which was replaced under warranty after a wait of 3 days.

ESP -
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60K onward, the ESP light would randomly come on (static) which indicated a fault with the system. It was bothersome as I wanted it to be cleared under warranty. Along with this the medianav system also started muting on start-up.

Differential Replacement - 65K onward, I started noticing the rear axle binding. Which had devastating results on one occasion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
Wanted to update about the recent 70K km service and the Differential change for the 2015 AWD I have.

Last month I had dropped off the duster for a check up regarding drive train shuddering under acceleration from standstill. I had assumed it was an issue with the mounts of the 4WD transfer case. However I got a call from the service guys at Renault Jaipur that the whole differential needs to be changed. They did a thorough test of the car and found that the differential was jamming up causing some extra resistance on the engine when accelerating from standstill.

This is the part as per the part number mentioned in the Invoice. Cost: INR 1.57 Lac inclusive of taxes. Luckily it was covered under extended warranty.

Source: boodmo.com

They ordered the part from Chennai and I got the work done on 19th June. The differential was replaced and the 70K service was carried out and I got the car back on 21st June.
The manual says the differential oil needs to be changed every 20K kms but they never changed it till it failed. Was that the cause or and actual defect in the part, I will never know. Sticking to the 20K interval from now on.

Medianav - Muting on start-up, possibly due to drop in voltage during the booting up of the system caused by cranking the car simultaneously. The system was sent to Chennai at the 70K service and an IC was reported to have been replaced inside. I got a loaner stereo for the time being which was a good gesture on the SA’s part. The problem was battery related and has never occurred again. There is a new problem with the aux source selection giving a clicking sound and no music at all since after the IC replacement done in Chennai. Have to get it checked once again before the warranty expires.

AC Direction Control Box - The Air flow direction control knob was getting stuck. This is another known issue with the Duster. The part was ordered and was to be fixed along with the repaired medianav unit. Both of these were replaced at 72K. Also bought the 5th year extension on the warranty to take the coverage upto 100K or June 2020 whichever would come earlier.

Intake Piping Lip-seal -
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This was a part which I noticed was leaking since it was charged in the 70K bill I asked them to replace it under their 20,000 km & 6 month spare warranty.

Driver Door Weather Seal - The weather seal was cracking at the bottom probably due to the guy who cleans the car was standing on it while cleaning the roof along with the feet hitting it while entering and exiting. Replaced proactively at 72K.

Turbo - 80K service, job card opened, the weekend passes, awaiting delivery on Monday but get a call that the Turbo needs to be replaced. There was some oil leak in it I’m guessing. Replaced under warranty extended warranty.
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Accident Repairs

I though of myself as a safe driver. But there is also no replacement for experience. Being the first car I've owned it has had 3 minor incidents. You only learn when you have to pay the price. I am a much safer driver now. I also keep an eye out for risks while choosing a parking spot.
LH RH rear quarter panel + RH rear door -
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
I had the first brush with a dump truck which put a sizable and horrible dent across the side of my first car which was just 6 months old. This was in crawling traffic (5-10 kmph). You ask me how? I'll tell you what I forgot that day:
  • Truck drivers have blind spots in proportion to their vehicle
  • Not to overtake from the left
  • Not to get irritated by incessant honkers right behind you
Repair was done at Jaipur by Nirmal Cars. Swiftly handled on our special request and claimed under insurance. Had to later get the windshield buffed which had paint over spray.

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As a result of distracted driving. No further comments. Lesson learnt.
The Duster was towed through renault RSA. No flatbed this time but I was devastated enough so didn’t argue much. Who would I have argued with? Thinking of it now, could this be the reason for the premature differential failure? Sprint Cars Okhla got the repair done within a week which was claimed under insurance.

RH RR door -
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My neighbour reversed into my parked car. Claimed insurance. Repair was done at Sprint Cars, Okhla. Due to a sharp crease in the door bottom and possible damage to the interior bracing they replaced the door. They didn’t re-apply the vinyl on the B-pillar. Aren’t they supposed to bring back the car to its original condition in the repair work done under insurance?
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Insurance

I have had a very tricky situation with the insurance renewal in the second year. Firstly the a claim was made while the renewal policy was not finalized. I only had the cover note which was of a lesser amount (which I had duly paid) than actual. Some calculation error on the part of the saleswoman. While taking delivery there was a delay of 4 days since the insurance company was expecting the balance payment. On the same policy I had to make another claim.

