Renault Kenya launched the Renault Duster 2*4 in 2015 and have as recently as Thursday launched the revamped facelifted 4 wheel drive version of the same car. The duster is aiming to enter the market as a Crossover SUV offering quality at very competitive prices. The Renault Duster has been doing very well in sales globally and we took the time to understand why.
The Renault Duster is available either as a front wheel drive 1.6 litre petrol or a 4 wheel drive 1.5 litre diesel (dCi). The power from both engines is different, with the 1.6L petrol pushing out 102 bhp with 145 Nm of torque to the 110 bhp and 245 Nm of torque from the 1.5L Diesel. They both have manual transmission although with the 1.6L petrol, you get a 5 speed manual as opposed to the 6 speed manual on the 1.5L Diesel. Both come standard with ABS with Emergency Braking Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Emergency brake-force distribution reduces the chances of spinning out of control in-case of emergency braking which is an added safety feature. The front brakes are disc while the rear brakes are drum on both cars.
Fuel efficiency on both cars is pretty decent at 7.6 liters per 100kms full circle on the 1.6L Petrol and a rather impressive 5.2 Litres full circle on the 1.5L Diesel per 100kms.
While it is not impressive, the interior on the Duster is adequate. The main selling points are the space both at the front and the rear. The plastic on the dash and knobs are solid but not spectacular. They feel like they were built for durability in mind as opposed to aesthetics in mind. The 1.6L petrol model however has more luggage space at the back although the overall quality of the interior by comparison goes to the 1.5 Diesel Duster. The 1.5L diesel Duster is a vast improvement in seat comfort and overall feel of the interior when compared to the Petrol model.
They both come with 4 20W speakers, A radio, CD player and a USB port. You can pair your phone to the car using Bluetooth on both. The Diesel model however, comes with a 7” media touchscreen as standard.
Comfort and Safety
Driving on the Renault Duster is comfortable enough and you are within easy reach of all your essentials, including media control buttons on or near the steering wheel. On the Petrol model, the media control buttons are behind the wheel while on the Diesel model, they are on the wheel itself together with the Cruise control buttons, which is more efficient.
The ride height and the short wheel base mean that you are likely to feel the bumps more on the road especially when going over rumble strips. The 4 wheel drive model is excellent off-road with the suspension keeping you comfortable over the rough patches. Both cars come with Anti-Grit protection, a dust protective kit and reinforced suspension as standard. The 210mm ground clearance also means that you rarely have to worry about the underside of the car striking things on the road as you drive.
As standard, the Duster comes with a driver and a passenger side airbag. ABS brakes with Emergency Brake Assist and Brake-force distribution mean that braking is safer in the Renault Duster. The 4 wheel drive diesel however has better safety features including the hill start assist.
The Renault Duster is a solid car. The drive feels comfortable and the engine is quiet enough at low speeds. At between 90kph and 120Kph however, you can feel the revs getting higher and the noise increases noticeably. Shifting gears on the Duster is smooth enough, although the short gear ratios might be a challenge to someone not used to driving on a manual transmission. The fact that the levers used to turn on the indicators (Or turning signal for some) is on the left of the steering wheel as opposed to the right like most of us are used to.
What we liked: Solid; Practical; Spacious; Fuel Economy; Gives you the chance to try it off road.
What we didn’t like: Plastic interior could be much better; Could use more cubby holes and small storage spaces; The engine does tend to get a bit rough/noisy at certain speeds.
There is a sense of reliability to the Duster. Fuel economy is decent, with the 1.6L Petrol averaging 13.1Km/L and the 1.5 diesel averaging 16.5 Km/L on our test drive. It is a practical, solid car that offers reliability and comfort with enough space and the chance to be great off road. For the price, it is definitely a family car worth considering a lot.