Renault Duster: Choose a 2x4 or a 4x4

Renault has recently updated the Duster with a few more features and more attractive looks. Previously only available in a 2x4 model, the Renault Duster is now also available as a 4x4 – giving consumers the choice between a compact SUV or a medium-sized off-roading vehicle that plays well as a family car too. 

This smart move has extended the market for the Renault Duster. Consumers opting for the 2x4 model will save money with a starting price of R255,000. The higher-spec models top a price tag of R340,900, which still isn’t badly priced when you consider the capabilities of the new Duster. (Prices correct at time of publication.)

Read on to find out why the Renault Duster gets a thumbs up from us.

Being a medium-sized city car, most people will mistake the Duster as a front-wheel-drive city SUV. However, the Renault Duster is a serious 4x4 and can surprise a lot of people with its off-road capabilities. The Duster switches from 2-wheel-drive to 4-wheel-drive with a transmission mode selector, which splits the power equally between the front and rear wheels. The short wheelbase works perfectly with the standard 210mm ground clearance and a 30-degree approach angle. To aid 4x4 capability, even more, Renault has given the Duster hill-descent control. One of the biggest advantages the Duster has over other 4x4s is its weight advantage, which prevents getting stuck in soft sand. Overall the off-roading performance is good and is everything you would expect from a small 4-wheel-drive SUV.

The on-road experience is everything you would want from a city car. Good practicality, great fuel consumption and fairly attractive looks make the Renault Duster a good starting point for an on-road car. Unfortunately, the gear ratio isn’t the best in the manual configuration, as maximum torque is for a limited time and requires gear changes often to maintain strong acceleration. This is because most of the torque is delivered between 1000rpm and 3000rpm. The ride quality is considered rather firm at times but is useful when off-roading, to maintain stability. The Renault Duster is small and nimble for tight parking and quick manoeuvrability. Overall the Duster is perfect for on-road use and using it as a daily driver.

The Duster comes with a range of features that are standard on the Dynamique trim levels. Satellite navigation, smartphone compatibility, blue tooth, cruise control, auto air conditioning and blind-spot detection are all standard features. Parking sensors and reverse camera are optional extras along with side, front and rear cameras to improve parking ability and manoeuvrability while off-roading. 

The infotainment system is now bigger and has a more responsive touchscreen. The new system also features an allocated 4x4 display menu that presents a compass and roll/pitch angles.

Renault has given the Duster a fairly strong 1.5 litre turbocharged Diesel engine, which manages to crank out 80kW and 260Nm. The choice between a 6-speed manual and 6-speed dual-clutch automatic are optioned on 2-wheel-drive models. Renault also claims good fuel consumption, around an average of 5.2 L/100km. 

Overall the Renault Duster is a great family car, with comfortable space for five adults and good boot capacity too (414 litres to be exact). The 2-wheel-drive trim has a slightly more refined feel because of the automatic gearbox. It should be stated that the 4-wheel-drive configuration adds the great potential for the Duster in terms of value for money. The off-roading capabilities cannot be matched in its price range.

Are you a petrol head? Love reading about the cars available on South Africa’s roads? Be sure to check out the Reviews section of our blog. Every month we review two different car models. Click here and find it under Car News & Reviews.


Please note the imagery supplied in this blog was taken off

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