Sometimes in life, things just seem to fall apart when everything seems to be going to plan, and at other times, just when you think there is some chaos about to descend, a sudden ray of light shines through to improve things. Something similar happened to me recently, with my long term Creta bound to be returned, as its tenure was over, I was in the hunt for a new long-termer to replace it, and lo and behold, I receive a call from Renault India asking if I would like to run the facelifted Duster as a long-termer.
As one would expect, I said yes before they could even finish asking the question and soon enough, an Amazon Green specimen was parked below my house, waiting for me to drive it. As some of you might remember, I’ve run the pre-facelift Duster as a long-termer in the past, and thankfully, even the facelifted version I now run is a 110PS AWD version, but this time in top-of-the-line RxZ trim.
First impressions of the facelift do make a different impression compared to the earlier version, for instance with climate control, and better detailing to the interiors, the Duster feels much better interior-wise. Though nowhere near class-leading, the changes make for a refreshing change and give it some distinction from the old car. Interestingly, on the newer version, Renault has chosen to remove the rear a/c vent from the Duster, which seems like an odd move. However, an old bugbear remains though, the driving seat of the Duster has inadequate lumbar support, something that Renault should really look at dealing with, as it ends up giving a backache on long drives.
As far as driving the Duster is concerned, it retains all the qualities of the older version, and I’m particularly enjoying the fantastic visibility the Duster offers with its high seating position and the low shoulder line of the car makes judging distance between vehicles and objects around the car a breeze. Also, helping matters is the large glasshouse of the car, which makes parking a cinch. As with the older car, the 1.5-litre diesel unit remains a steady workhorse, and while it now feels a generation old and could certainly do with an update, it does a rather efficient job and has enough punch for daily use, especially when combined with the short ratio six-speed gearbox.
As I spend more time with the car in the coming months, I hope to report on some aspects of the machine and how the long-term ownership experience of it is.