When I went to renew the policy, Bharti AXA refused to provide a renewal or quoted something like 45K for the renewal. Asked other companies for a quote and everyone said they won't provide a quote for Duster diesel models. I had to face a panic situation since there was less than a week left before the expiry of this policy. On asking a few WhatsApp group members who are well versed in insurance and finance matters, I found out that there has been a Moratorium issued for Duster diesel models in Rajasthan due to a very high claim ratio. Which meant that no insurance company was providing insurance for it. Finally had to buy Renault Assured policy which was issued by Marsh India through Bajaj Allianz. Has anyone else faced this?

Have been renewing through Renault Assured ever since with the current (5th) year policy also having Zero-Dep. cover.

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Maintenance Log

With this car I was quite particular about keeping a track on the maintenance expenses. As a result I have kept each and every invoice safely and have prepared a detailed maintenance log for all the upkeep related costs. Exclusions - Puncture repair, car wash, accessories, cleaning equipment, seat covers, floor mats etc. for a quick glance you can have a look at this table:
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For those wanting to have a thorough look at the maintenance log have a look here. It has the detailed part codes and service codes for all the jobs carried out on the vehicle till date. I plan to keep updating it regularly.

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Plans for the future...

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A hand me down for my brother or the main outstation vehicle for my dad. Only time will tell. It will have the stock drive-train which is a given since I am quite happy with the performance. With time and increasing traffic on the roads, this drive-train should feel adequate according to me. The following is a tentative list:
Dashcam – Dual Channel. Have already installed a DDPAI mini dash cam and have found it to be great. Would like to go for a dual channel dash cam with the hard wire kit just to have extra safety while parking. This is going to be the more used car for outstation travels in the future.

Roof Rack – This one could be a custom fab or the one from the Renault Triber accessory range since I quite liked these two examples. I feel I need it since I intend to travel a lot more in the time to come.

Replace cracked suspension boots - The Duster has these suspension boots which also double up as bump stops. The upper portion has the bump stop part which is somewhat sturdy but the lower boot portion is very fragile. Almost all duster on road have cracked boots. Planning to get them replaced soon.

Headlamp bulb upgrade - Since I find the headlamps of the AWD perform poorly compared to the headlamps of the 2WD, I am going to check if there is any difference in OEM or the bulb wattage. And carry out the change for the AWD as well. Have gone through numerous attempts to adjust the beams but it has not provided comparable results.

AC condenser / compressor - Someone suggested that an aftermarket condenser is performing better in the Duster. Also I could enquire the possibility of installation of the compressor which they did in the white car. That too is performing better than the factory fitted compressor. This has to be investigated further before taking a call.

Last edited by Tgo : 26th August 2019 at 14:02.
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Old 21st August 2019, 14:41   #4
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Default Two Dusters sharing a garage - Differences

For the casual observer it looks as though the two cars are the same. So how does one overcome the boredom of owning, driving and maintaining two similar cars? Well, here is a list of everything that isn't the same at all.


