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MouthShut Score

78%
3.64 

Leg Room:

Dealer Satisfaction:

Mileage:

Comfort:

Reliability:

Appeal:

Rs. 7,95,000 (Ex-Showroom)

Renault

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Pretoria, South Africa India
Looking to buy a Duster?
Feb 06, 2016 07:07 PM 23290 Views (via Mobile)
(Updated Feb 06, 2016 08:13 PM)

Leg Room:

Dealer Satisfaction:

Mileage:

Comfort:

Reliability:

Appeal:

Okay, so I have had my Renault Duster for a month now. It's a 2015 dci 2x4. It's quite some getting used to from my previous car, which is not a bad thing. It's a different kind of animal if I can say that. Little things. But once you are used to them your focus is on the ride quality and the quietness of the cabin noise etc, which is very nice, and that steers away from the very plastic lightweight interior. But I'll get into that a little later.


So, my previous car was a 2013 Polo GTI, with a lot of bells and whistles. DST gearbox, flappy-paddles, panoramic sunroof, leather interior. But Zero space. Let's say my arse itched for one, and buying it was a financial stupid move with the depreciation etc. But, fun to drive! Very very quick off the line! Loads of overtaking power and VW quality that we all should know about. Can't fault the quality much. So that's where I am coming from. No space. High quality. Power. Although, the 1.5 turbo diesel has plenty torques! 240 torques is plenty from such a small little engine! The Polo GTI was limited to 250 torques due to the limitations of the dsg gearbox. So, put that into perspective.


So why, you ask, did I buy a Duster?


I was looking for cabin space- a family car. I bought the GTI when I was single and itching for a sexy car. So I got the T-shirt. I think I am married with a baby now because of the GTI? Could be a possibility. So that was the problem. The kiddies chair on the back seat behind the front passenger, I had to move the passenger chair forward. My wife sits behind me to be next to our baby, I got to move my chair forward. Big pram in the boot, I got to remove the back board and the boot is full. Just the pram! Any luggage or shopping went on the front seat. Man - did I have a problem! So the hunt for a car with space. And let's face it - SUVs are expensive!


The Duster comes at a very comparative price. There are a lot of reasons why it is priced this way. It is, in fact, built to a price with its cheap plastic interior and plastic exterior door handles and many cheap plastic parts, but with that said, is got one heck of a warrantee! 5 year, 150 000km warrentee. So the manufacturers are pretty confident then. I think it's related to a cheap kettle. You know the one with no cordless base and no automatic off switch. Those plastic white ones. For some reason the don't die! They land up being the shameful spare kettle under the zinc. The fancy brushed stainless steel ones with led lights and auto everything always last a year and costs too much to repair.


So let's first of all have a look at the things I don't like:


So let's see. As I have mentioned already, the exterior door handles are super lightweight plastic. They have a "I am going to break next time you touch me" feel. They have been painted grey. "Wow!" You might say. The doors feel a little lightweight too, especially the back doors. Closing them you get a weird'clunck' noise. Comparing to the VW, there's always a heavy solid quality feel to them, especially when you close a VW's door. This is the opposite feeling with the Duster. The plastics in the door interior is hard scratchy hollow plastic. Same with the dash board. With all this said, the Duster is pretty light compared to other SUV's. So if this was their tactic then okay. It's not treble because weight does effect power and acceleration and fuel economy. So okay I will live with that.


Moving on from quality to ergonomics. They are quite bad! That's in a nutshell. The side mirror adjustments are normal, with the usual little joy stick knob, but under the handbrake! It's in such a stupid place, I tend to think they forgot about it completely and as a last resort just put it there. But if you are the main driver, then you don't need to adjust these ever so not too much of a big deal. Here is a big one: you cannot adjust the instrument cluster lighting brightness. This includes the dash board lighting. Noop. No adjustment. It's not bright at all. But it's not too dim either. There is just no way you can adjust it. They did not think about it? I mean after "Dave" forgot about the mirror adjusting knobby they just fired the guy. I would like to adjust it a little brighter. But yeah. The satnav multimedia system does sit a little bit low. I have read reviews where everyone bitches about it, but I can live with it. A least it is not distracting while you are driving. I mean there are positives for it being there. The system works very very well. That is very high quality, except for the speakers they put in the 4 doors. They are rubbish! Tiny little magnets, 5" 1 way single cone. They are junk. They are alright if you are listening to normal levels of music or the news, but the second there is a nice tune and you want to pick up the volume they all distort. Adjusting the bass on the touch screen all the time is a pain in the arse and dangerous. This is the equivalent to texting on your smart phone while driving. So no. Okay so moving on. The cabby hole in front of the front passenger is small. The side pockets in the doors are narrow and deep. So they might accommodate a 500ml bottle but that's it. I keep having to fish my wallet out of it. A 1.5l bottle will only fit on top on the dash board in front of the passenger side. in the sun. So no. Why would you want to do that? The air-conditioning on a hot sunny day is pathetic. If you sitting in front of the vents, they must be on your person in order for you not to break out in a sweat. If you are sitting in the back you are going to die slowly or have to crack a window. This is even with the air on recycling mode. That's about it that I have to moan about. One last thing I have noticed. The headlight adjustment switch is basically two bicycle cables running into the engine compartment to the lights, mechanically adjusting the height. Cheap perhaps, but at least it's not motors that cost a fortune to replace so what's the problem with that then? It's okay. It works simply.


