Well, well, well. It looks like Renault has another winner on its hands even before the car has left the factory gates. Renault is planning to launch the Renault Duster 4×4 in India in a couple of months. Going by a poll conducted on CarToq.com, the votes are clearly in favour of this vehicle over some of its biggest (and literally bigger) rivals.
In an online poll among CarToq.com community members, we asked the question “If the Renault Duster 4×4 is launched, which 4×4 would you buy?” asking potential buyers to choose between the Tata Safari 4×4, Mahindra Scorpio 4×4 and Renault Duster, as these vehicles will all be in a similar price band. Also read: Renault Duster 4×4 likely to be launched in March 2013
The results are quite surprising, as even though the Safari Storme 4×4 and Mahindra Scorpio 4×4 are existing vehicles, members still preferred the Duster 4×4 over the other two. The Duster 4×4 got 386 votes (or 51%) out of the total 753 that voted. The Safari Storme 4×4 came in next with 31% of the vote while the Mahindra Scorpio 4×4, which is incidentally the one that is selling the most number of 4×4’s in that price category (Rs. 9 lakh – Rs. 14 lakh), got only 18% of the vote.
What is it that makes the upcoming Renault Duster 4×4 such a crowd favourite? It’s possibly got to do with the fact that internationally the Renault Duster 4×4 (also sold as the Dacia Duster in other countries) is a very capable 4×4 and even gives the Skoda Yeti, which is more expensive, stiff competition. Also see: Renault Duster road test and review
However, the Renault Duster 4×4 is not a hardcore 4×4. It has a switchable 4×4 option with three modes (two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and auto). It is best left in auto mode, as this allows the vehicle to judge the traction available and automatically transfer power to the rear axle as needed. It is primarily a front wheel drive. The Renault Duster 4×4, however, does not have a low-ratio gearbox (4-Low mode), which is essential for hard core off-road conditions such as rock climbing, towing or steep sandy ascents.
The Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari Storme share the same 4×4 system from Borg Warner, which is an electric shift-on-the-fly system with a low-ratio gearbox. Both these are part-time four-wheel drives that can perform hardcore off-road duties with three modes (two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive high and four-wheel drive low). The Storme and the Scorpio are both primarily rear-wheel drives otherwise. Also read: Renault exports Duster under Dacia brand from Chennai
The Renault Duster 4×4 top-end version (assuming it will be launched with the 110PS engine and transmission only) is likely to be priced about Rs. 1.2 lakh more than the two-wheel drive variant, putting its price tag at close to Rs. 12.80 lakh ex-showroom, making it slightly more expensive than the Scorpio VLX 4×4 and about Rs. 1 lakh less than the Tata Safari Storme. At that price point, it doesn’t seem value for money against these two rivals, but compare it with the Skoda Yeti 4×4, and you begin to see reason in this vehicle – the Yeti will be at least Rs. 3.5 lakh more expensive than the Duster 4×4.
Share your thoughts on the upcoming Renault Duster 4×4.