Despite the naysayers and a host of other factors that were supposed to go against it, Renault Duster SUV has still managed to take India by storm. Size matters, and when it comes to cars in India, it definitely matters. Indianís obsession with SUVs is not a hidden fact, but what stops people here from buying these big cars is the higher maintenance cost and low fuel economy, and that is where the compact crossovers come into play. Earlier, the formula didnít make an impact on the Indian customers, but when last year the French car manufacturer Renault rolled out the Duster, it actually kick-started the culture of compact crossovers in India.
Renault Duster, a compact SUV based on the Logan platform, even uses Loganís engine as well, delivered what Indians seek in a car - big dimension, fuel economy and status. The Duster SUV has already proven its caliber as an urban vehicle, and to test its abilities on highways during long runs, we recently took this voluptuous machine for a cross-country drive from Chennai to Delhi. We chose the more powerful Duster 110PS variant for this expedition, which uses a 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine equipped with a Variable Geometry Turbo. The 6-speed transmission on board transfers a maximum power output of 108.5bhp and peak torque of 248Nm to the front wheels, which give you the confidence to drive it on almost any sort of a terrain. When in motion, the engine starts to pull at around 1750rpm after an initial lag, which having been covered caters to punchy drive. Duster SUV feels refined most of the time and it reaches the 4000rpm redline mark with ease.
The Duster has a well planned out and spacious cabin, which gives a very airy feeling and the large glass area provides a perfect view of the surroundings. Front bucket seats give you proper back and under-thigh support, and the positioning of the seats helps to give a proper view of the road. The Duster SUV cabin has been designed ergonomically; however, some of the controls have been placed in the typical French manner, which take a little bit of time getting used to. We also liked the integrated music system featuring AUX-In and USB connectivity.
We drove Renault Duster on some of the worst and best roads during