2012 Auto Expo - Renault DusterBy Team Overdrive
Renault’s stall at the Auto Expo 2012 had a line-up which was quite expected. Renault chose the occasion to launch the Pulse hatchback and unveil their Duster SUV. While the Micra-lookalike Pulse is another addition to the small car segment, for Renault it is the Duster which could prove to be a crucial product in the SUV segment.
The Renault Duster has bifocal head lamps giving it a unique identity. While the Duster doesn’t break new grounds as far as design is concerned, it definitely isn’t boring as well. The split grille has a majority of the visual bulk being carried by the lower part. The lower part of the grille will be clad either in plastic or metal depending on the variant.
The Duster crucially will not be a sub 4-metre SUV and hence will miss out on the duty benefits. Its overall length is 4.31 metres and has a width of 1.82 metres. The Duster gets 16-inch alloys but whether they will be standard or not is still not clear. Though Renault has a 4x4 Duster internationally, they may not offer the 4-wheel drive option in India to begin with. Renault will be banking on the Duster’s spacious 5-seater configuration and ample luggage space to make it a success.
The Duster has 210mm ground clearance which means it is ready to tackle those ugly speedbreakers or those irritating potholes. As far as the engine is concerned, knowing the Indian obsession with diesel cars and the price of diesel in India justifying it, Renault will launch the Duster with an 110PS 1.5 dCi engine. Again, internationally, the Duster gets an auto box; however, for pricing it competitively in India, Renault may just launch it with a six-speed manual. We wouldn’t mind seeing the 135PS 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Fluence in the Duster.
Renault will be looking to heavily localise the Duster so that it can take up the challenge to Tata and Mahindra and price the Duster competitively. We estimate the pricing to be around Rs 7-9 lakh, ex-showroom making it an attractive option for the Indian family. But we wait till the exact specifications and price is out. In the meanwhile here’s Shumi’s take on the European Duster.