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Renault has created a compact family SUV that’s been designed predominantly for road use but has real off-roading credentials – a 210mm ground clearance and better arrival and departure angles than its competition. Hills come at me! Renault’s starting price is just below R260K. In today’s terms, that is competitive, albeit it’s important to note that this is the starting price for the bog-standard Expression version of the Duster. The Duster tops out at R340k for the Prestige flagship model.
The Duster, now in its second incarnation, is bolder and more refined than ever before. Even more so with a visual refresh, as of late in 2019. A quick differentiator is the striking 17” Diamond Cut wheels with red caps. Visually, it is unique with a distinctive character, setting it apart from other cars on the road, like its retro predecessor but objectively better. It now looks more substantial, feels better made and looks deservedly dynamic while retaining its uniqueness.
The interior is also vastly improved over its predecessor, albeit to keep costs down, all plastics are firm to the touch, like a Tupperware container. The refresh sees a redesigned interior with improved quality finishes and a range of new equipment to ensure heightened comfort and superb driving pleasure. There is now a Rear-View Camera and including onboard GPS Navigation. Now with Smartphone mirror compatibility, today’s top contenders are Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto.
Where the interior excels is in its utility, space and practicality.
The Duster’s chassis is also better engineered than before – feeling firmer while being supple to drive. Steering is lighter - making for easy parking. If your budget can afford it, I strongly suggest purchasing the automatic EDC model. The EDC is a good double-clutch gearbox that seamlessly splices through its six gears. Unfortunately, this gearbox is only mated to the pricier 1.5dCi motor. There is nothing wrong with the motor. In fact, the motor is actually very good. There is 80kW/250 Nm on tap. That’s enough power to see the Duster hitting 100km/h in 11.9 seconds. That’s adequate for day-to-day use. Impressively, this engine sips on fuel at a rate of 5l per 100km. If keeping the buying cost low as a priority, then opt for the 1.6l petrol motor that’s mated to a 5-speed manual for R260K.
Keeping up with the times, the Duster comes with features like Rear Park Distance Control, Hill Start Assist, Blind Spot, Multiview Camera, Detection Keyless Entry – a hands-free card that automatically unlocks the doors as you approach the vehicle, automatically locking the car as you walk away.
Two points worth noting are is its boot loading capacity of up to 478L and if you’re a real adventurer, then the Duster has real off-road capabilities with the option of the 4x4 model.
Should you buy a Renault Duster? Consider your needs first. If you are part of an active family or are an outdoorsy person that enjoys adventure over the weekends and holidays, then I’d suggest the Duster 4 x 4. If you and your family enjoy popping into the mall or stopping at boulevard cafes, then I’d recommend you consider the vast list below.
Honda BR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Opel Mokka X, Peugeot 2008, Fiat Panda and Toyota Rush, Ford EcoSport, Haval H2, Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, Mahindra XUV300, Suzuki Vitara, VW T-Cross.
1.6 Expression R260 900
1.5 dCi TechRoad R298 900
1.5 dCi TechRoad Auto R332 900
1.5 dCi TechRoad AWD R332 900
1.5 dCi Prestige R340 900
Service and warranty
The All-New Renault Duster Model range comes standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. Services take place at 15 000km intervals, and a standard 3-year/45000km service plan applies.
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