The Renault Duster is creating a new segment in the market – that of the compact SUV. It has been getting mixed reactions since its launch. Some people absolutely love it, others think it could have been priced a little lower, and some think it is not a viable proposition at all.
Here’s what experts from CarToq.com community had to say.
Devdath Narayan, Bangalore: “Practical, affordable, reliable alternative to C-segment sedans”
Devdath Narayan thinks the Duster will only fuel the demand for SUVs further, and that it will become an alternative to sedans for many buyers.
“The combined sales of MUVs & SUVs have surpassed that of sedans. The Duster will only add to that number and will result in huge cross shopping now. It has quirky, but likeable styling. It is nothing like anything else around. The varied engine options will appeal to many segments of buyers. The Duster’s interiors could have been better put together and designed. Renault also needs to increase its service network exponentially now. It is a practical, affordable, reliable and frugal alternative to C segment sedans.”
Harish Govind, Mumbai: “Appeals to customers wanting to upgrade from sedans”
Harish Govind clearly does not see the Duster as a threat to existing SUVs in the segment such as the Mahindra Scorpio, but thinks the Duster will appeal to sedan buyers.
“It puts itself directly in the way of the Scorpio price wise. But it may yet be bested by the Scorpio. ASC presence and service quality are going to be big factors if it has to succeed. It should have a 4X4 variant. The space constraint in the cabin could be a telling factor. It would appeal to customers wanting to upgrade from sedans. It has nothing great in features, power and torque. What would work well for it is its power-to-weight ratio, ground clearance and fuel economy.”
Shreyans Jain, Faridabad: “Priced wrong by a good Rs 50,000 in the least”
Shreyans Jain thinks the Duster is a well put-together vehicle, but he thinks Renault has got its pricing wrong.
“The Duster looks the part. It is based on a proven platform and the mechanicals are fundamentally sound. Plus, no one tunes their suspensions quite like Renault. So, all the basics are well in place. The problem is, for what they offer, they have got the pricing wrong by a good Rs. 50,000 in the least. Right now, it’s priced head on against the Mahindra Scorpio. That’s not a fight I see it winning.”
Siddhartha Mishra, Delhi: “No Scorpio/Safari/Xylo has ARAI efficiency of 19-20 kmpl”
Siddhartha Mishra thinks the Duster is more like a muscular station-wagon version of a sedan. The Duster is indeed based on the Renault Logan platform. However, unlike some of the experts, he feels the Duster has more value than the Scorpio.
“To me it looks like a wagon version of a sedan, like a cheaper BMW X1 or a more expensive Palio Adventure, especially because it does not have 4X4. It is a comfortable vehicle because of its suspension and proven mechanicals and engine. For all those who are cribbing about the price being higher than the Scorpio, they must also consider that Renault’s depth of engineering is far higher than M&M or Tata and that no Scorpio / Innova / Safari / Xylo has an ARAI efficiency of 19-20 kmpl (for the 110 PS and 85 PS diesel versions respectively).”
Kunal Sharma, Jaipur: “I checked out the RxZ but I think the 85 bhp version is a better option”
Kunal Sharma says the Duster’s ride quality is definitely going to be better than other SUVs in the market. He thinks the mid-variant 85PS version of the Duster is the better one of the lot, rather than the top-end 110PS one.
“From the outside, Duster is a perfect SUV, not as stylish as the XUV500, but it has its own road presence. The spacious cabin of Duster makes it good place to be in. The quality of plastic used on the interior is not great. The equipment list helps the Duster stand against the competition, but it takes time getting used to (like the mirror adjusting button in the centre, and the steering-mounted controls behind the steering!). Apart from this the air-con is delightful and the boot has enormous space. People in the rear would be happy as the seats are comfortable and the rear air-con is effective. The monocoque construction will help in keeping it stable on highways and ride quality should be better than other SUVs in the market. In Jaipur, it got over 100 bookings in only one day. I think it is a good car, could be the best for long runs. I checked out the RxZ but I think the 85 bhp version is a better option.”
Overall, experts feel the Duster has a good chance of carving a place for itself in the market. Most see it as an alternative to sedans, but don’t think it will really dent the market share of existing SUVs in its price segment.
If you have taken a test drive at the dealer, or are planning to take one soon, share your impressions about the Duster with everyone.
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