Will the Renault Duster dust off its Opponents?
After the Mahindra Renault partnership went behind the curtains, the French auto maker never happened to taste big volumes in the Indian auto industry. The Fluence, their flagship model in the D-Segment though a masterpiece of French design didn’t get to win the likes of Chevrolet Cruze or Skoda Laura for the lack of a substantially powerful diesel engine. Koleos seemed quiet upmarket and pricey. Though their joint venture company’s Micra got doing well in the Indian market, its re-skinned version the Renault pulse failed to see some strong figures on the Indian Roads. Seems that Renault and the Indian folks got a rather ill chemistry working in between. Or may be its something to do with the French and India.
But its too early to predict Renaults fate, as the French car maker is already placing great hopes on its most crucial launch in India “The Renault Duster”. With an initial unveiling at the 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo and the Chennai Plant working in full swing it surely sends a strong message that “The French is here to Stay”. Its one car, with which Renault simply can’t go wrong with.
The Renault Duster, as it is known in India and in many other parts of the world, comes from the Stable of Renault’s Romanian subsidiary Dacia. Initially launched in Europe as Dacia Duster resembles in name to an earlier mid-size SUV model in the 1980 which was initially named ARO 10.
The Duster for India is specifically customised for Indian tastes and preferences. This is one car which is elegantly aggressive. Duster sports a pair of Huge front dual headlamps cluster which gives it a rather large look for a car of its size. The straight muscular lines all through out the body, the massive grill and the front bumper silver toned under coat gives out an off-roading image which may be seldom met with what it has under the hood.
It comes with three engine variants a 1.6 K4M engine Petrol variant a 1.5 dCi K9K HP Diesel variant and 1.5 dCi K9K THP performance tuned Diesel variant.
While the 1.6 lit Petrol engine churns up a max torque of 145 Nm @ 3750 rpm and a max power of 104 PS @ 5850 rpm (5850 being an unreasonable rpm) the 1.5 dCi K9K HP Diesel variant gives out 200 Nm of torque @ 1900 rpm (A very much achievable rpm figure) and a max Power of 85 PS @ 3750 rpm. 1.5 dCi K9K THP is a performance tuned version of the 1.5 dCi K9K Diesel engine tuned much in tandem with the engine that does duty in the Renault Fluence. It gives out 248 Nm Max. Torque @ 2250 rpm which is more an SUV tuning as compared to, 240 Nm of Max. Torque @ 2000 rpm that the Fluence engine delivers. The engines max. power gets to be 110PS @ 3900 rpm.
On the Creature comforts front it does a descent job with the top end variant sporting almost every creature comports that’s expected of a car of this day. For the base variant and others ABS/EBS and Airbags are not standard equipment and comes in the form of option packs.
The crucial factor for a car of this type is the prize and a Rs. 7,99,000 for the base model Diesel variant is a rather not-so-attractive prize tag considering it comes close to the more power powerful M&M Scorpio which sports a 2.1 lit engine. So, the volumes could be expected from the family car market were a lack of a car of this type is greatly felt. The car could also expect the likes of potential top end Maruti Suzuki Ertiga buyers.