Exterior
Wiper blade rear - The AWD gets a thicker pivot pin for the rear wiper blade and the 2WD has a thin pin. Makes it difficult to source the correct part for the two cars. Though the Renault ones are not very expensive either.
Washer nozzle - The AWD get the spray jets v/s stream jets in the 2WD. The spray is a much welcome arrangement as it helps spread the water over a larger area. The nozzle casing is also slightly different in both the cars.
Badges - the 'i' in the dci is red in my AWD for some reason. The 2WD has the monochrome one. This subtle change signifies the difference between the Borneo-1 and Borneo-2 engines I’m guessing.
Rear bumper - Old v/s New
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Hard to spot the difference but just try finding mud flaps for the older (pre face-lift) model and you’ll know what I mean. Even the ASCs don’t have them in stock and suggest that you buy them from the aftermarket shops.
Headlamps - Blacked Out v/s Chrome
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I think the blacked out headlamps look better in lighter paint shades but then again, the chrome ones look out of place in the darker shades. I also feel that the older car's headlamps are more effective than the newer ones. Will have to check the wattage and brand of the bulbs one day for comparison since I have tried adjusting them multiple times without concrete results.
Wheels - Grey v/s Silver
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The grey wheels really make the door handles stand out now. Grey hides the brake dust deposits better. Silver ones look more premium.
Under-body
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Shielding - There is heat shielding in more spots as it is required by the AWD components.
Exhaust routing - The rout is slightly different and goes from below the rear axle v/s it being higher in the 2WD models
Spare wheel placement - Space taken up by the differential has made the spare wheel to be placed inside the boot v/s outside and under placement in the 2WD setup.
Engine mount / Balancer (?) - This peculiar thing has had a design change and is no longer visible concealed v/s exposed in the older model.
Boot
Load floor - Its a case of win some, lose some. The AWD has the boot floor level with the sill due to the accommodation of the spare wheel under it. In the 2WD you get an extra 3 inches in depth but the items have to be lifted up and placed rather than slid in and out.
Hatch gas strut - I find the gas struts in the AWD to be weak since the hatch door has to be guided up and then it rests wherever you leave it after it travels more than of its full range. In the 2WD the gas struts are stronger and push the door up after of its travel and there is no need to guide it up.
Seats
Material - The seats in the AWD are fabric seats with a hexagonal pattern embossed in it whereas the 2WD has the faux leather seats.
Plushness - The AWD seats are quite firm and as a result feel very flat (do not adjust to the contour of your back) while the 2WD seats are more plush and have a softer yet supportive foam used in them.
Sturdiness - Seat frame and rail sturdiness is a known issue with all dusters. Rocking seat backs, rattling height adjustment and flimsy seat rails which wear out give a very unsettling feel in the driver’s seat. The AWD seats are poor in this regard and the 2WD ones are only marginally better.
Interior Scheme -
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The interiors are identical but have a different colour scheme. The AWD has an all black theme for the seats and carpets. everything above the window line is light grey. The dash is a grey on darker grey scheme. All this robs from the sense of roominess in the cabin. The older 2WD has the beige seats and mats on black carpet. This itself make the cabin feel more lit up. Everything above the window line is light beige and the dash is a beige on dark grey. The black wrap on the steering and gear knob can go unnoticed. For the AWD the door handles and the dashboard fascia get a glossy silver garnish whereas the AWD has the faux wood trim + gloss black combo which also doesn't look too off. The interior back-lighting is white in the AWD whereas it is orange in the older car.
Controls
Stalks -
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The stalks in the AWD are redesigned ones having the same functions as the older 2WD. Newer stalks have a more reassuring but subdued clicks. The older ones have a longer travel, have a springy feel and very audible clicks. High beam actuation is a bit different too. The new stalks have the following pattern Push-Click-Stay versus the Pull-Click-Return pattern.
Switches - The window switches, are firm and sure clicking in the AWD versus them being springy, having more travel and a very weak click in the older 2WD. Switches in the AWD are backlit which isn't there in the 2WD.
MID
MID functions -
AWD: Odometer - Trip meter - Dist. since last reset - Instantaneous FE - FE since last reset - Fuel consumed since last reset - Range - (Cruise) - (Limiter) - Outside temp - Service due in
2WD: Odometer - trip meter - dist. since last reset - FE since last reset - fuel consumed since last reset - range
MID control - The AWD has an integrated stalk-end button whereas the older 2WD has a separate MID reset pin in the instrument cluster in addition to the stalk-end button.
Gauges - Take a Look
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Interior Lights - The AWD has this new design dome light which has a single bulb in a large housing. The 2WD has a different dome light configuration with two separate small sections for the driver and passenger having their independent switches along with a common switch of both. I have no grouses with either of the set-ups as both are equally useful.

AC
Secondary AC unit- The AWD has the propeller shaft which probably does not allow for a secondary unit to be installed. The 2WD has a very effective rear AC unit which is a boon is the summer.

Effectiveness - Pathetic in case of the AWD v/s liveable (especially after the compressor replacement) in 2WDs case.
I think that the newer models with the ACC are more effective but still leave a lot to be desired when compared to competitors in the market.
Stereo

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Sound - both the systems are mediocre at best as far as the sound is concerned. There is a different kind of equalization in both the stereos but the overall performance is the same.
Functions - The AWD gets Medianav system which is a Windows CE based system manufactured by LG for Renault. It has a resistive touch screen. It has felt very basic and is plagued with BT clarity and connectivity issues. Does the job. The 2WD has the old non touch screen unit which has a CD player and BT (phone + audio) functionality.
Both the systems are very dated and undesirable products. Cost of this system is close to 70 grand from the accessories dept. Grossly inflated, since that same system which is installed in the KWID accounts for 15 % of the on-road price.
Cup-holder Mats - The AWD has carpet like place mats whereas the 2WD has the rubber mats. Do keep these safe when sending the cars for a cleaning. They are easily misplaced by cleaners since the use compressed air to clean the cup holder cut outs and these things fly off never to be found again.

