By Otsile Kadiege
In these turbulent times, fuel efficiency has become a must-have trait for modern cars. We recently spent the Easter long weekend with Renault’s restyled and award-winning Duster. The Duster managed to achieve those accolades thanks to its stellar 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine – more on that later.
Rugged exterior design
Our restyled Comet Grey painted Renault Duster Intens test SUV features C-shaped LED daytime running lights (DRLs), auto halogen headlights and 17-inch wheels. Other highlights include faux front and rear skid plates, chrome door handles, functional roof bars, and rugged detailing throughout the vehicle.
Inside, the Duster is equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen with a multi-view camera and satellite navigation, two USB ports, fabric seats, 60:40 split rear seats and 539-litre luggage space with all seats up. Apart from commendable practicality, spaciousness, decent cabin insulation and straightforward infotainment, there’s nothing to write home about. Also, the beautifully designed fabric seats area touch too hard for my liking.
Fuel economy champion
Powering the Duster is a 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine, which Renault claims averages 4.8l/100km. The powerplant develops 80kW and 250Nm. Power is channelled through the Duster’s 4×2 drivetrain via a 6-speed auto. With a considerable amount of kilometres added to the odometer, I’ve come to realise that fuel economy is its expertise. I managed to average as low as 5.2 and as high as 5.8l/100km. The 1.5l diesel engine won’t only save you from dreaded fuel stops, it’s also quite peppy.
Ride comfort isn’t the best, however, it’s also not jarring. Its cruise control buttons are oddly placed on the centre console and aren’t backlit requiring the driver to take his/her eyes off the road. However, when activated the cruise control eases the strain of travelling long distances. Although camera quality is poor, the Duster’s Multiview cameras are a feature I didn’t expect. It makes parking and off-roading much, much easier. Despite being a 4×2 model, it handled dusty gravel roads with ease.
Safety and comfort features include ABS with EBA, ESC with HSA, blindspot warning, front and side airbags, automatic air conditioning, and a hands-free key card which automatically locks and unlocks the car depending on the distance of the key card.
Yes, the Renault Duster is far behind its peers when it comes to modernity, technology and comfort. However, its trump card is its fuel consumption which deserves a standing ovation. Should you buy one? Well, if you want a spacious, no-frills fuel-saving SUV with decent off-road credentials then the updated Renault Duster would make a buy. Pricing for the new Duster starts from R342,900.
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