New 2016 Renault Duster Facelift AWD and AMT Review : Dusted and Buffed

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Added in: Renault

New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia (32)

The Renault Duster has been sweeping a lot of SUV leeches off their feet in India since launch. Gaining popularity over the years for its robust driving dynamics, paired to a reliable, punchy motor, it’s a notch above the pseudo SUVs the market is being carpet bombed with these days.

During the media drive for the new 2016 Duster, Renault did mention that they don’t see any competition from these sub-4 meter products. It is squarely aimed at the discerning consumer who genuinely loves exploring the outdoors, rather than being seen driving something that only creates a visual illusion of capability, but might develop cold feet when you take it off tarmac.

New 2016 Renault Duster front right (28)

What cooks within the mind of an average consumer is an entirely different broth though, and when wanting to upgrade from his 6-year old Chevy Aveo, a potential customer did ask us if between the Brezza, the Creta and the 2016 Duster, what should he be putting his money on?

Since changes on the car are more evolutionary, we’ll talk about the fresh wipes which the French have added to the new Duster and try to figure if it sweeps our roads any better.

Changes on the Outside

New 2016 Renault Duster Hawk Eye headlamps(10)

Trust everyone these days to call fancy names for new things they dish out for you. So the 2016 Renault Duster gets what they call ‘Hawk Eye’ cluster headlamps, where designers have played with some geometrical shapes within that little housing to make it pack some funk. However, some will be disappointed when they know that what looks like DRLs are mere chrome lined highlights.

New 2016 Renault Duster wing slat grille (10)

The next noticeable change to the face is a new dual winged front grille finished in chrome, which gets a wide patterned mesh grille beneath.

New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia(11)

Lower down in the chin area, the handlebar moustache like styling element around the air dam now comes finished in silver instead of black. ‘Firefly’ fog lamps get a differently styled housing, while a honeycomb pattern webs itself around the air dam.

New 2016 Renault Duster ORVM with indicator (12)New 2016 Renault Duster Gun metal alloy wheels(14)

Mirrors now come with embedded indicators and can be electrically folded and adjusted, while 16″ alloy wheels now get a Gun Metal finish.

New 2016 Renault Duster roof rail (20)

What has also changed is how the roof rails look. What used to be rounded, has become flat now.

New 2016 Renault Duster side profile(27)

Old school door handles remain and so do those chunky, muscular wheel arches.

New 2016 Renault Duster waterfall tail light pattern (15)

At the rear, tail-lamps have been infused with a modern looking LED input that lights up like the letter ‘S’, sandwiched between uniquely patterned brake lights.

New 2016 Renault Duster rear head on(35)

Everything else at the back is just the same.

New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (4)

Action Shot credit: Yatharth Chauhan

Oh and you can now buy the Duster in a new shade of ‘Cayenne Orange’.

What’s new inside?

New 2016 Renault Duster cabin view (71)

The very first thing you’d notice if you’ve ever been a passenger in the outgoing Duster is the reduction of utilitarian feel to things. It hasn’t transformed, but the cabin exudes a ‘nice’ feeling now. Interiors are two-tone still, but beige has been kicked out in favour of chocolate brown, which turns grey in the top-of-the-line AWD variant.

New 2016 Renault Duster center console (46)

The center console is now surrounded in brushed silver and comes finished in glossy black (you’ll have to buy a separate duster to keep it shining).

New 2016 Renault Duster cruise control switch (50)

Switches which were placed at odd locations in the outgoing car, find their way home, but some, like the cruise control switch continue to reside where they shouldn’t be, except if they’re on a car sold exclusively in France.

New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (105)New 2016 Renault Duster AC control panel(44)

Driver’s side window gets an auto up-down feature, his seat gets an armrest and automatic Air-conditioning is only available on the top variant.

New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(83) New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(84)

A voice compatible touchscreen system with navigation also doubles up as screen for the rear camera.

New 2016 Renault Duster doorpad(76)

Soft touch buttons feel much better to operate now, while flashy elements like chrome surrounds around the AC vent, brushed silver around the door handles, steering wheel and the utility area under the handbrake try and add some zing to the cabin.

