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Renault Duster AWD 1000km long term review

The Renault Duster AWD joins our long term fleet for the next six months. Here are our first impressions of a car we've been waiting a long time for
Renault Duster AWD long term review
We’ve had the Renault Duster AWD for just about two weeks where it has been subject to city driving and a short drive out of town. In these thousand kilometers, the Duster does two things, and I suppose, it will do so at all times during its six months with us – dare us to hate it and then dare us to abuse it. 
The first bit is the not so good part. The Duster dares us to hate it for the sheer lack of quality and features for a car that costs Rs 13 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. Fit and finish is not too good, the driver’s seat height adjustment is very old-school with a two step lever, there is also no climate control for a top spec variant nor do you get leather seats. The quality of plastics and ergonomics could have been better too. 
But the minute I crank the engine and the touchscreen navigation system turns on, I’ve got one reason to like the Duster. The interface is responsive and easy to use.Honda and Maruti could take a cue out of the Duster multimedia system. Now we come to fun bit – about abusing the Duster. The car demands a thrashing and that’s what gives the Duster AWD the character a car needs to be more than just a means for transportation. The AWD gets independent suspension all round, which has improved the ride multifold. The Duster already had a sweet ride but with the rear wheels playing ballerinas all by themselves, it is a joy to mix surfaces and undulations along the way. 
The Duster AWD can hold speeds of 100kmph on gravel without breaking a sweat. It can go faster over the bazillion speed humps you encounter every day than the car you’ve driven most of your life and it can corner fast enough to break speed limits. These are the values every car sold in India should possess. 
Coming to the AWD bit, I’ve done a bit of mild off-roading in the car. It is fairly capable as long you don’t throw in the crawling bits, crazy inclines and loose sand. The Duster AWD was never meant to be a true-blue off roader. A soft roader it is though and a very agile one at that. 
For the two weeks the Duster AWD has been around, it has given me plenty of reasons to hate it. But every time I seen a massive traffic jam on the highway, I switch the toggle to auto mode, take the dirt patches along the tarmac and drive past a million motorists. The time I save and the expressions I get are priceless. As for the Duster AWD, it is Rs 1.6 lakh more than the 2WD.
Date Acquired: January 14, 2014
Total km till date: 1007km
Fuel consumed: 76 litres 
Efficiency: 13.3kmpl (As tested)
Cheers: Fun to drive, brilliant ride quality, good multimedia system
Sneers: Quality levels, lack of equipment 
Total Cost: Nil

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