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.
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.
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?