This month, the Renault Duster CVT Petrol did a lot of highway runs. While I was happy to be away from the city traffic, I was worried about the money I would be spending on fuel. After all, a fully loaded SUV and a petrol one at that is enough reason for one to get the jitters. But for me, taking an SUV out on a long jaunt definitely had more positives than negatives. So, let's see how the Duster fared this month.
Now, the foremost concern before starting a road trip is to accommodate bags of all the passengers. The Duster's boot space of 475 litres is more than enough to eat up all your luggage needs. Here we loaded up the boot with a large (85l), medium (58l) and small (30l) hard shell bag, along with two soft bags and a backpack. Still, it had more space left to pack in some small polythene bags. Also, it’s long and deep enough to carry cricket, badminton or any such sport equipment to your weekend holiday.
Inside the cabin too, there are five big bottle holders and four cup holders in all. The slot on top of the dashboard is useful to accommodate your wallet, phone, cash and more. I still wish this RXS trim was equipped with a sun-glass holder and cruise control.
Speaking of cruise control, I remember cruising in the Duster at triple digit speeds with ease even when fully loaded. That said, the 1.5-litre petrol motor does take a fair bit of time in gaining momentum for the car. But then, the engine is refined and doesn't make much noise even with the tacho needle wavering post the 3,000rpm mark.
Overtaking trucks also doesn’t feel like a big task. The CVT gearbox complements this mill and helps in putting down the power linearly. And, unless you are in a hurry and want to sprint across quickly, you will enjoy the slow building up of speed followed by a constant pace on those long stretches.
Besides, it rides well too, especially on bad roads. Sharp potholes and joints on highways do not send a jolt into the cabin. The solid suspension builds enough confidence in you to traverse through broken roads and absorb bumps. Also, you sit in a commanding driving position with clear view of the surroundings. There's good space even at the back for three grown-up individuals and thanks to the well-cushioned seats, they will never complain being uncomfortable on a long trip. In fact, with its good knee-room, thigh support and sufficient headroom, the Duster has always been a spacious and practical SUV. No wonder, it is the most preferred choice amongst our team when we have outdoor shoots or need to do those frequent Mumbai-Pune trips.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi