Renault Duster Hatchback First Drive Review

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Renault Duster Overview

It was in 2012 that the Renault Duster was first launched in India. It was a path-breaking SUV. It started off the compact and the sub-compact SUV segment in India paving the way for the likes of other popular models like the Ford EcoSport and the Hyundai Creta. But the model generation of the SUV remained the same. We were the first ones to tell you that India won’t get the 2nd generation Renault Duster, but will be the lead market for the 3rd Gen car. And so the current Duster gets its second big facelift to keep the sales going till the 3rd generation Duster comes by 2021. But is this facelift enough? Especially given newer rivals like the Tata Harrier, MG Hector and the soon-to-be-launched Kia Seltos have moved the benchmark in the compact SUV space much higher? Check for Renault Duster price in Bangalore at Tryaldrive.

Renault Duster Style

Those anticipating a sea change to the exterior would be disappointed to know that Renault hasn’t fiddled much with the Duster’s design. Yes, the purposeful-looking stance is still there though what’s new for this 2016 model is some garnishing to the bits that matter. The square-ish headlights, for instance, are a lot busier now and feature multiple sharp creases and the front bumper, too, is equally refreshed with dollops of brushed silver cladding.

Never is a major facelift complete without a newer set of alloy wheels and for the Duster, Renault has opted for a 5-spoke blacked-out design that seems to have been inspired from those good old die-cast models from Hot Wheels.

The new Duster also gets chunky-looking roof rails, different wing mirrors and a revised taillight cluster with funky detailing. While these new taillights retain the basic shape of the old units, they do look rather nice when lit up. Rounding off the changes, there’s a new colour option as seen on the car here. Called Cayenne orange, this shade really brings out the taut and beefy lines of the Duster.

Renault Duster Space

The interior too is familiar but the upgrades and changes made do go a long way in making it a lot more user friendly. For starters the ridiculous ORVM adjustment switch is no longer below the handbrake and has now found a new position on the driver’s side. There are also a set of new AC vents which get a lovely contrast surround option on a few select variants. The new centre console is smart and not overdone in any way.

The Duster also gets climate control now but the touchscreen infotainment system is pretty much similar to what we got earlier. That said, the screen position has been moved slightly lower than before making it difficult to read the map at a quick glance or do simple acts like playing a new song or choosing another radio station. The quality of the plastics too have improved over the early cars but there are still niggles on certain panels that continue to persist. Other features include cruise control, a reversing camera with parking sensors and GPS navigation which comes as standard on the top of the line variant.

Although Renault has skipped on the leather seat option, the fabric seats do offer a sense of richness with its dual textured. Again, as with the accents on the dashboard, certain variants like the AWD get unique fabrics and colors that do look a lot better. That said, the issue with the driver’s side seat, which tends to rock back and forth when put on its lowest setting still exists as it did on the original Duster and that, in our opinion is frankly unacceptable.

Rear seats are comfortable but do not have a 60/40 folding split. Legspace seems to have improved over the earlier car due to a scooped out front seat and the omission of the rear AC vents. That said, in a market like India, we would have much rather preferred a rear AC system instead of extra few centimeters of legspace.

Renault Duster Gearbox

As before, the Duster is available with a 104PS, 1.6-litre petrol engine, an 85PS, 1.5-litre diesel and a 110PS, 1.5-litre diesel. Again, front-wheel drive is standard though the 110PS diesel can also be opted with all-wheel drive. What is new is the option of an automated manual transmission or AMT for the 110PS front-wheel drive Duster. Renault calls the system Easy-R (to be read as ‘easier’) and, well, it does make driving in heavy traffic less of a chore. For more information on Renault Duster check Icps2016

At mild throttle inputs in average scenarios, automatic gearshifts on the six-speed ’box are timely and largely predictable. Gearshifts aren’t exactly seamless, but unlike the characteristically abrupt shifts of other AMTs, the Duster’s gearbox swaps ratios more progressively. We suspect the K9K 1.5 diesel engine’s relatively heavier flywheel has a smoothening effect. The Duster Automatic is the first AMT to come with hill-start assist too, which allows for safe getaways on an incline.

Where the Duster’s AMT unit does get caught out is when you press down hard on the accelerator, say to overtake. There’s a bit of a delay before the gearbox downshifts to the right gear and in general, there’s no escaping the characteristic AMT ‘head-nod’ or pause in power between gearshifts. Gearshifts are expectantly not as fluid as on the Creta’s more sophisticated torque converter unit, but its safe to say this is the best AMT in the market today.

The Easy-R gearbox does give drivers the option to shift manually too. In manual mode, gearshifts are nicer and what’s good is that the electronics don’t intervene with an upshift right till 5000rpm. This is an important point because it gives you better control especially through corners and on hilly roads.

Earlier Dusters were known for transmitting road shock through the steering wheel and while this has been minimised, there’s still a fair bit of judder that filters through the steering whilst cornering on rough roads. Handling on the whole though is surefooted and predictable and the Duster’s legendary ability to flatten bad roads is just as good. The suspension is one of the highlights on the Duster. While it can come across as a tad stiff at low speeds, it absorbs just about everything at higher speeds. The AWD version gets independent rear suspension that is a touch more supple and sure-footed but, as mentioned, it doesn’t come with an AMT option, which is only reserved for the front-wheel-drive version.

Renault Duster Driving

Ride quality of the Duster is also a big plus. The monocoque construction, the rigid chassis and a good match in the 215/65 R16 tyres give the Duster confident handling characteristics on the highway and winding hill roads. The suspension set up includes anti-roll bars at the front and the rear. Though very bad roads momentarily seem to leave the Duster a bit unsettled, the suspension does an excellent job of soaking up most of the challenges that regular roads throw at it. Some amount of road and wind noise seeped into the cabin in the RxL variant I was driving, but that could be a one-off. The noise was absent in the RxZ variant I drove later and I am also told by Renault engineers that considerable work has been done on insulating the cabin.

Renault Duster Safety

The New Renault Duster AMT gets safety features like ABS & EBD, along with brake assist function. There is ESP and hill-start assist too, as well as dual air-bags at the front. It also has central locking, speed sensitive door locking and driver seat belt warning. The New Renault Duster AMT is fairly feature loaded.

Renault Duster Cost in Bangalore

Renault Duster Final Thought

The Renault Duster has now got a new lease of life with so many significant updates. It looks younger, gets more appeal and also comes with the convenience of an AMT gearbox. Sure, it lacks the finesse of its direct rival, the Hyundai Creta, but otherwise it is very fun to drive and power is in abundance too. The Renault Duster has positioned itself as a very strong product in the affordable SUV space and with all these enhancements, the vehicle has just improved its own standing in the market.

Renault Captur Hatchback First Drive & Transmission

Renault Captur Overview

The Captur(pronounced Capture) is based on the same platform as the Duster SUV, which means that robustness is proven. It looks more premium as well and will offer better equipment levels too. Renault hopes that the stylish exterior will be the talking point and help the car find takers in the highly competitive SUV segment. Well that’s the plan anyway. But is there more to this car than just looks and can it beat the likes of the Hyundai Creta and Jeep Compass? That’s what we should figure out by the end of this review. Book a test drive for Captur in Tryaldrive

Check for Renault Captur On Road Price in Mumbai

Renault Captur Design & Style

The Renault Captur is designed as a crossover using the French car maker’s global design language and has been positioned as a premium offering. India gets the Captur (with a C) moniker, same as the European version, unlike the Russian version that uses ‘K’ in its name. The design is quirky on the compact SUV with the bold grille and diamond logo up front, but looks smart and likeable, and very urban too. While the standard name is Captur, Renault India has added the ‘Platine’ suffix to the top-end variants to differentiate more effectively.The Renault Captur is a lot premium and comes with some bold styling and a bunch of premium equipment. Up front we have a stylish chrome accented grille, flanked by LED headlamps with integrated daytime running lights and a primary set of C-shapped LED DRLs on the front bumper. The SUV get s faux silver skid plate as well along with some subtle lines on the bonnet that give the Captur an imposing stance

Renault Captur Cabin & Comfort

When it comes to Renault Captur interiors, there is a lot to talk about. It is one of the most attractive and premium-looking car from inside as well. The dashboard layout and design is much better than what is found on the Duster. It looks fresh, decent yet dynamic with butterfly-shaped instrument cluster, large digital speedometer with tachometer and a fuel gauge. The cabin is lighted with ambient LED lights that look really cool and premium. The plastics used are of decent quality.The top-end variant of Renault Captur features a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB connectivity options. It also supports voice command, navigation and acts as a rear camera display, when needed. However, it misses Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Other features on the inside include steering mounted controls, cruise control, electrically operated wing mirrors and automatic climate control, which is a standard feature acoss all variants.

2017 Renault Captur is quite a comfortable car. The two-tone white-and-black leatherette seats are very comfortable and they look good too. It offers good under-thigh support, knee room, back support and shoulder room, which makes Captur a perfect car for long journeys. Even three average adults on the rear won’t have any complaints regarding space and comfort. The rear gets its own set of AC vents too.

Renault Captur Engine & Gearbox

The Captur is available with both the 1.5-litre H4K petrol and K9K diesel engines. But the diesel motor will only be offered in the more powerful 110PS/245Nm tune. And this is the motor we had on test. It’s coupled to a 6-speed manual (the petrol is paired to a 5-speed manual), but considering that the Captur is aimed at a new ‘stylish’ customer, one more likely to stick to urban environments, we feel that Renault could have considered adding in the option of its Easy R-AMT transmission as well.At idle, the engine is quieter than in the Duster. But that’s more to do with the better cabin sound insulation than a different engine tune. On the move, you do get a fair bit of road and wind noise, but they sound a little softer when compared to the Duster. But in the city, where it really matters, the Captur doesn’t feel much more urbane. You have to get the K9K spinning up to over 1700rpm to make progress and, when combined with the heavy clutch, you can look forward to developing some strong left leg muscles if you do a lot of city commuting. One way to get around this is to hold either 2nd or 3rd gear for a little longer and then skip one gear on the upshift by going to 4th or 5th gear. This cuts down on the number of gear shifts on the smooth shifting gearbox, and if done right you should still be in the power band as well.

Out on the highway, the engine and gearbox are more at home and the Captur likes to stretch its long legs. From a standstill, it will hit the ton in 13.24 seconds if pushed hard. But once there, it’s happy to sit at triple-digit speeds all day. When cruising along the highway, the Captur returned a strong 21.09kmpl and in the city, that number decreased to 15.50kmpl.The suspension setup feels slightly firmer than the Duster and this means that the Captur feels a little better going around corners. At highway speeds this stiffness actually keeps the chassis more composed but at city speeds, the small imperfections like level changes and ruts are heard and felt as well. The steering feel is also great but if you push it hard through a set of corners you will feel that familiar kickback through the wheel. For a crossover SUV it’s not quite as car like to drive in the city as say the Creta for example and not quite as sporty as the looks might suggest.

Renault Captur Ride & Handling

Handling is good I have to say. surprisingly because I was worried that the rather generous 210 mm ground clearance would make it wobbly or top-heavy feeling. It is neither. The car takes corners well, though they wouldn’t go as far as to call it very sporty. Again – think Duster! So it holds an intended line, and the steering is properly stiff with decent feedback. The ride quality is also sorted and the suspension set up is indeed like the Duster’s. So it’s a supple ride, with the capability of swallowing up mostly anything. But the Captur does not get AWD, as Renault believes the buyer in this space isn’t really looking to go off-roading. And if they are then the Duster is the option for them anyway. I did mange to go off the road briefly – nothing too intense though. But the car handled it very well. Now the ground clearance certainly helped! Renault says that of all the Captur iterations worldwide, the India spec has the highest clearance. 5mm higher than Russia’s Kaptur, and our Duster!

Renault Captur Safety & Security

The list of Renault Captur safety features include Front Disc Brakes, Drum on Rear, ABS with EBD, Rear Parking Sensors, Central Locking, Driver & Passenger Airbags, Crash Sensors, Rear Seat Belts, Seat Belt Warning, Power Door Lock, Child Safety Locks, Side & Front Impact Beams, Passenger Side Rear View Mirror, Rear Camera, Centrally Mounted Fuel Tank, Engine Immobilizer, Automatic Headlamps, Follow Me Home Headlamps and ISOFIX Child Seat.In terms of features, the Captur does tick a fair number of boxes like the 7-inch touchscreen, six-speaker sound system and climate control. In terms of safety features, there’s four airbags in the top-of-the-line Platine variant (two airbags standard) and ABS with EBD, brake assist, and hill hold assist that are common across all variants

Renault Captur Cost in New Delhi

Renault Captur Ex-Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 9,99,999/- (Captur RXE Petrol) to 14,14,699/- (Captur Platine Diesel). Get best offers for Renault Captur from Renault Dealers in New Delhi. Check for Captur price in New Delhi at Carzprice

Renault Captur Conclusion

This puts it head to head in competition with the Hyundai Creta that’s nearly Rs 50,000 more expensive. The Duster which is also in the same market space is approximately, variant to variant, 1.5 lakh cheaper.Judging by the number of heads the Captur turned on our test, Renault seems to have certainly hit the mark in the design department. The better sound insulation, ergonomics and richer looking Interiors have managed to address some of the Duster’s shortcomings. However, it hasn’t gone whole hog either. The lack of automatic transmission options, the tiresome clutch and bumpy suspension feel in the city and the lack of a better infotainment system hurt its case. So, the Captur delivers on it’s promise of being a stylish and modern SUV, but somewhat halfheartedly.