The Indian car market moved back to petrol cars after the diesel shift almost a decade ago which means that today many of the diesel-based portfolios are offering petrol options as well. The Renault Duster has been one such car which had a petrol variant only in name, but now we have three petrol trims with an entirely new 1.5-litre engine and an automatic gearbox as well.
The 1.5-litre engine has been taken from the Renault Scala and replaces the 1.6-litre mill in the Duster. The four cylinder engine pumps out 105bhp of power at 5600rpm and 142Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The engine comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and a CVT automatic with a six-speed manual override option as well. The petrol Duster misses out on the all-wheel drive option and is available in three trims – RXE, RXL and RXS.
The RXE is a base trim and is priced at Rs 8.49 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi while the RXL trim will cost you Rs 9.30 lakhs. The CVT is offered only on the RXS trim and carries a price tag of Rs 10.32 lakhs. The base trim gets ABS and EBD standard but misses out on the airbags. It gets manual air-conditioning, all-four power windows, but misses out on the electrically adjustable body coloured mirrors along with the rear AC vents and the music system available on the RXL and the RXS. The RXL and RXS get a 2-DIN audio system with Bluetooth and driver-side airbags along with a pull-out rear armrest.
In terms of competition, the Renault Duster petrol has the mammoth task of competing with the Hyundai Creta which has been explained in detail here. Apart from the Creta, it has its own sibling, the Nissan Terrano to fend off in the crossover SUV space along with the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and the erstwhile Honda BR-V. While the S-Cross is available in diesel only and does not get an automatic option, the BR-V will cost you more than two lakh more for two added seats in the third row. In all fairness, the Duster is a lot more pothole-friendly than any of its competing crossovers and has one of the best ride and handling packages in the business.
Also, for the amount of money that you would spend on the petrol Duster, you do have the option of choosing any of the C-segment sedans that surprisingly start almost with the Duster. You have the option to choose from the Honda City, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, the Volkswagen Vento, the Skoda Rapid and the Renault Scala/Nissan Sunny twins. Renault seems to have hit a bulls-eye with their pricing even though it is introductory. The Duster, with its SUV appeal and performance and equipment which matches the corresponding trims of the sedans, becomes a strong contender in the Rs 10 lakh price bracket, offering a considerably good value-for-money package.