September launch likely for Renault India’s Duster 4X4 SUV

Earlier this year, Renault India’s Ex-Chief Marc Nassif revealed to CarToq that the Duster SUV’s 4X4 variant will arrive here during the second half of the year. The Duster 4X4 seems just a couple of months away from launch, going by Motoring’s Rohin Nagrani, who shares that the SUV is lined up for a September 2014 debut.

Renault India has been building the Duster 4X4 for export markets at the Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam for many months now. However, the availability of the Duster 4X4 has been restricted to export markets. Thus far, Renault India has been selling the Duster SUV here in front wheel drive guise.

By throwing open the bookings of the Duster 4X4 SUV in India, the French automaker will seek to capitalize on the growing numbers of Indian SUV buyers interested in off-roading and long distance traveling that involve difficult terrain.

The Duster 4X4 will be positioned as a better built and a more refined choice than other similar offerings in the Indian SUV market, namely the Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari Storme’s 4X4 variants, which are both ladder frame chassis equipped SUVs.

While the Scorpio and Safari are larger than the monocoque bodied Duster and can accommodate 2 more adults to the Duster’s 5 adult carrying capacity, the Duster is the more sprightly and refined of the trio. Expect the Renault Duster to be offered with the 4 wheel drive system only on its top 110 PS variant, which uses the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine in 108 Bhp-248 Nm state of tune. A six speed manual gearbox comes standard with this engine.

Renault Duster SUV's 4X4 Knob mounted on the Center Console pic
Renault Duster SUV's 4X4 Knob mounted on the Center Console

 

Notably, the 110 PS variant of the Duster is exported with Dacia badges to the UK and selling the same variant in India will allow Renault to keep costs low. However, the better tractability of the 85 PS Duster, in 4X4 guise is the variant that off road enthusiasts in India would have preferred over the higher powered 110 PS 4X4 variant.

The Duster’s 4X4 system will feature three modes -2H, 4H and 4H Auto. 2H mode refers to the front wheel drive mode while the 4H refers to four wheel drive high mode. The 4H Auto refers to the 4 wheel drive system being on standby, ready to deploy when it detects wheelslip. A Haldex clutch comes standard on the Duster 4X4, which will get an center console mounted, electric shift-on-the-fly knob for the 4 wheel drive system.

Since the Duster 4X4 will not be available with a low ratio, the SUV isn’t suited for rock crawling or mud plugging, like say the Mahindra Thar 4X4 and the Maruti Gypsy 4X4. The Renault Duster 4X4 110 PS SUV is expected to be priced a a little shy of 13 lakh rupee mark.