Renault Duster vs Mahindra XUV 5OO : Comparison
The Renault Duster is here and it's extremely competitive, but does it have what it takes to land a powerful punch of practicality well above its entry-level class?
The Renault Duster is a good car – bordering between being an overgrown hatch and a full blown SUV, it truly defines the meaning of the crossover genre that has been gaining global popularity over the years. The mantra is simple – a car needs to be big enough to satisfy your ego and small enough to fit into a parking spot in any crowded city. It needs to be powerful enough to give you the thrills but frugal enough to minimize fuel bills. The Duster does all that, after all it was designed for emerging markets and saw light of day badged as a Dacia – pretty much on the lines of the Logan, but in a different segment altogether.
Renault seems to have got the timing right with this little SUV considering that there will be a slew of Premier Rio sized MINI SUVs hitting the market soon. The French have even got the pricing right which always seems to be the tricky factor for any international manufacturer trying to make headway into the Indian space. So as far as competition from its own segment goes, it’s pretty much a no-brainer because the Duster has got the quality, style and frugality to beat pretty much any other SUV between under 10 lakh Indian rupees. Between the 104PS 1.6-litre petrol engine and the 85 PS 1.5-litre diesel mill, Renault has the likes of the Scorpio and the Safari decently covered.
But could the 110PS diesel Duster (Read: Renault Duster First Drive) just be bordering on the edge of greatness? It may still be the small SUV that everyone seems to be talking about but with the top-of-the-line RxZ variant and its extensive features list could it just entice a buyer with a bigger budget to save some cash and be happier in the process too? To put things into perspective it only made sense to pit the Duster against one of the most successful SUVs in recent times – the Mahindra XUV 5OO.
The XUV itself is a success story like no other – not really belonging to the entry level SUV segment and not quite making it up to full blown mud-plugger status either, it fills a gap that had been wide open for the longest time between the Scorpios and Safaris and the Fortuners and Pajeros of our world. With the kind of bookings that the XUV 5OO (Read : XUV500 Road Test) recorded within a month of its launch, this homegrown butch is a behemoth in its own right. Of course, the XUV costs more than the Renault but that tag difference is down to about Rs 2 lakh for the W8 2WD variant compared to the Duster’s 110PS RxZ. Suddenly, things don’t seem too much in favour of the Duster at this point!
We drive the new Renault Duster and have enough reason to believe that it can seriously upset the competition.
by Anand Mohan
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