Extras
Bulbs - The AWD has none whereas the 2WD has a set of high and low (4 bulbs) neatly boxed in the jack compartment inside the boot. These were useful twice as in both cases of the low beam lamps going out we were travelling and had no time to search for replacement bulbs from the market. Quick DIY replacements were welcome in both these cases with the spares already available in the car since day-1.
Wheel lug bolts - None again in the AWD whereas the 2WD has a set of 5 which is to be used with the spare steel wheel (it has some diagrams which suggest so).
Ash Tray - Absent from the AWD.
Cigarette Lighter - Absent from the AWD.
Engine
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Again it seems to be the same wine in a new bottle but that is not the case. The newer cars have a Boreno-2 engine whereas the older cars have the Borneo-1 engine. A number of changes which Renault decided to be hush-hush about can be easily felt once you have experience both.
NVH - Better NHV control in the AWD (Borneo-2). The clatter is also less on the outside and the fan noise is much reduced. For the 2WD (Borneo-1), the shake on start-up and the more distinct clatter along with the industrial sounding fan noise from the engine bay earn it a satisfactory rating from my point of view.
Response - The new gen engine has a more linear and mature acceleration and response. This is dulled down a bit in Eco mode which has a different engine map. Exact details of the two masa is unknown. The older engines felt more laggy due to the poor gearing of the first two ratios. The response is spikey at the turbo kick-in point and acceleration is more aggressive thereafter.
Economy - The fuel economy for the AWD hovers between 14-18 kmpl whereas for the older 2WD its between 13-17. Not a very great difference and I guess higher or lower figures are not unimaginable and depends on the individual driving and the conditions.
Diesel Filter - There is s different diesel filter used in the AWD. I was told that this is an AWD specific filter. Part no. 164033646R updated to 164034510R. The older car has a different one.
Air - Intake piping & Filter - The Borneo-2 layout provides an easier access to the intake air filter. The intake routing is also different and it has some slits in the intake piping (for resonance control?) whereas the older one has a nifty gauge which indicates the remaining life of the filter. I like the newer setup as it allows me to clean the filter on my own very easily.
Battery - The newer engines use a 50 DIN battery instead of the 60 DIN battery used in the older models.
Gearbox
Ratios - One of the deciding factors for choosing the AWD was the excellent report the gearbox got in all the reviews. The very short first is rarely used by me. The second and third ratios are also different from the 2WD models. 2nd has enough grunt to start from a stand-still and the 3rd is nicely matched to the two neighbouring gears and provides good acceleration too. The 2WD protests valiantly is you try to make it move in 2nd and the 1st is short but is not low enough.
Slotting action - the AWD gearbox has to be slotted more precisely and the shove has to be slightly firm whereas in the 2WD the slotting action is slightly smoother on the verge of being a tad bit rubbery.
Clutch - These comments come directly from by back which was weak to begin with but has now become asymmetrically weak biased to the left side.The pedal stiffness is liveable in the AWD whereas in the 2WD it is unacceptable and in heavy traffic becomes unbearable. The 2WD had a spring replaced in the clutch pedal as part of a voluntary recall but it hasn’t helped the cause much.

Brakes - This is another foolish move on part of Renault where they didn’t advertise a major update like this during the new gen Duster launch. The AWD comes with larger size brake rotors and calipers which accommodate larger brake pads. The overall difference is not much but the brake pad and rotor life has definitely increased due to this change when compared to the older 2WD.

Steering- The AWD steering is smaller in diameter ticker around the rim and has in built thumb recesses. It feels nicer to hold than the older 2WD cars’ thinner and larger diameter wheel. Though nicer to hold the newer steering contour presses into the palms and makes them pain during longer journeys.

