Renault launched the Duster compact SUV on July 4 in a total of eight variants at a starting price of Rs. 7.19 lakh for the base petrol, going up to Rs. 11.29 lakh for the top-of-the-line diesel variant. Here’s a quick look at how the Duster compares to other vehicles that fall within its price band.

renault duster comparisons

Going by the kind of vehicle the Duster is and its pricing, it not only looks like a competitor to other SUVs, but it also targets sedans and MPVs in the same price range.

Since Renault is positioning it as an SUV, let’s take a quick look at how it fares against similarly priced SUVs.

Renault Duster vs Mahindra Scorpio

The largest-selling SUV in the Duster’s price segment is the Mahindra Scorpio. The Scorpio comes only in diesel. If you look at the Scorpio’s entry-level EX variant, it’s priced slightly lower at Rs. 7.8 lakh ex-showroom than the Duster diesel that is at Rs. 7.99 lakh. The top-end Scorpio VLX two-wheel drive variant is priced at Rs. 10.8 lakh, while the four-wheel drive is at Rs. 11.85 lakh.

The Scorpio provides more space, more seats (7 or 8 seater), than the Renault Duster at the entry level. The Duster beats the Scorpio EX on ride and handling and on power  and mileage – the Scorpio EX puts out 75 bhp compared to the Duster’s 85 bhp engine. Of course, the Duster gives much better mileage at nearly 20 kmpl, compared to about 13 kmpl for the Scorpio.

But if you compare the other variants of the Scorpio with the Duster, the Scorpio provides more power (120 bhp power / 290 Nm torque) and also a few more features. The top-end Scorpio comes with automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and cruise control, which are features not seen on the Duster, and it’s cheaper than the Duster. The Scorpio also offers a four-wheel drive variant in the mid-level and top-end Scorpio. Mahindra also has a larger service network than Renault.

Overall, except for ride, handling and mileage, the Mahindra Scorpio is better value for money than the Renault Duster. Duster can’t beat the top-end Scorpio variants, but offers a good alternative to the low-end model.

 

Renault Duster vs Tata Safari

One of the oldest SUVs in the segment, the Tata Safari is also well within the Duster’s price range. The Duster entry-level diesel variant is cheaper than the Tata Safari LX entry variant. The Safari’s price ranges between Rs. 8.28 lakh and Rs. 13.25 lakh. Variant for variant, the Renault Duster is cheaper than the Tata Safari.

But when it comes to space, engine power and comfort, the Safari is way better than the Duster. The Safari puts out 140 bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque from its 2.2 litre engine, compared to the Duster’s 108 bhp and 249 Nm of torque. Of course, the Safari is also heavier, which means on power-to-weight ratios, they are more or less evenly matched. The Duster is more fuel efficient than the Safari. The top-end Duster competes with the mid-level Safari, and at that price point the Duster has more features than the Safari.

Overall, compared to the Safari, the Duster appears more value for money, if your priorities are ride and handling, fuel efficiency and features. The Safari beats the Duster on space, seating capacity and sheer size.

Renault Duster vs Maruti Ertiga

How does the Renault Duster stack up against the Maruti Ertiga? Both are based on car platforms that have evolved into an SUV and an MPV respectively. The Ertiga, like the Duster, comes in both petrol and diesel variants. The Ertiga is priced between Rs. 5.9 lakh for the base petrol to Rs. 8.5 lakh for the top-end diesel. This makes it a lot cheaper than the Duster.

When it comes to interior space, the Duster and Ertiga are evenly matched, except that the Ertiga has two additional seats for when the need arises. The Duster has a few more litres of luggage space than the Ertiga. In terms of engine power, the Duster mid-variant and the Ertiga are similarly matched (Ertiga diesel puts out 89 bhp of power and 200 Nm torque), while the petrol Duster and top-end diesel are more powerful than the Ertiga. Since both vehicles have similar kerb-weight, this gives the Duster an advantage over the Ertiga, but in terms of fuel-efficiency the Ertiga is slightly better.

When you compare the Ertiga and Duster, the Ertiga is a good bet for those on a tight budget, as it is much cheaper and gives you similar levels of space and comfort, as well as power on the mid-variant diesel. The Duster beats the Ertiga on looks, “cool factor” and luxury appeal, as well as features, but not that great value for money in comparison.

Renault Duster vs Nissan Sunny

The Renault Duster is being positioned as an alternative to sedans. One of the biggest rivals would be its own cousin the Nissan Sunny, which shares the same diesel engine as the Duster. The Sunny is priced between Rs. 5.94 lakh and Rs. 8.94 lakh across five variants, three petrol and two diesels. This makes the Sunny cheaper than the Duster. In terms of space, the Sunny is much more spacious, with adequate comfort for five and adequate luggage space.

The Sunny also has a decent level of features that make it more value for money than the Duster, such as automatic climate control and power-fold mirrors on the top-end variants. The only thing that the Duster has in its favor is the huge ground clearance and SUV appeal, which would make it better for bad roads.

Against the Sunny, the Duster does not seem great value for money, when you compare the features, mileage and power that both offer, unless you want a vehicle that is a lot tougher than the Sunny.

