The Renault Duster needs no introduction. It is the sort of success story every car maker would love to have on their resume. It entered the Indian market in 2012 with the serious intention of upsetting the competition, and it managed it, brilliantly. Bordering between an overgrown hatchback and a full blown SUV, the Duster was large enough to give you that big car feel and yet compact enough not to cause any serious parking issues. It had decent equipment, a number of engine options, and good performance and fuel economy backing it. And while it always had the makings of a good SUV, the absence of true all terrain ability was felt. Two years into its life cycle, Renault has finally decided to bring an all-wheel drive of 4x4 version of the Duster. We took it for a spin to find out how much of a beating it can take.
Exterior Styling and Design
The new Renault Duster 4x4 or 4WD shares the same look as its front-wheel drive version. Clean muscular lines, bulky headlights, three-slat chrome grille and large wheel arches, all make the Duster look striking and rugged. The all-wheel drive or 4x4 version gets blackened out headlights, gun metal finished alloy wheels and 4WD decals on the side, the C-pillar and the tail gate; just so you don’t miss its special trait. The rear remains unchanged, however. We would have loved to see a little body cladding like in the Adventure Edition, but Renault says that adding that would have had a negative effect on the ground clearance.
Exterior styling and Design – 4/5
Interior & Space
While the changes on the outside aren’t extensive, there are a lot of differentiating factors on the inside. The Renault Duster 4x4 gets a new three-pod instrument cluster, a new steering wheel, dual tone red and grey seats and the centre console from the Duster Adventure Edition. The dashboard has hints of grey as opposed to beige on the regular models and this helps give the cabin an airy feel. The quality of plastic all round though, hasn’t changed.
The Duster is still generous with regards to space. The dual tone red-grey seats are comfortable at the front as well as at the back. There is ample of shoulder and leg room to seat three adults on the rear bench with utmost ease. A massive 475 litres boot means that you can pretty much carry your world wherever you go.
The only grouse with the Duster is its ergonomics. The absence of a dead pedal and the lack of space next to the clutch can get a little irritating. Controls for adjusting the ORVMs are still under the hand brake and that’s not exactly very convenient to operate.
Interior & space 3.5/5
Features and Equipment
In terms of features, the Renault Duster 4x4 or Duster AWD is better equipped than the standard Duster and gets traction control, cruise control, a speed limiter, gear shift indicator, ambient temperature gauge, real-time fuel efficiency display and satellite navigation as standard. This is for the top of the line RXZ model. It also gets an integrated 2 din audio system with USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity and steering mounted audio and phone control which are finally on the steering and not on the column as on the regular models. The positioning of the steering mounted controls is still a little odd and takes a while getting used to. In terms of safety, the Duster 4x4 has the works including ABS, EBD, Brake Assist and dual front airbags. While the equipment list is long, we would have liked to see a digital climate control system on the SUV as well.
Features & Equipment: 4/5
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