It’s no secret that the Duster did wonders for the fortunes of Renault in India. And having used the car for a few months now, it’s no surprise why the Duster clicked so well with Indian consumers. Despite it being powered by just a 1.5-litre diesel engine, the light weight of the car means that the 110PS version has more than adequate performance for our road conditions. However, the biggest selling point for the car, in my opinion at least, is the ride and handling – which is absolutely terrific.
No matter what the road conditions are like, the Duster’s ride simply smothers road imperfections and delivers a ride that’s hard to beat. In fact, it’s even more fun on the highway – where the suspension seems to get even better at higher speeds, not to mention that the car is absolutely stable and poised even at three-digit speeds. On second thought, though, the engine could use a little more power – at higher speeds especially, the Duster does seem to run out of breath.
But, there are two issues with the car that the company should look at seriously. One, the cushioning of the seats seems to be a bit lacking – my back starts hurting after spending more than two-three hours in the seat. Moreover, the seats are a bit flat and could use a bit more support in the lower back area – plus some additional side bolstering. But the biggest problem for the Duster is the age-old steering kickback issue. For some reason, the Duster’s steering rack doesn’t like road imperfections – especially when tackling curves – and has a rather aggressive kickback that can be a quite annoying on long drives. This gets worse in the hills, and can be quite a pain to handle – so that’s something which the manufacturer needs to look at urgently.
Other than these two issues, it’s hard for me to find fault with the car. It’s a pleasure to drive, both in the city and in highway conditions. Moreover, the ride-and-handling, as well as the excellent visibility due to the large glasshouse, makes the Duster an excellent everyday vehicle.