Suspension
Ride height - 210mm v/s 205mm
If you ask me there is hardly any noticeable difference or added advantage. I must mention though, that my mom who was so used to the white one, sat in the green one for the first time and said that it felt higher.
Rear struts/springs - independent multi-link (shock absorber with in built springs and anti roll bar) v/s twist beam (separate spring and shock absorbers)
I must say that there is a noticeable difference in the suspension behaviour. It is felt when going over those crater like undulations. In the AWD the said wheel is affected and you notice both sides at the rear behaving differently whereas given the same condition in the 2WD the whole rear seems to act as one unit. Thus, the independent setup gives you more feedback from the road at slow speeds.
Driver Aids
The AWD comes loaded with quite a few driver aids.
ESP - Have felt it cut power delivery when it detects a rollover situation (too much of rolling and pitching).
Hill-hold - Very useful. prevents roll back when any of the forward gears are engaged and you are going up an incline and have stopped. Similarly if you have the reverse gear engaged and are reversing up an incline it works the same way.
TCS - Works when it detects wheel spin. Have also seen it engage 4WD momentarily when required, even if the car is in 2WD model.
Cruise - Holds the desired speed which is set by you. A much used function on the E-ways. Toggle the Cruise/Limiter switch to Cruise. Set the speed by pressing the + button when you are doing the desired speed and let go of the accelerator. Increases or decrease the speed in increments of 2, with the ‘+/-’ buttons on the steering. You can also increase the speed by pressing the accelerator past the imaginary point where it would be holding its currently set speed. Let go off the accelerator and the vehicle decelerates naturally to the set speed again. The accelerator has a switch at the far end of its travel. You click it to cancel cruise or use the ‘O’ button on the steering or press the brake for the same result. A clutch press also cancels the cruise. Once canceled the cruise memory function has the last set speed stored which can be reached by pressing the ‘R’ button.
Limiter - Doesn’t let you go past the set speed. used extensively to keep a check on over speeding and getting fined heavily. Toggle the Cruise/Limiter switch to Limiter. It sets the current speed as the default limit. increase or decrease this in increments of 2, by pressing the ‘+/-’ buttons. Press the accelerator as much as you want and you won’t go past the set speed. Doesn’t get cancelled until you press the ‘O’ button or press the accelerator all the way down and activate the cancel switch. If cancelled by the ‘O’ button it can be resumed by the ‘R’ button. If cancelled by accelerator switch it can be resumed once you go below the set point.
ECO mode - The AWD has this ECO mode which dulls down the throttle response to ease out a bit on the fuel consumption. It also is cancelled by the accelerator switch and re-activated once you let go of the switch. It might have been useful in saving fuel but I get decent numbers without ECO so I don’t feel the need of it anymore.
Semi-Auto Rear Wiper - So in the AWD this was a feature which surprised me. One day I was reversing out of the shed and was startled by the rear wiper coming on. Soon I realized that I had used the front wipers to clean the windshield before slotting into reverse. It works this way or alongside the front wipers whenever the car is put into reverse. Neat. Absent in the older 2WD.
Courtesy Wipe - front wipers in the AWD have a courtesy wipe after using the washer which is absent in the older 2WD.
Speed sensing auto lock - AWD auto locks the doors above 25 kmph. Absent in the older 2WD.
Lane Change Indicators - Present in the AWD. Absent in the 2WD.
Seat Belt Reminder - Present in the AWD with a clearly audible beep which sounds for 3 minutes before giving up and leaving the foolish driver to his/her fate. Absent in the older 2WD.
Shift Indicator - A nifty gearshift indicator which tells you to shift up or down is present in the AWD and not on the 2WD.
Compared to the long list, the 2WD has just one thing that the AWD doesn’t:
Parking sensor toggle - Which is absent in the AWD models where I think it was more useful. The older 2WD has it.

PS - Most of the pictures in this post have been taken from the Official Review threads of the AWD and 2WD models.

Last edited by Tgo : 25th August 2019 at 13:54.
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Old 21st August 2019, 16:02   #5
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Default Two Dusters sharing a garage - The Renault Experience

The hodge-podge

Renault seems to have gone a full 360 in its approach for the Indian market. They came in with international offerings which were backed by poor after sales support. They are now trying the market specific approach which seems to be going in their favour. Their initial offerings had quality issues and the after sales were being handled very poorly. The dealerships and ASCs and the parent company seem like separate entities having their separate interests.

