Renault is working on making the Duster a lot more desirable. The French automaker has just dumped the 1.5 liter K9K turbocharged diesel engine, not willing to make it Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms compliant. Instead, Renault plans to stage a fresh attack on the compact SUV segment in India with a turbocharged Duster, riding on petrol power.
You’re reading right, the 1.3 liter-4 cylinder SCe turbocharged petrol engine, which Renault offers on the Duster internationally, will make it to the India-spec SUV’s engine bay. This engine will make 156 Bhp of peak power and 250 Nm of peak torque in the India-spec Duster, suddenly making the compact SUV the most powerful option in its class, beating even the segment-leading Kia Seltos Turbo Petrol’s 138 Bhp-242 Nm power and torque outputs.
While the Seltos Turbo Petrol gets 6 speed manual and 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox options, the Renault Duster Turbo Petrol will get a 6 speed manual transmission as standard, and a smooth and easy CVT automatic gearbox option. The 1.5 liter K9K turbodiesel engined Duster variant is on its way out, and sales will stop shortly, ahead of the April 1st 2020 deadline for BS6 compliance.
Renault will continue selling lower trims of the Duster with the naturally aspirated 1.5 liter HR15DE petrol engine but this motor will be offered only with the 5 speed manual gearbox once the new turbo petrol engine is introduced. The Duster with the new engine will make its debut in April 2020, but will not get any other major changes given the fact that Renault has just facelifted the compact SUV.
The Renault Duster desperately needs something new to make it more appealing among compact SUV buyers. Renault has been witness to a gradual tapering off of the Duster’s sales as the SUV is now overwhelmed with new competition. In such a situation, giving the SUV a major power boost may just work, bringing a lot of enthusiasts towards the SUV. However, this is not enough.
Renault needs to quickly bring in the next-generation model as the current Duster is 8 years old. The SUV does have some strengths. Ride quality is one of its strong points, and the current Duster is still the gold standard in its segment when it comes to smoothing out bad roads like they don’t exist. Another strong point is a sturdy build, and compact dimensions. The all wheel drive version was another unique offering in the Duster’s line up but with very few takers for it, Renault is unlikely to bring it back with the turbo petrol trim.