Renault has introduced a new mid trim on the Duster Diesel Automatic, making it a lot cheaper than the Hyundai Creta Diesel Automatic. The Renault Duster Diesel AMT is now available in RxS trim, with prices starting from Rs. 12.1 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi. This makes the Duster Diesel Automatic more than a lakh cheaper than the Creta Diesel Automatic, which is priced at Rs. 13.26 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi. Previously, the Duster Diesel AMT was available only in top-spec RxZ trim.
The new trim of the Duster Diesel Automatic could boost sales marginally. A drastic increase in sales is unlikely as the Duster is now at the fag end of its lifecycle. It was introduced in 2012, and is due to a full model change later this year. The Duster Diesel AMT is powered by a 1.5 liter K9K turbocharged engine with 108 Bhp-240 Nm. The gearbox is a six speed AMT, and the Duster is costliest AMT equipped car sold in India. Generally, car makers shy away from AMTs on cars priced above Rs. 10 lakhs as AMTs are jerkier and unrefined compared to torque converter automatics.
However, Renault has persisted with the AMT option on the Duster. The Hyundai Creta Diesel’s automatic gearbox is a 6 speed torque converter unit, and feels a lot more refined than that of the Duster’s. The Creta Diesel’s engine is also a lot more powerful, making 126 Bhp-260 Nm. Also, the engine is much more modern than compared to the unit on the Duster. While the Creta’s 1.6 liter diesel engine uses four valves per cylinder and twin overhead camshafts, the Duster’s 1.5 liter diesel is an old school unit, operating on 2 valves/cylinder and a single overhead camshaft.
Clearly, the Duster Diesel AMT is meant for those who are on a budget and want the convenience of an automatic gearbox. The Renault Duster is available with many other engine and gearbox combinations. The entry level variant is petrol engined, and uses a 1.6 liter petrol with 104 Bhp-140 Nm. The petrol engine is available with two gearbox options – a 5 speed manual and a CVT automatic. The entry level diesel uses a 1.5 liter K9K motor in 89 Bhp-200 Nm state of tune, and is paired to a 5 speed manual gearbox.
Higher diesel variants get the same engine in 108 Bhp-240 Nm state of tune, and are offered with 6 speed manual and AMT options. The Duster is the only compact SUV sold in India to be available with an all wheel drive system. The Duster AWD gets a slew of other upgrades. There’s independent rear suspension on the AWD model, and this really makes the Duster’s already good ride quality, brilliant. Also, the all-wheel drive version gets revised gearing, giving it more torque at the low end for better offroad performance. The AWD model offers more safety features such as traction control and ESP, making the Duster more surefooted across varied conditions.
By the end of this year or early next year, Renault is expected to launch the second generation, all-new Duster in India. The new vehicle will be larger than the current version but will retain the same engines and gearboxes. It will also retain the 7 seat layout. Pricing is expected to be similar to the current version.