The much-awaited Renault Duster is finally in the Indian starting at Rs. 7.19 lakh for the base petrol and going up to Rs. 11.29 lakh for the top-end diesel variant. One of the Duster’s key rivals is going to be the Mahindra Scorpio, but can this new kid in town trip up the ‘mighty muscular’ Scorpio? We find out!
The Duster is available in 8 variants with two petrol and four diesel variants and two option packs; a safety pack for the RxL variant and a leather package for the top-end RxZ Duster. The Scorpio too is offered in 8 variants: EX, LX, LX 4WD, SLE, VLX 2WD, VLX4WD, VLX 2WD AT, VLX 4WD AT. All Scorpio variants are diesel powered so we will compare only the diesel Duster with it.
Performance and handling
The Duster comes in two engine options; both of them are 1,461 cc motors, but produce 84 bhp and 108 Bhp of power respectively. The 84 bhp engine makes peak power at 3750 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1,900 rpm. The 108 bhp engine with its bigger turbocharger and different injection system delivers peak power at 3900 rpm and 248 Nm of torque at 2250 rpm. The 84 bhp and 108 bhp variants are mated to a five-speed manual and a six-speed manual transmission respectively.
The base Scorpio EX model sports a 2.5 litre engine that makes 75 bhp of power and 220 Nm torque, which makes the Duster more powerful. The top of the line manual VLX variant of the Scorpio is powered by a 2.2 litre engine and makes 120 Bhp of power and 290 Nm of torque, which is more than both Duster variants. So if you are looking at the base variants, then the Duster may seem like a good option, but in terms of top end variants the Scorpio out performs the Duster with ease.
Going by reports of how the Dacia Duster fared it looks like the Renault Duster will probably be better than the Mahindra Scorpio in terms of handling and driving characteristics.
Space and Comfort
The Duster is a smartly designed car and most people will be able to sit comfortably in both the front and the rear row of seats, although the Duster is only a five seater compared to the Scorpio which offers a range of seating options right from jump seats, to captain seats to all three bench seats. The Duster does com with two small jump seats as dealer accessory, making it a seven seater but the seats are best meant for kids. As far as space is concerned the Scorpio has more headroom. It’s a mixed bunch in terms of legroom because while the Duster offers more in the front the Scorpio offers more in the rear.
Another interesting fact is that although the Duster is wider than the Scorpio it doesn’t have more space on the inside and the flared wheel arches play a key role in both its actual and perceived width. Three in the back is a breeze in the Scorpio, but in the Duster it will be a bit of a squeeze.
Despite the extra space that the Scorpio offers it stands no chance compared to the Duster as far as comfort is concerned. Although we haven’t driven the Duster yet, we can safely say that the Duster will have very little body roll and vertical movement compared to the Scorpio.
Overall, in terms of space and comfort the Duster due to its comfortable ride and decent passenger space is better than the Scorpio.
The Scorpio is a traditional-looking SUV with straight lines and a boxy appearance, the Duster on the other hand manages to blend macho looks and sophistication together. With its high ground clearance, thick wheel arches and confident stance the Duster will appeal to those who are not looking for a huge traditional SUV.
On the inside the Duster feels more up-market than the basic interiors of the Scorpio. Fit and finish is also better on the Duster and there are no wide gaping panel gaps, crude plastic covers etc. It looks and feels like a vehicle with good pedigree, while the Scorpio feels dated in comparison.
Price, mileage and overall VFM
The Duster is priced between Rs. 7.19 lakh to Rs.11.29 lakh while the Scorpio is priced between Rs. 7.79 lakh to Rs. 12.63 lakh. The Scorpio offers more versatility than the Duster with its various seating options and the fact that it comes in both 2WD and 4WD variants.
The Scorpio has a mileage of 12-15 kmpl across variants while the Duster has a claimed mileage of 19.01 kmpl for the 108 bhp diesels and 20.46 kmpl for the 84 bhp diesels. So although the Duster is more fuel efficient and is also more affordable, it still doesn’t beat the Scorpio in terms of pure value for money.
Overall we feel that the Duster will primarily target a different set of buyers who will look beyond just price and outright VFM – those looking at compact dimensions, classy looks and individuality. Which of these two SUVs do you think is better and why? Share you views.