Whether I am a happy customer or not, I have one thing to say and that is their cars are quirky but in a smart way. The Duster still appears to be a simple and butch design compared to all the other crossovers that have been launched since. Yet, it was so quirky that no one else tried to copy it till date. The Kwid and the Triber are very smart looking cars for the price point they cater to. The Indian design team should be applauded for this achievement.

Renault was slow to introduce latest features and followed a functional approach to car design. This makes their products look old, early in the life cycle. Frequent updates do breathe in some more life, but the situation today is that the cars from the lower segment are receiving the updates faster than the higher priced models making the buyers of those cars feel like they're late to the party. Some cars they seem to have forgotten altogether. The Captur for example which would have benefited from the petrol CVT and Diesel AMT from the day it was launched.

Then there is the black sheep sibling Nissan and its freeloader friend Datsun. Nissan started in the same way with the X-trail and Teana. The Micra and the Sunny seemed to get the ball rolling for Nissan in India. Then they forgot about bringing new products to the market and hit their lowest with the launch of Datsun. Washing the wine down with a big gulp of water.

------------------------------------------------

Living with a Renault - After Sale Services

I have interacted with many Renault associates. Co-tecs, SAs, Sales people and the higher ups at the dealerships and ASCs. For a knowledgeable customer the front line seems to be a bunch of people trained to follow a certain SOP. The 'have been taught to do this' types who switch from one brand to another doing the same job over and over without gaining any valuable experience.There are a few people among them who have progressed a level further because they stuck with their employer a little longer than the others. They have a better knowledge of the product and the customer's expectations. They make this out by reading the customer, the way he/she explains the problems, the manner in which they communicate etc. These people are the ones you build up a rapport with and this is what comes in handy. It takes a lot of time. I am still not comfortable with Renault ASC. I know how fake those customer satisfaction ratings are. Toyota is the benchmark here.

Renault has some very knowledgeable co-techs. These co-techs are Renault employees who travel between ASCs within a region for handling technical issues. They are the link between the ASCs shop floor and the technical team back in Chennai. I have seen them investigate issues like a thorough professional who knows how the vehicle is put together and how it functions. But, I have also seen them being let down by the ASCs and their lackadaisical attitude for investigative problem solving. Sometimes it is also because of the customer being unreasonable (wanting the car back in a day) and sometimes the ASCs are so packed that there are no empty bays or technicians available to assist them or the equipment is down.


Some of the known quality and consistency related issues we faced and the the response we got for them from the ASCs.

Issue - Vehicle pulling to the left
Me: Vehicle is pulling to the left.
ASC: Indian roads are banked to the left so this is normal.

It is only after I drove on the right (wrong side, with the banking on the right) and showed the left pull did they acknowledge it and get the alignment adjusted. This happens after every alignment done at the ASC. And I have given up hope on them centering the steering before adjusting the alignment. Tyre shops do a better job of wheel alignment and balancing.

Issue - Seat rattling
Me: Seat is rattling and needs fixing.
ASC: It is normal in cars with height adjustment.

Issue - Poor accident repair work
1. Rear end collission - Rear door lines are messed up and the bumper was not repainted at all which has cracked paint on it now. The hatch is also not properly repaired and the edge is crooked.
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2. Door replacement - The door repaired closes with less resistance than the other one and the B-pillar vinyl wasn't replaced.
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3. Fender and bonnet repair - Inside of bonnet was not re-painted, inside of engine bay was not repainted and the replacement bumper had very shabby cut-outs for the fog lamps and I later discovered that one of the fog lamps was installed with the help of steel wire because the replaced bumper was damaged too.
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Issue - Mud flaps
Me: Pls. replace the mud flaps (white car, pre facelift)
ASC: Better to buy from outside as we have it on back order and it is not expected anytime soon.

Issue - AC blower direction selector getting stuck
A known issue which is best tackled under warranty. Otherwise you have to let it be in the position it is and never touch it. For some reason it is a Dashboard out job and there is no fix to it other than replacing the whole unit. It also is a given to put it on the customer could have broken it rather than accepting it as a defective part design.

Issue - Missing ashtray
Replaced after holding the bill payment for over a month.

Issue - Part Cost for Emblem
2-3 different costs when the same emblem is used on the Kwid, Fluence and the Duster.

Issue - Replacement of shock absorbers
Renault has not commented on why they fail so frequently. Almost every AWD owner has had one or more shock absorbers replaced.

