Take two: Renault Duster TechRoad shows its hand once again
Still delivers but with a considerable price jump.
Looks rather good in white
Looks rather good in white
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Faulting or improving on a winning package often rates as something of a daunting task, especially with an offering that seemingly ticks every box with absolute ease. Enter, once again, the Renault Duster.
Never out of demand or in the spotlight as far as La Régie is concerned, it continued to surprise when the TechRoad derivative, fitted with the six-speed EDC gearbox and 1.5 dCi turbodiesel engine, arrived for the weeklong stay last year. Practical, well-kitted out and even trouncing Renault’s claimed fuel consumption figure, it rated, here it comes, as a hard to beat package in spite of the rather bland interior and agricultural oil-burning soundtrack.
It was therefore an unexpected and very confusing surprise when a glistening white Duster TechRoad arrived for a second seven-day stay, as nothing, on first glance, had seemingly changed on the outside or the inside. In fact, it was initially thought that the flagship Prestige model had been dropped-off as the notion of it being the four-wheel-drive Dynamique soon disappeared as evident by the lack of 4WD badges on the front wings and the presence of the EDC ‘box as opposed to the six-speed manual.
On quicker inspection, it was established that the only changes had been the removal of the TechRoad decals from the wings and a switch from red to blue wheel caps with the interior inserts on the cloth seats also being blue instead of red, the same applying to the detailing on the air vents and the Duster embroidered seatbacks.
Contrasted much better by the satin silver front skidplate, roof rails and the 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels than its bland Dune Beige coloured ‘predecessor’, the exterior still outshines the interior where the splash of colour and chrome highlights have their work cut-out to offset the monotonous grey plastic with the odd scratchy surface.
Arguably the Duster’s biggest black mark, the cabin is otherwise spacious with excellent rear head-and-legroom, the basic but still user-friendly seven-inch MediaNav touchscreen infotainment system and a capacious boot that measures between 478-1 623-litres. Aside from the colour, Renault has opted to keep the TechRoad’s specification and safety sheet unchanged.
As already mentioned, the TechRoad’s continued standout is its drivetrain. Producing 80kW/250Nm, the engine, once passed the initial turbo-lag stage, shrugs the 1 276 kg kerb weight off with ease by pulling strong from low down in the rev-range, while being matched perfectly to the smooth shifting dual-clutch ‘box. However, the combination didn’t manage to match the fuel consumption of last year which came to a best of 5.2 L/100 km as opposed to 4.7 L/100 km, which in any book still rates as mind-blowing after 592 km, seven-days and with an indicated distance-to-empty of 550 km.
As unnecessarily small as the changes have been, it has not compromised the Duster in any way as it still rates as all the small SUV you will ever need. In fact, the biggest and newest hillock is the R361 900 price tag which, while fair, represents a considerable jump from the R327 900 the TechRoad commanded last year.
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