Renault’s new Duster is here and ready to take the baton from its popular predecessors in the hotly contested SUV market.
The Duster has experienced a great run in South Africa with more than 21 000 units sold locally since 2013 and more than 2 million finding new owners worldwide.
The success of Duster is emphasised by its real-world capabilities instead of just posing as an SUV. The first factor is its substantial ground clearance of 210 mm, comparable with many double cab bakkies.
And although the normal 4x2 front wheel drive versions are not serious contenders for difficult off-road tracks up a mountain, it is quite capable of handling anything from pavement parking at schools to rough dirt roads.
The surprise is the 4x4 version (Dynamique), which boasts a four-wheel drive system with a transmission mode selector that allows you to choose between three different driving modes – 2WD (power to the front wheels), Automatic (power distributed to the four wheels, depending on grip) and Lock with the torque being sent equally to all four wheels.
The Duster is fitted with features such as Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control, and a 4x4 monitor to help assess the pitch and roll angles while driving. Also fitted is a reverse camera and parking sensors.
Add to this, an above average boot with a 478-litre capacity, optional accessories like a nudge bar, side steps, roof spotlights, roof rack, non-slip and waterproof boot protection, a tow bar and bicycle rack.
The new Duster range consists of the Expression entry level 1.6 (petrol engine version with 84 kW and 156 Nm) and the turbo-diesel engine version with the company’s famous 1500 dCi mill with two power outputs producing 66 kW /201 Nm and 80 kW and 250 Nm for the remaining four models in the range.
All models all very well specced with 6 airbags, electronic stability control and ABS brakes to mention a few and satnav in all but the entry level model.
Just above the petrol entry level 1.6 litre are the two TechRoad versions, one manual and one with Renault’s EDC dual clutch gearbox that functions similar to a normal automatic gearbox. Then follows the only 4x4, the Dynamique, a manual gearbox, and at the top is the Prestige 4x2 also with the EDC gearbox. The 4x4 and all EDC-models use the 88 kW-version of the diesel engine.
The Duster will see competition from the Ford EcoSport, Haval H2, Hyundai Venue and Kia Seltos.
The full Duster range and prices (October 2020:
1.6 Expression 4x2 (R289 900), 1.5 dCi TechRoad 4x2 (R327 900), 1.5 dCi TechRoad EDC 4x2 (R361 900), 1.5 dCi Dynamique 4x4 (R361 900) and the flagship 1.5 dCi Prestige EDC 4x2 (R374 900).
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