Issue - Injector failure
Though I have not encountered the same, there are many who have had multiple if not one injector fail. A widespread issue which is blamed on adulterated fuel by Renault.

Issue - Poor AC
Which has not been addressed even after 7 years of feedback from customers.

Issue - Cleaning guys at ASC looking for tips
Encountered this only in UP at Kanpur and Etawah where the SA would ask to go and check whether the cleaning has been done satisfactorily. Once there you would find one of the cleaning guys tail you expecting a tip and at times even mentioning it verbally.

Issue - Repeated visits to ASC for a particular problem
Simplest of issues which have been pointed out verbally often require a second visit since they are overlooked. I make it a point to take a test drive with the SA before dropping off the car now. Even then I am at their mercy.

Issue - Maintenance Records in brief
The maintenance records are kept on their servers in brief. As an example, the stored record showed a wheel bearing replacement but it did not mention anywhere, which one (front or rear, left or right) was replaced.

------------------------------------------------

Reality of customer satisfaction ratings

Usually the call comes on the same day or 1-2 days after a visit to the ASC. It is sometimes not enough time to assess the quality of work. If you score anything less than 7 they arrange for a call back which asks you to get the vehicle back etc. etc. which is pointless - The car is a small part of my life, not the only thing in my life that I keep attending to. I expect better quality and attention to detail from their end from the get go.
Most of the time I give them what they want to listen wanting to hang up the call as soon as possible.

------------------------------------------------

Renault Authorized Service Centers

Since it has been serviced at various ASCs our experiences with each of them have been summarized here:
  • Rajkot - Didn't interact with the people there since the vehicle used to be sent through the driver. They did misplace the ashtray which was returned later.On the second occasion it had a change of ownership but was decent based on the limited interaction with them.
  • Gandhidham - Pretty well managed. The owner had good experience in the business and had a few other brand dealerships as well in Gujarat.
  • Jaipur
    Sitapura - Nirmal Cars - The main workshop which has changed its location twice if I’m not mistaken. Well staffed and managed since a very responsible GM also has his office there. Good with everything but sometimes they screw up. Have always provided pick-up and drop. This is the only ASC I trust and they honour the fact that we are a repeat customer and have passed on many goodwill replacements for both the Dusters.

    Malviyanagar - Nirmal Cars - Similar experience as above as it is run by the same owners. Shut down now.

    VKI - Visited once for the wheel bearing work. Did it promptly within a day on our request stating an urgency which they happily obliged.
  • Etawah - Least crowded which works for me. Has an enthusiastic staff but the management has a laid back attitude. Interacted with a good co-tech once.
  • Kanpur - SGP Cars - Moderately crowded. Seemed to have more admin staff than usual. Do not carry out wheel alignment or balancing stating that their machine is not working.
  • Delhi – Sprint Cars - Okhla - Seemed to be overcrowded with vehicles. Shoddy body work. I believe they tried pushing in some unwanted repairs related to wheel bearing once.

The overall experience remains positive. Its more because of the product on offer than the actual focus on the customer.

Last edited by Tgo : 25th August 2019 at 14:16.
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Old 22nd August 2019, 00:43   #6
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Default Two Dusters sharing a garage - The Extended Family

The overall sales for the Duster have been summarized in the two charts below. This does not include the sales of its twin the Terrano.
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It will be interesting to see how the launch of the 3rd face-lift affects the sales specially when it has been launched at a time when the Indian automotive industry is in a slowdown for the first time in recent history.
• Renault has sold 1,88,860 units of the Duster as of July 2019. Add to this the sales of all the vehicles using the same platform or power-train, I think we can be assured of a good after sales back-up from Renault for the coming 5-7 year time frame, even if they discontinue the diesel engines next year.
All this while I used to wonder how come the ownership and official review threads for the Duster are so dead. Until I dug a bit deeper into it. Needless to say, I was proven wrong. It is in the top 10 club of Team-BHP Official Reviews and it has a very active owner base.

