Renault Duster 2017 Review

Renault Duster 2017 Front

The Renault Duster was first launched in France in 2010 and adopted the alias of the Dacia Duster in some parts of the world, and the Nissan Terrano in others. While the Duster comes in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions, this review focuses on the latter, and aims to gather just how much fun can be had behind the wheel of a budget SUV.

Claimed to be outrageously affordable, the Duster’s QAR 55,900 starting price sure is, especially when coupled with a 3 Years/100,000 Km warranty.

Key Features:  
Engine 2.0L / 4-cyl
Transmission 4-speed Automatic
Power 135 Hp / 195 Nm
Top Speed 173 km/h
Price QAR 67,000 As Tested

Exterior

Understated yet appealing, the Duster’s exterior remains fairly unchanged from its predecessor. The bulky headlamps, roof rack, vented grille and protruding bumpers, all reinforce the Duster’s off-road pretentions.

Renault Duster 2016 Side

Although it’s halogen headlamps that illuminate the road ahead, it’d be wrong to expect otherwise. Point to note, however, is that it is only the four-wheel-drive variant that rocks a set of 16-inch alloy wheels while the others make do with steel.

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Interior

Not only is the Renault Duster approximately 45% cheaper than the Nissan Qashqai, but it is also more spacious from the inside. Although it comes across as utilitarian in its design, the cabin is surprisingly roomy and offers ample amounts of head and leg room for all occupants.

Renault Duster 2016 Interior

With an evident and rather brave display of cost cutting, the Duster lacks a central arm rest, dons ultra-flimsy bits of trim, and is an ergonomic disaster. The horn is found at the end of the indicator stalk and the cruise control and speed limiter switches sit as pieces of decoration along the center console.

Renault Duster 2016 Interior - 2

But space, and that’s aplenty of! In addition to two oddly placed compartment bins along the dashboard, there are several cubbyholes for storage scattered around the cabin. Add in a capacious boot that can undoubtedly swallow two large suitcases and the Duster’s practicality begins to shine.

Safety & Features

Although the Duster is equipped with the essentials, ABS brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and a couple of airbags, it is unable to keep up with its rivals on the safety front. Awarded a three-star Euro NCAP crash rating, it lags behind the likes of the equally affordable Ford EcoSport.

2016 Renault Duster Front

Saving graces come in the form of a decent sound system, a multimedia touch screen with USB and AUX capability, a reverse camera, parking sensors, and an extremely handy speed-limiter function.

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Drive

The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that powers the Renault Duster churns out a respectable 135 horsepower and 195 Nm of torque. With an easy to operate drive mode selector and impressive approach and departure angles of 30° and 36° respectively, it’s one that is catered to the occasional outdoor enthusiast.

Renault Duster 2016 Engine

Conquering gravel and small dunes with extreme ease, the Duster is more than capable of handling milder parts of the Qatar desert. Granted, it isn’t one to challenge the Suzuki Jimny on the dunes, but that’s not to say it won’t keep trying.

Renault Duster 2016 Side - 2

Out on the tarmac, the little SUV copes with arrogant tailgaters and over speeding maniacs rather well, by offering a smooth and comfortable ride once up to speed. Averaging 5.5 liters / 100km, it isn’t a vehicle to be driven enthusiastically. However, should you wish to, the brakes are more than sufficient to bring you to a grinding halt.

Verdict

The Renault Duster carries a negative connotation in the region and is often the loudest statement of frugality. Although a tad underpowered, it offers more for a lot less than its rivals, and it’s about time that the Duster became less a display of frugality and more a display of intellect. For AED 49,900, you simply can’t go wrong.

Renault Duster 2016 Rear

Pros:

- Low price tag

- Large cabin and storage space

- 4-Wheel-Drive option for mild off-roading

Cons:

- A tad underpowered

- Interior feels dated and lacks basic features

- Lousy safety rating

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Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review
Renault Duster 2017 Review

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