The Renault Duster AMT is a compact SUV that offers the best of both worlds - a fantastic ride and handling balance on one side and the ease of driving thanks to an automatic gearbox. But how is the AMT equipped Renault Duster to live with on a daily basis? Indian automobile website MotorBeam.com does an extensive long term test to find out.
The Renault Duster is quite stylish, especially in this brown shade. With its curvy but boxy design, it sure looks more appealing than its Korean counterpart. We absolutely love the new design of the wheels with their black theme and silver outlines. The new tail-light design looks beautiful and eye catchy. All this gives this car tremendous presence on the road.
The Renault Duster does feel very spacious on the inside. The seating position is comfortable with the cloth seats offering good lower thigh support but lacks side bolstering. The headroom and knee room offered is actually quite good for a vehicle of this size with boot space also being very usable. The lack of cubby spaces in the rear seat makes you wonder why wouldn't Renault consider making the rear a little more luxurious and even give rear AC vents (oh wait, they had earlier but removed them).
The music system on this car could have been better as the bass is loud enough to cause the music to sound all distorted but otherwise manages to remain clear. The touchscreen infotainment system, on the other hand, does take its own sweet time to react to your touch inputs. The cabin manages to remain quiet even at high speeds with NVH levels under control.
Visibility is not an issue in the Renault Duster but my only gripe would be with the reverse camera that isn't clear. The speedometer has a simple yet good looking design. The speedo houses information like temperature, distance to empty, mileage, two trip meters which are quite handy. The headlights offer decent visibility but the lack of projector headlamps are felt sometimes.
The car performs really well with the 1.5-litre diesel engine that belts out 110 HP, pulling nicely and strongly all the way from lower RPMs but it's the slow AMT gearbox that makes this vehicle feel lethargic while shifting cogs is a very jerky process. Each time the Duster AMT was at higher revs, it felt quite displeasing and the jerks are felt more in the city, although it does give you the convenience of clutch-free and gearshift free driving. Out on the highway though, the AMT gearbox is a charm as you don't do as many gearshifts. The Duster comes with an Eco mode that makes gear shifts a little smoother and composed.
The brakes offer really good bite and inspire confidence and even the pedal offers good feel, being surefooted under heavy or sudden braking. The Duster handles quite well with body roll feeling controlled and the chassis being communicative. The steering wheel offers plenty of feedback, sometimes more than that's needed but this is a very fun car to drive.
The ride quality is supple and tackles our roads with ease but each time you go over a speed-breaker even a little faster than usual, you'll notice the traction control light goes on each time which is both a good and bad thing. The car is very stable at high speeds and inspires confidence to push hard around both the straights and corners. All in all, the Renault Duster is a very capable car which is indeed made for the unstoppable Indian.