New 2016 Renault Duster rear center armrest (78)

The cabin retains its qualities of being a comfortable space to be in and that is marginally improved by an armrest that makes an appearance on the rear bench.

New 2016 Renault Duster dashboard engraving(42)

Just in case you carry passengers who don’t know which car they’re in, but would want to know, they can now read it on the area above the dashboard.

Is it easier to drive?

New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (5)

Action Shot credit: Yatharth Chauhan

Oh yes, now it is! The 2016 Renault Duster can now be bought with a 6-speed AMT box, available on the 110 PS variants. People who like to shift themselves can still select between the 105 PS petrol and 85 & 110 PS diesel engines. There have been no changes to the powertrain, except for a new ‘CMO10’ engine compartment that promises better driveability, while a more modern electrical architecture promises enhanced reliability. Also, the Duster’s AWD variant will only come with a manual box. Which is how it should be, for the purists at least!

New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (6)

Action Shot credit: Yatharth Chauhan

First things first, the 6-speed AMT box on the 2016 Renault Duster doesn’t compromise on fuel efficiency and promises to return the same efficiency figure as a manual. However, rather than being a technological marvel, it is a basic blessing that takes the pain of one extra pedal off from everyday, congested driving conditions. And it’ll help if you look at it that way, because if you look at the competition, a CVT or a dual clutch arrangement would’ve taken costs too far up north.

New 2016 Renault Duster AMT shifter (40)

In auto mode, as my colleague likes to put it, it does feel like you’ve hired another invisible human to shift gears for you, and that person’s rather relaxed in the way he shifts gears. He’d also want you to nod every time he does that for you, as a sign of acceptance. There is a perceptible amount of lag between clutch actuation, gear change and release. Also, the system doesn’t kick down in time when one has to make a move on, and is rather late to comprehend your right foot actions. But in congested, slow speed situations, it does its job fairly well and saves your left foot from a lot of beating. It also has creep functionality, which means even your right foot will send you blessings in stop-go traffic conditions.

If you feel enthusiastic, the 6-speed AMT box has a manual mode, where shifts are again handled by your relaxed, invisible friend, but you get to decide when and how often he gets to work. We also experienced the engine to be a tad more driveable lower down the revs, in comparison to how it feels on the outgoing car.

New 2016 Renault Duster AWD switch(105)

We did drive the AWD version for a fair distance, on the road, where working through the 6-speed manual gearbox felt like a joyful affair. Shifts are short, nippy and the stick slots through gates in a crisp manner. Like the older car, the new Duster AWD too comes fitted with the same electronically controlled four wheel drive system that lets you switch between FWD only, an ‘Auto’ mode that transmits some drive to the rear wheel when the front starts hunting for grip and a ‘Lock’ mode that sends power to all four wheels. If you breach anything above 60 kph, the system automatically falls back to ‘Auto’ mode.

New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (3)

Action Shot credit: Yatharth Chauhan

The 2016 Renault Duster, like the outgoing car, scores outstandingly well when it comes to ride quality and like its posture suggests, it rides reassuringly flat. That feisty steering still fights back around corners though, but the planted demeanour overshadows that behaviour. Unlike pseudo SUVs, the Renault Duster looks and feels rugged, is solidly built and takes on the rough with aplomb.

Verdict

New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia (33)

You can’t blame clever marketing. You see, most of the car buying populace will want to buy an SUV for the way it looks, for the intimidating message they think it conveys and they’d hardly ever drive to places where an SUV really shines out. To them, a sub-4 meter, tall product makes complete sense if it looks good enough to serve their purpose.

New 2016 Renault Duster rear left three quarters (62)

And then are those who like to look at things with a functional perspective. People who aren’t victims of clever and sometimes sly marketing gimmicks and look at things skin deep. For them, nothing can replace what a house feels like after some manual cleaning and dusting. For them, Colin and newspaper still work best. These people hardly ever bother to be interested in buying a house cleaning robot or a fancy dishwasher that fails to clear the grime that Indian food leaves behind. Go on, pick up that Duster and do your own cleaning, if those teeny electronic minions are not your kind of things.

