Colin-on-Cars – Road Review: Renault Duster 1,5 dCi TechRoad auto

Buying a car is both an emotional and expensive commitment and, even with the current low interest rates, getting it wrong will be a costly and painful experience.

This is why new car buyers should take a leaf out of the boook of astute fleet managers and carefully analyse the purchase. Price, obviously is a primary concern but that merely gives a guide to the bracket in which to look and where emotion should be sent to the background.

Carefully consider what you will be doing with your new vehicle – how many kilometres will it do every month, in what kind of conditions (urban, highway, rural or a combination), what you need it to do (family transport, carry big loads etc) and what you expect from the vehicle.

That, in a nutshell, is a ‘fit-for-purpose’ analysis and fleet managers who do this, ensure every vehicle purchased for the company is perfectly suited to the reason it is being bought.

This brings me to the recently updated Renault Duster TechRoad 1,5 dCi 4×2 auto that slots, with its manual sibling, into the middle of the Duster range.

With quite a large spread of vehicles in a similar pricing bracket to the Duster, the fit-for-purpose analysis becomes quite critical. For instance, there is the Hyundai Venue 1,0 T Motion, Jeep Renegade 1,4 T Sport and the Ford Ecosport 1,0 Trend and they all very different in nature.

More than 21 000 Dusters have been sold locally since it was first launched in 2013, meaning the brand and model have a solid grounding that puts a tick in one of the bixes in the consideration list. Another could be the fact it is diesel driven, meaning it is economical and has more power lower in the rev range than petrol opposition.

The Duster TechRoad comes with a 1,5-litre dCi turbo-diesel engine that outputs 80 kW at 4 000 r/min and 250 Nm at 1 750 r/min. Fuel consumption on my test route mix of urban, rural and highway roads came in at 5,1 l/100km.

CO2 emissions are 126 g/km and it will stroll from zero to 100 km/h in 11,9 seconds and on to a top speed of 165 km/h – so, yes, it is no sports SUV. But the, it was never designed to be one.

Features specific to this particular model include a revised interior with distinct design accents within the cabin, Rear-View Camera and 17-inch Diamond Cut wheels.          

The New Renault Duster TechRoad’s revised styling highlights feature bold, more horizontal lines, prominent silver roof rails and front and rear skid plates. The TechRoad’s exterior is enhanced by bespoke badging, black shiny door mirrors and patterned stripping on the side doors.

Inside, the upholstery features blue trim detailing on the seats and blue design accents within the cabin. The New Duster also offers a modular interior layout to easily adapt to needs, with the rear bench seat featuring a 1/3 – 2/3 split-fold function, while the boot boasts a loading capacity of up to 478 litres.

Active and passive safety technology as standard across the range, includes anti-lock braking with EBD in conjunction with EBA.

It also comes with navigation, USB, Bluetooth and Renault’s speed control and/or Cruise control. If anything is missing in the spec list for me, it would be auto on headlights.

Other than that, it has exactly what you would expect at the price point – also important on that checklist.

The TechRoad provides a comfortable driving space and with vertical, fore, aft and adjustable steering can be tailored to suit any driver, still keeping all dials perfectly visible.

On the road it offers a generally comfortable ride with balanced overall behaviour on both sealed and unsealed roads – the 210 mm of ground clearance giving the edge over many rivals in the price bracket. For the record it has an approach angle of 30 degrees and departure angle of 34 degrees, meaning it can be taken into quite rutted country with ease.

While never intended to be hurled into corners like a Mégane Trophy, the Duster nevertheless has ‘genteel’ road manners and will respond to throttle and steering inputs quickly and accurately, but there are limits!

In every sense it is a practical, comfortable and economical car so if your ‘fit-for-purpose’ includes getting away from its all and a little off the beaten track, then the Duster ticks that box as well.

As is standard across Renault’s entire product range, the Renault Duster range comes standard with a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. Services take place at 15 000 km intervals, and a standard 3-year/45000 km service plan applies.

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