Just a few years in the past, having the choice of a petrol-automatic SUV would have been fairly unthinkable, however given the rise in desire for clutchless driving, producers as we speak provide auto gearboxes on a lot of their fashions, and with each diesel in addition to petrol engines. Renault too has joined the bandwagon and launched the choice of an auto gearbox on its petrol and diesel Duster. Whereas the Duster diesel will get an automatic guide transmission (AMT), the petrol will get a repeatedly variable transmission (CVT).
Renault affords the diesel AMT solely within the top-spec RxZ trim, whereas the CVT is on the market solely within the RxS trim, which is one degree beneath the top-spec. This implies when you go for the CVT mannequin, you miss out on bits like an auto AC and a reverse digicam, however you get the touchscreen, and all the security equipment like ABS, EBD and twin airbags. The RxS additionally will get ESP and hill begin help.
Other than the Xtronic lettering on the rear, there isn’t a lot on the surface to distinguish the CVT from the remainder of its siblings, and so that you get the identical sq. headlights, twin-slat grille, cladding and scuff plates, ‘S’-shaped LED tail-lamps in addition to thicker roof rails with ‘Duster’ spelled throughout. On the entire, the design is a bit too acquainted now, however it nonetheless seems macho and really SUV-like; an vital level for our market.
The insides too are the identical as the remainder of the vary and right here is the place its age reveals. Plastics and match and end are lower than phase requirements and the touchscreen feels very dated and unrefined in its user-interface design and operation. The cabin, nevertheless, does have a number of strengths. The area on provide is greater than ample and the seats are very snug. Legroom and headroom on the rear are nice and the massive facet home windows make the cabin really feel open and ethereal.
What’s it wish to drive?
The engine is a brand new 106hp, 1.5-litre H4K petrol motor, as a substitute of the 104hp, 1.6-litre unit used beforehand. If the mixture of a 1.5-litre petrol and CVT sounds acquainted, it is as a result of this Nissan-sourced powertrain has executed obligation within the Sunny/Scala earlier than. The corporate has made numerous enhancements with issues just like the drive belt system in addition to the transmission fluid, and it claims the Xtronic CVT is smaller, lighter and in addition shifts about 30 p.c sooner than its earlier CVTs.
Driving round city, the 1.5-litre engine actually feels extra trendy and refined as compared, and it’s fairly a silent performer too. Energy supply is linear however sedate and gradual, and that is due to the gearbox which seems like its doling out energy in a really measured method. Moreover, the throttle has a useless zone at the start of its journey, the place nothing a lot occurs. All this makes it a moderately lazy performer and you may’t actually nip into gaps shortly or make a inexperienced gentle that is about to vary.
Being a CVT, there isn’t a typical shifting of gears – simply the belt transferring throughout the 2 pulleys offering a steady ratio. The Duster does have a guide mode as nicely, with six set factors successfully supplying you with six speeds and you have to this to assist with timing your acceleration bursts, however the efficiency solely will get a bit of higher on this mode. What’s nice about this gearbox, nevertheless, is the shift velocity and really feel; the rubber band impact or stretchy really feel whereas accelerating, typical of most CVTs, may be very minimal right here, and the shifts are good and easy. On the entire, this isn’t a automobile for a spirited drive however extra for a relaxed cruise.
As for the remainder of the drive expertise, this can be a Duster, so the experience is superb with the suspension simply absorbing the bumps on our uneven roads, and the dealing with is kind of surefooted and predictable too. As for the steering, the early Dusters had street shock coming by means of, however on the brand new Duster, this has been minimised.
Ought to I purchase one?
The Duster has been round for some time now and there’s no getting away from its age. The design is all too acquainted now and the interiors look fairly dated, so far as materials really feel and design go, and it’s not the phase chief when it comes to gear both. Nonetheless, it does have its fair proportion of strengths; the design nonetheless has the quintessential SUV attraction and the cabin may be very spacious and cozy. The experience can also be a serious spotlight, particularly on our roads, however the Duster CVT’s trump card is that, at a worth of Rs 9.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s Rs three.5 lakh cheaper than a Creta automated, and, the truth is, simply Rs 20,000 over a base Ecosport automated, and that’s fairly exhausting to disregard.