New 2016 Renault Duster Facelift Price (Ex-showroom Delhi)

  • Renault Duster RxE Petrol – INR 8.47 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 85 PS Base 4X2 MT – INR 9.27 lakhs
  • Renault Duster RXL Petrol – INR 9.27 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 85 PS RxE 4X2 MT – INR 9.47 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 85 PS RXL 4X2 MT – INR 10.27 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 85 PS RXS 4X2 MT – INR 10.77 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 110 PS RXL 4X2 MT – INR 11.07 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 85 PS RXZ 4X2 MT – INR 11.47 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 110 PS RXL 4X2 AMT – INR 11.67 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 110 PS RXZ 4X2 MT – INR 12.27 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 110 PS RXZ 4X2 AMT – INR 12.87 lakhs
  • Renault Duster 110 PS RXZ 4X4 MT – INR 13.57 lakhs

New Renault Duster Specification

  • Length: 4315mm
  • Width: 1822mm
  • Height: 1695mm (with roof rails)
  • Wheelbase 2673mm
  • Engine capacity: 1461cc, 2 valves per cylinder SOHC;  Turbo VGT
  • Power: 110ps at 4000rpm; Torque 245Nm at 1750rpm
  • Kerb weight: 1406kg (AWD)
  • Tyre size: 215/65 R16
  • Front suspension: Independent Pseudo Mcpherson
  • Rear suspension: Multi-Link
  • Boot volume: 410L (AWD). 475L (4×2)
  • Fuel tank volume: 50 litres
New 2016 Renault Duster wing slat grille (10)
New 2016 Renault Duster waterfall tail light pattern (15)
New 2016 Renault Duster steering wheel (39)
New 2016 Renault Duster runniong board (70)
New 2016 Renault Duster roof rail (20)
New 2016 Renault Duster roof light (56)
New 2016 Renault Duster rear seat (65)
New 2016 Renault Duster rear left three quarters (62)
New 2016 Renault Duster rear center armrest (78)
New 2016 Renault Duster parcel tray (67)
New 2016 Renault Duster ORVM with indicator (12)
New 2016 Renault Duster left rear three quarters (36)
New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (6)
New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (5)
New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (4)
New 2016 Renault Duster In motion (3)
New 2016 Renault Duster Glovebox (48)
New 2016 Renault Duster glossy center console (82)
New 2016 Renault Duster front right (28)
New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia (34)
New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia (33)
New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia (32)
New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia (31)
New 2016 Renault Duster front bumper (32)
New 2016 Renault Duster ECO switch (47)
New 2016 Renault Duster door handle (68)
New 2016 Renault Duster cruise control switch (50)
New 2016 Renault Duster chrome ring around ac vent (80)
New 2016 Renault Duster central storage area (57)
New 2016 Renault Duster center console (46)
New 2016 Renault Duster carbon fiber finished mirror (106)
New 2016 Renault Duster cabin view (71)
New 2016 Renault Duster boot space (66)
New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (108)
New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (107)
New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (106)
New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (105)
New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (104)
New 2016 Renault Duster AWD cabin (91)
New 2016 Renault Duster AMT shifter (40)
New 2016 Renault Duster steering controls(109)
New 2016 Renault Duster side profile(27)
New 2016 Renault Duster side profile left(60)
New 2016 Renault Duster RHS head light(33)
New 2016 Renault Duster rear(18)
New 2016 Renault Duster rear three quarters(19)
New 2016 Renault Duster rear head on(35)
New 2016 Renault Duster passenger seat(75)
New 2016 Renault Duster instrument cluster(5)
New 2016 Renault Duster Hawk Eye headlamps(10)
New 2016 Renault Duster Hawk Eye headlamps(9)
New 2016 Renault Duster Gun metal alloy wheels(14)
New 2016 Renault Duster front right three quarters(7)
New 2016 Renault Duster front left(58)
New 2016 Renault Duster front fascia(11)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(92)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(91)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(90)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(89)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(88)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(87)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(86)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(85)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(84)
New 2016 Renault Duster AVN system(83)
New 2016 Renault Duster AC control panel(44)

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