Compact SUV comparison: Mahindra Quanto vs Renault Duster

*With updated prices, February 2013

Mahindra is positioning the new Mahindra Quanto as a compact SUV. Which means, it makes sense to pitch it against one of the most popular compact SUVs in the market the Renault Duster. How does the Mahindra Quanto fare against the Renault Duster?

Compact SUV comparison: Mahindra Quanto vs Renault Duster

CarToq breaks down the various aspects of the two vehicles for you.

Looks, fit and finish

The Mahindra Quanto is based on the Xylo and 3/4th of the vehicle looks exactly like the Xylo, with minor changes to the grille. The front looks like a mix between the refreshed Xylo and the older Xylo. In profile it looks a little too tall, and the 15 inch wheels with 205/65 tyres seem slightly small for it, giving it an ungainly stance. At the rear, the high set tail lamps, and spare wheel mounted on the rear door try to make it look like an SUV, but it isn’t that attractive really.

Compact SUV comparison: Mahindra Quanto vs Renault Duster

The Renault Duster on the other hand is all about looks – it looks like a muscular SUV with the flared fenders, large chrome grille, double-barrel headlamps and high ground clearance. In profile, the Duster is not as tall as the Quanto and looks quite sleek. From the rear as well, the flared fenders and wide body of the Duster look more purposeful.

Panel gaps are tight on the Duster, but not that even with the Quanto – especially the front where the grille and bonnet meet. On the interiors, the Quanto is exactly like the Xylo. The Duster doesn’t have that great interiors and plastic quality in both are comparable. Also see: Mahindra Quanto launched!

Overall, on looks alone, the Renault Duster is much better.

Compact SUV comparison: Mahindra Quanto vs Renault Duster

Comfort and features

The Mahindra Quanto is a pretty spacious vehicle inside. It has more rear-seat space than the Duster and small touches like flip up tray tables add to the feeling of luxury. The Renault Duster could have done with more space for the rear seat, considering it has a really large boot at 475 litres, increasing to 1064 litres with the rear seat folded. The Quanto has only about 300 odd litres of space which is further reduced with the third set of seats in the boot which cannot be folded up. The Duster is about 200 mm longer than the Quanto, and that frees up more luggage space. Also read: Renault Duster road test and review

In terms of features the Quanto C8 comes with ABS and airbags, reverse parking sensors and integrated music system. The Duster RXL 85 option pack and RXZ 110 also have all these features and add alloy wheels, steering mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity.

Ride quality is excellent in the Renault Duster. In the Quanto, considering its based on the Xylo chassis only, ride quality is similar to the Xylo, maybe slightly better as it doesn’t roll as much.

Overall, the Renault Duster has better features and better comfort, with more scope for luggage.

Engine and performance

The Mahindra Quanto has a 1493 cc, three-cylinder diesel engine (mCR100) that puts out 110 bhp of power at 3,750 rpm and 240 Nm of torque at 1600-2800 rpm. The unique feature of this engine is that it is the only vehicle under Rs. 25 lakh to sport a twin-turbo system and a first for Mahindra. This eliminates low end turbo lag. It’s mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Fuel efficiency figures are a claimed 17.21 kmpl according to ARAI.

The Renault Duster on the other hand comes with two engine choices in the diesel variants. Both are 1.5 litre four-cylinder diesels (the 1.5 K9K engine) in different states of tune. The Renault Duster 85PS variant puts out 85 bhp of power and 200 Nm of torque, with the 110 PS puts out 108 bhp of power and 240 Nm of torque. The latter engine has a six-speed manual transmission. The engine sounds very refined and top-speed is good. The Duster gives a fuel efficiency of 15 kmpl, with a claimed 19 kmpl.

The Quanto, however, is not that great a handler and rolls quite a bit. The ride quality is decent at low speed, but because of its tall stance, turns are best taken slowly. Also the Duster is a lighter vehicle at 1240 Kg kerb weight (and a monocoque body) compared to the 1630 Kg kerb weight of the Quanto with a heavier ladder-frame chassis.

On overall performance, owing to its lighter weight and refinement, we think the Renault Duster again has an edge over the Quanto. Also read: Why the Mahindra Quanto is a good alternative to premium hatchbacks

Price and value for money

The Mahindra Quanto has extremely attractive pricing. The Quanto comes in four variants starting at Rs. 6.09 lakh for the base C2 variant, Rs. 6.64 lakh for the C4 variant, Rs. 7.14 lakh for the C6 variant and Rs. 7.65 lakh for the top-end C8 variant (ex-showroom Delhi).

The Renault Duster in comparison is far more expensive. Prices start at Rs. 7.690 lakh for the base petrol. But if you look at the six diesel variants, prices start at Rs. 8.59 lakh for the base RXE diesel, Rs. 9.59 lakh for the RXL 85 diesel, Rs. 10.59 lakh for the RXL 110 diesel, Rs. 10.59 lakh for the RXL 85 option pack, going up to Rs. 11.49 lakh for the RXZ and Rs. 11.99 lakh for the RXZ option pack with GPS navigation.

On price to value alone, the Duster is over Rs. 2 lakh more expensive variant for variant than the Mahindra Quanto.  The Mahindra Quanto’s top-end C8 variant is cheaper than the Duster base RXE variant! Also see: Mahindra Quanto first drive!

On value for money and pricing, the Mahindra Quanto wins.


The Mahindra Quanto does not quite match up the Renault Duster when it comes to look, engine power and comfort. But when it comes to sheer value for money, the Quanto wins outright, being over Rs. 2 lakh cheaper variant for variant. If you are on a tight budget, the Quanto makes sense. But if image matters, the Duster will appeal better, if you’re willing to pay the price. Also check out: Quanto vs. Ertiga

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