Renault Duster vs Hyundai Verna

The segment favorite among sedans is currently the Hyundai Verna, because it is loaded with features. The Verna comes in 10 variants that are priced between Rs. 7.12 lakh for the base 1.4-litre petrol Verna to Rs. 11.27 lakh for the top-end diesel automatic Verna. At the entry-level if you compare the Duster petrol with the Verna petrol, the Verna and Duster are almost similar in terms of power output. The Verna 1.4 petrol puts out 105 bhp and 135 Nm of torque, while the Duster petrol puts out 102 bhp of power and 145 Nm of torque. The Duster is slightly more spacious than the Verna.

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However, among the higher variants of the Verna – the 1.6 litre petrol and diesel Verna are significantly more powerful than the Duster. What the Duster offers is better ground clearance and tougher build quality, but that’s about it. The mid and top-end variants of the Verna are loaded with features – all-round disc brakes, power folding mirrors, reverse camera, push-button start etc, are all features that the Verna has that the Duster doesn’t. The Verna and Duster are equally fuel-efficient as well.

Overall, the Duster would be better for bad roads and rough terrain, and slightly more spacious, but the Verna comprehensively beats it on the value-for-money front, offering more features and power at the same price point.

 

These are some of the alternatives to the Renault Duster – cars, SUVs and MPVs which we think buyers would consider while they are looking at buying a Duster, for a variety of needs. Do you think the Duster is a better deal than these vehicles it competes with in the same price band?

18 COMMENTS

  1. I see that car for car, the Duster gets beaten by everyone everywhere except for sheer ride quality and dynamics, which are a traditional Renault strong point. Had the vehicle been priced at par with the Ertiga, it would have been fantastic value, even more than the Maruti. As things stand though, I think Renault has lost a fabulous opportunity.

  2. I guess it’s a good vehicle for those who want a car that can handle rough roads and touring but are not confident with the quality levels of the Scorpio or the Safari and do not need those extra seats. For everyone looking for VFM, its not really the best.

  3. I agree with Shreyans there on Renault having lost a very good opportunity. But this is the case with all non Indian car makers…I wonder how do they get it so badly wrong so consistently….I think a lot of people in the research teams of these car makers should get a reality check wrt ot the Indian market and how price sensitive it is.

  4. To me, Duster’s appeals as an urban SUV which is not too bulky for city driving. has good mileage (hopefully), and has good build quality. More of an alternative to sedans rather than big SUVs like Scorpio or XUV500.

  5. The advantage that true blue SUVs like Scorpio, Safari and Fortuner have in city traffic is sheer scare power. That you can bully your way through traffic and that no scooter or rickshaw will dare cut your way. Can the same be said about the Duster or any of the forthcoming pseudo SUVs? I doubt. At a 9.5L price point, the SUVs cream such cars for drivability, toughness and utility + have 2 extra seats, the sedans are way more luxurious and better equipped and the Innova was always the king of quality and reliability. The only USP of the Duster and its ilk is the ground clearence, and that too holds only when compared with the sedans. Otherwise, all I see is an 80% sedan being offered for 120% the price. I think the upcoming few weeks are going to be crucial both for Renault and for Ford. They have to find a way to price the Ecosprort as close to the Ertiga as possible AND that Ecoboost engine better be special. Otherwise, Maruti is going to run away with this segment.

  6. For 10.58 lacs OTR in Hyderabad (85PS RXL) you don’t get air bags, ABS, parking sensors, Alloys. That’s totally absurd. I mean only USP of Duster is high ground clearance and muscular fenders. Everything else is better off in full time sedans/SUVs.

  7. I am amazed nobody talks about safety features, we talk about gizmos, cool factor, size, road presence etc. Thats the reason auto companies in India do not give importance to safety features.

  8. I am amazed nobody talks about safety features, we talk about gizmos, cool factor, size, road presence etc. Thats the reason auto companies in India do not give importance to safety features. Renault Duster is another example of the same. Whats the point launching at cheap prices if its not safe. our roads are not safe, atleast our vehicles should be.

  9. I feel the initial numbers would be good, but as the ‘dust settles’ the fate will be decided by: cost and availability of spares, quality of after sales & service, and the running costs n overall experience. Still, India is an ’emerging market’ with lots of room for new trucks, but the ones that will stay on top, will be the ones that can do a Ladakh-Khardungla, North Sikkim or the many ‘back of beyond’ places that India has to offer – and do those without a snag or a whimper! Else, they would just become city-rovers with peak-capped chauffeurs – the likes of which we see daily in Delhi… what a waste that would be indeed!

  10. I agree with you Sharad. But the market bothers about image, about cheap cost of ownership and sticker price and not really tough as nails pedigree. Which is why probably less than 1% of Scorpios and Safaris are 4X4.

  11. Just a scenario. I hope Duster will be used by people who go to work Mon – Fri and Sat-Sun drive out. Since it has offroading capabilties. They are prone to repair. And I am sure that no mechanic will help you in a remote place at that time. Mahindras, Tatas and Maruti will be the best choice. Renault for the moment with skeleton service centers may be a pain. But once the infra is set up I feel no problem in buying them.

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