We recently welcomed the top-end RXZ AMT variant of the Renault Duster in our long term fleet of cars. While most of my colleagues are happy about having a diesel SUV that should help keep our fuel costs down, I am also happy that the automatic will take away my worries of using the clutch.
It was back in 2012 when Renault's offering in the form of the Duster changed people's perception about SUVs. There were not many compact yet spacious five-seater SUVs based on a monocoque platform that offered car-like drivability. The present day Duster is an updated version that gets many new features over the predecessor. So, even as we will use this car in the city and on the highways, we will also figure how all these new features will be helpful to us over the long period.
The striking Cayenne orange colour has already got a thumbs-up from me for being attractive, and yet not very flashy. I'm looking forward to make use of the automatic climate control, new rear view camera and the infotainment system with in-built sat-nav. Let’s see how the Duster’s best-in-segment boot space fares for a photographer’s need.
This is the Duster's first major facelift in India, which introduces an Easy-R AMT gearbox as an option in the 110PS variant. This means that the Renault Duster AMT comes powered by the same 1.5-litre K9k dCi diesel mill producing 108bhp of power at 4,000rpm and 245Nm of peak torque at 1,750rpm. What's very new is that this AMT gearbox is the country's first six-speed AMT that the carmaker has sourced from ZF.
I'm sure the AMT will offer convenience, but will it offer the same driving pleasure that the Duster has been known for? We shall find that out soon and also if it will serve my needs to the fullest in the coming months. Stay tuned for the monthly long term reports.
Pictures by Kapil Angane
Text by Ninad Ambre