Confirmation of the right-hand drive production of the popular Duster SUV came with the announcement of its arrival in India. The Dacia is set to be launched in the UK at the end of 2012. As the new Fluence starts delivery in India, Renault announced the production and sale of Duster under its French marque in India.
The SUV is included in a lineup that’s meant to cover a big portion of the local market segments. The Duster, which was built at the Chennai plant, had received adjustments to suit the conditions in the Indian market. Renault sought to make Indian consumers satisfied, with emphasis on giving them value for money as well as fitting in the technological features.
This is the first time for Renault or its Indian market to plan five launches in a 15-month period. So far, the response to its Indian flagship Fluence, which was first to get launched in late May, had been highly positive.
The Koleos, which is in the premium SUV segment, follows the Fluence. The third is a compact car built on an Alliance platform that will embody the core range model. A fifth vehicle is expected to be revealed in a later date.
These five cars will comprise the most youthful range in the Indian market. To get loyal customers, the carmaker has to offer high-quality services and an extensive network. So far, the network of Renault India includes 14 dealerships. It’s expected to reach 40 by the end of 2011 and to 100 at the end of 2012. These dealerships cover 55 cities or about 90% of the market.
The service offer also has a comprehensive package named “Renault Complete Care,” which assigns technicians who were trained in France at each dealership. This package includes 24/7 assistance as well as a four-year/80,000 km warranty and a one-year warranty for maintenance and repair. Free service coupons are also given at 2,000 km, 10,000 km and 20,000 km.
As designed, the new Dacia Duster offers a true go-anywhere capability, allowing it to traverse any type of road or track. For those seeking a Duster with ample ground clearance as well as a high driving position sans any need for a four-wheel drive system, they may avail of the 4x2 version. For those who are seeking some off-road action, the 4x4 version of the Duster is available. To achieve this all-road capability, the new Dacia Duster features a reinforced undercarriage, a high ground clearance of over 200mm, and notable clearance angles (approach and departure angles of 30 degrees and over 35 degrees, respectively).
With a low unladen weight of 1,180kg (4x2) or 1,280kg (4x4) and compact proportions, the new Duster is easy to drive and is very agile. In particular, the 4x4 version of the Duster is specified with distinct intuitive control from Nissan placed at the foot of the centre console. This allows Duster drivers to easily adapt its transmission configuration according to the present underlying needs. Three modes are available: Auto Lock and 4x2.
In Auto mode, the system automatically computes the front/rear torque split as a function of available grip, thereby ensuring optimal traction no matter how much grip is available for a genuine 4x4 ability. In normal situations, the system may transmit all available torque to the front wheels only.
But when the car loses traction or when grip is at a premium, some of the torque is routed to the rear axle. In extreme situations, the system may distribute torque equally between the front and rear wheels, thanks to an electromagnetic torque converter from Nissan. Meanwhile, the Lock mode sets the car as a full-time 4x4 – 50 percent of torque is consistently transmitted to the rear axle. Drivers may find this mode ideal when tackling roads laden with snow, dirt, sand or mud or in low grip conditions at low speeds.
But when the driver is cruising on a good road, he or she could opt for the fuel-saving 4x2 mode, in which the transmission is locked into two-wheel drive. The new Dacia Duster revalidates the brand’s philosophy by offering a spacious interior at a very affordable price. Moreover the Duster has low running costs as it consumes less fuel and offers a high level of safety and reliability in any condition.
Customers may find the price of the new Dacia Duster comparable to that of a city car, its exterior and interior dimensions are more comparable to those of a compact car. The new Duster could accommodate five adults with all occupants benefitting from the same amount of space as that of its sister Logan model. Aside from providing a comfortable passenger room, the Duster also offers ample boot space at up to 475dm3 ISO.
Once the rear benchseats are folded, the Duster offers over 1,600dm3 ISO of cargo space. Both versions of the of the new Dacia Duster -- 4x2 and 4x4 – could be powered with either a 1.6 16V petrol engine that produces 110hp or a dCi diesel powerplant in 85hp and 105hp variants. All these three engines – already installed in a number of Renault group models – offer low cost, substantial strength and ease of maintenance.
Their modest need for fuel as well as the Duster's low weight allows them to return strong fuel consumption figures and low emission levels. For instance, a 4x2 Duster powered by a dCi diesel engine emits less than 140 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, while its more capable 4x4 sibling returns 150 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.