• The Duster’s Official Review thread is ranked 8 in the number of views
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-views.jpg

• and also ranked 8th by the number of replies.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-replies.jpg

• Owners of the Duster love traveling and sharing their experiences and they have put up a splendid assortment of travelogues up in that section.
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-travelogues.jpg

• Also their experiences of owning the Duster -
Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-reviews.jpg

• Have also found that the owners’ community elsewhere (Facebook and WhatsApp) is also comprised of a very enthusiastic bunch which loves traveling and sharing their experiences. I’ve also found them to be equally helpful and all seem to have similar views about their relationship with Renault India.
The last point was the trigger which made me write this detailed review which I had been procrastinating since I got the green car home. Hats off to those still reading it. This was a thread for which I did a lot of mining on the cloud base storage I use for photos and on Team-BHP itself to get the chronology of events correct. It also required multiple drafts printed for review before posting the final version. Consider it as my 'Kaal Granth' of Duster ownership. I thank each and every one of you who has contributed to the Duster threads and helped many of us look beyond the shortcomings of owning this iconic SUV and enjoy the experience.

Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!-sam.jpg
Signing out till the next time with this picture of the green one at Sambhar, February 2016.

Last edited by Tgo : 24th August 2019 at 15:23.
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Old 26th August 2019, 18:10   #7
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Long-Term Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!

Shortly going to our homepage too .
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Old 26th August 2019, 22:17   #8
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Magnificent stuff Tgo. Your ownership experience, and the places you have visited and the pictures you have taken all point to a good time had. All the very best and hope to hear more from you!
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Old 26th August 2019, 23:43   #9
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

What detail man !!! It was so fulfilling going through this... the result shows the efforts that you have taken to painstakingly put this together.

Wish you many more miles on your trusted steeds !!!

Warm regards,
Siddhartha.
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Old 27th August 2019, 08:43   #10
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Apart from product lineup, your thread is a highlight as to where Renault [Nissan as well] is going wrong.

Most of the ASC's are in a mess, insurance quotes are 2X+ high at dealerships, escalations to manufacturer are not heard well and you are routed back to the same erring dealership.

And I didn't expect so many niggles, I myself drive an indigenous M&M Scorpio 4WD, it is at 79K and apart from consumables, it has most things bone stock [vacuum modulators initially and an AC issue where issue wasn't diagnosed, my thread has details].

If M&M can come up with almost a niggle free product, what stops a Renault/Nissan? Probably half-hearted attempt.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:13   #11
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punatic View Post
All the very best and hope to hear more from you!
Thanks for the appreciation. I do plan to keep the thread updated with upcoming journeys and maintenance logs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siddarthab View Post
Wish you many more miles on your trusted steeds !!!
Thanks buddy. Everyone is all praises for the K9K, let us see how the thing attached to it holds up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Apart from product lineup, your thread is a highlight as to where Renault [Nissan as well] is going wrong.

Most of the ASC's are in a mess, insurance quotes are 2X+ high at dealerships, escalations to manufacturer are not heard well and you are routed back to the same erring dealership.

If M&M can come up with almost a niggle free product, what stops a Renault/Nissan? Probably half-hearted attempt.
I agree with you on all the points. I have no experience of dealing with them as a customer who owns their mass market car. But it is worrying that the story seems to be the same. I often find owners bickering about repeated visits for the same issues. In-fact this is what kills the joy of ownership. People have nothing amazing to talk about after 2-3 visits to the ASC.
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Old 27th August 2019, 16:33   #12
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Wow. What an exhaustive report of both of your steeds. I agree with your overall observations. Duster comes with its share of niggles but the smile it puts on your face whenever you take it on a long drive is priceless.

Hope you cover many more miles on the Duster. Not that you haven't covered them already


Among the 11 travelogues that you have shown in one of your picture, 5 happen to be mine done on my Duster.

Cheers,

Pawan
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Old 27th August 2019, 17:33   #13
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Duster comes with its share of niggles but the smile it puts on your face whenever you take it on a long drive is priceless.

Among the 11 travelogues that you have shown in one of your picture, 5 happen to be mine done on my Duster.
...a bigger smile than an F-pace?

I love to go through your travelogues time and again. I wish to visit North Bengal and Sikkim too sometime, hopefully plans for a long drive are aye'd in the parliament.
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Old 27th August 2019, 21:55   #14
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Excellent write-up. It can't get any more detailed than this. Thank you for sharing this. I've got an heads up on whats to come of my car.

Cheers and Happy Motoring.
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Old 27th August 2019, 23:27   #15
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Default re: Two Renault Dusters sharing a garage @ 3,25,000 km combined!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kanna.sridharan View Post
I've got an heads up on whats to come of my car.
Which variant do you drive? Please share some details.
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