- Image gallery
The Renault Duster has finally been launched in South Africa and expectations are high for this compact SUV. With engine sizes shrinking and fuel prices growing it is no wonder people have their eyes on this fast-growing segment. The Duster is a first for Renault and it’s not a bad start.
The styling is chunky yet simple. The rear arches, high ride height and wide front with oversized headlamps give the Duster a robust look. This simple styling carries through in to the cabin; some might even refer to it as rugged. The build quality does not feel great due to the hard plastics used and appears a bit bland but Renault has opted to use a touchscreen interface, which includes sat-nav as standard. Also included on this model are air-conditioning and electric windows. The height adjustable seat and steering wheel fared well with me as I can struggle to find a suitable driving position with my short-ish legs. Speaking of legs, the legroom in the Duster is impressive, even for the rear passengers. There is more than enough luggage space with 296 dm3.
The 1,5-litre dCi engine is powerful enough and overtaking acceleration is strong in all six gears. This small-capacity, four-cylinder, turbocharged unit puts out 80 kW and 240 N.m of torque. The sixth gear makes for less engine strain and therefore more relaxed driving, even if engine and road noise can be intrusive. The fuel consumption is claimed at 5,6 litres/100 km.
The Duster’s ride quality is smooth and it handles well owing to the tall tyre sidewalls and sophisticated rear suspension. Take the Duster off-road and it is more than capable. The part-time four-wheel-drive system ensures enough torque to get you out of some tricky situations – not too tricky of course – but traversing gravel roads or steep slopes is no problem for the Duster. When it comes to safety, this model has six airbags, ABS, and ESP.
Renault has tapped in to this market with a great product and I foresee a number of Dusters on our roads. People with an active lifestyle who need the space but who are not only conscious about fuel consumption but also price will find the perfect fit with the Duster. Like a few of the CAR team have noted, the Duster does not pretend to be anything other than what it is: practical, spacious, capable and reasonably priced.
Look out for a full road test in the October issue of CAR, on sale 23 September.
Model: Renault Duster 1,5 dCi Dynamique
Price: R239 900
Engine: 1,5-litre, 4-cyl, turbodiesel
Power: 80 kW/4 000 r/min
Torque: 240 N.m/2 550 r/min
0-100 km/h: 14,9 secs
Top speed: 158 km/h
Fuel consumption: 5,6 L/100 km
CO2: 137 g/km
Service plan: 3 years/45 000 km
All manufacturer’s claimed figures