There is no denying that the Renault Duster is a pretty versatile car and with the addition of an AMT gearbox, it’s become one of those ‘do-it-all’ vehicles that are rare to come by. Yet while all of us here at CarWale have been charmed by the Duster’s rugged appeal and practical nature since it joined our fleet, it’s been difficult to ignore some of its flaws.
Here’s what living with the Duster AMT has been like so far.
The first thing to say is how comfortable the Duster AMT is to sit in. It’s never been particularly exciting car to drive around the twisties, but once on the highway it eats up the distance. The seat fabric, compared to the old model, has improved big time and now it actually feels fit for the price. The front seats, too, are wide and accommodating, with the driver’s side featuring a handy armrest.
The Duster’s wide cabin means rear seat comfort is even better; however, the backrest is a little too flat and needs to be better contoured.
The Duster AMT has been the default camera vehicle for all our shoots and it’s never let us down. Its 475-litre boot swallows everything – be it our lensman Kapil’s exhaustive camera gear, big suitcases or anything in between.
For an automatic crossover, the Duster AMT is surprisingly fuel efficient, returning nearly 15kmpl as a daily driver. Combine that with the fairly large 50-litre fuel tank and you needn’t worry about refuelling for days. In fact, the Duster returned a respectable 15kmpl during our round trip to Bangalore, carrying five people and all their luggage.
Wobbly front seat
So with comfort, practicality and fuel efficiency ticked off, what’s not to like? Well the Duster has lived a rather busy life in the hands of our ace lensman and as a result, it’s racked up nearly 10,000km in the last three months. The high mileage seems to have taken a toll on some of the cabin plastics and oddly enough, the driver’s seat railing mechanism that’s become loose at one end. This has led to some unwanted play and seat base wobble over really bad roads.
There is one other niggle. The view out, for the most part, is great with those big windows and thin A pillar, but the headrests are simply too large – the view from the inside mirror gets obscured whenever anyone’s been in the rear and pulled them up and left them in that manner. The front headrests are bigger still, concealing a lot of the frontal view for those seated at the back.
Overall, the Duster AMT has proved to be a handy sidekick, and its odd quirks and minor quality niggles haven’t dulled my enthusiasm too much. For those looking for a tough and efficient diesel crossover with the convenience of an automatic gearbox, the Duster AMT is tough to beat.
Pictures by Kapil Angane
Click here for the previous Long Term Report of the Renault Duster AMT