Onto the good stuff:


Okay so, this. mini. SUV has got decent space! Very decent. I am not a tall man, but I am not short either. I like a stretched out driving position. So my legs must be stretched out to the pedals and my arms must have a slight bend in them. Which makes me think of another irritation with the Duster. In this normal driving position, the electric window controls are out of reach. You have to lean forward to reach the controls on the door. Then when you think you are opening your driver's window, the window behind you opens. You got to stretch even more forward to get the drivers window control. Stupid positioning! Okay back to the good stuff. So front chair in my driving position, I can get into the back very easily with plenty leg room! My wife now sits behind me now without me adjusting my chair. So a tick there! The boot is really big! I am not going to go into too much details there. It really is huge! Seats recline, 40:60 split. The ride height is awesome too! Really feels like a full size SUV. Driving position also gives that illusion with the long bonnet and smaller windows behind you, and the fact that you are slightly higher than everyone else. The ride comfort and noise is excellent at 120km/h too. You do not hear the engine at this speed at all. At idling, the diesel engine is rattly. But you only hear that outside. Inside the cabin it is very quiet. The exhaust is super silent. Really. Absolutely no noise! Just blowing hot air from the spoiling turbo. Road noise is low. Wind noise is low. The electric windows are silent. High quality feel there. There is no one-touch operation on any of the windows. I like the parking sensors as standard. They should never be fully trusted. They are just there as assistance. But they work pretty well! The whole satnav multimedia system I can't fault. Very easy to use. You can find the closest mc Donalds or closest Absa Bank or just about anything for that matter. It has a lot of useful features. The Bluetooth integrated system works perfect too. I have a blackberry and the system does everything. Streaming over the audio system is good! You can scroll through the album list from the touch screen as well. Seats are comfortable. Ride is as solid as a high SUV can be. I find it pretty perfect considering.


There is plenty power from the 1.5l turbo diesel engine. Short 6 speed gearbox ensures that you are always in the peek turbo range. It is a short range, but that's normal from a diesel. Turbo range is from 2200 revs to about 3500 revs effectively. The Duster tops out at about 160 km/h. Basically runs out of effective turbo revs. And that's not too bad considering it's a soft, high ride, SUV pushing through the air. It does 140 km/h comfortably. 170km/h is a stretch, heating that little turbo up badly I would imagine. So come on, it is what it is. Fuel consumption is a huge selling point on this car. I have been getting 15km/l and I do have a bit of a heavy foot. That's to work and back, shops, and some highway driving too, and some rural back roads too. All n all a pretty mixed urban and open road driving, all with the ac on. I have heard of people getting 20 to 21 km/l going on holiday with it. So really, I am pretty impressed with the power and fuel economy from this little engine!


Acceleration is pretty good if you are trying to impress someone. You might think it's a 2.0 TD engine the way it pulls! Very impressive! But, you got to be in the right gears, because if you are under 2000 revs then you got some serious turbo lag! You have zero power. There is one road that I turn left into, everyday on my way back home from work. I drive over a speed-bump then turn left into a road that is a pretty steep uphill. Second gear- because I can't go into first because I am still moving forward- I sit with massive turbo lag going up the hill in second, just above 1000 revs. I just "ride it out" until the turbo wakes up. The alternative is, stop. 1st gear and gun it, or fly over the speed bump and take the left turn with speed so that I am over 2000 revs to accelerate up the hill. So just that scenario, the turbo lag is a huge pain. But I have come to realize that it is just at that road.


So overall? I am loving it! Love the space and the power and ride comfort. The plastics and bad ergonomics give it character. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just a little quirky. It's a very honest mini SUV.


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