Table of contents:
- This year Renault Duster is celebrating its anniversary: its production at the Moscow plant Avtoframos began at the end of 2011. However, by that time the car had been on sale in Europe for a couple of years already - under the Dacia brand. Over the years, Duster managed to undergo an update, become a Russian bestseller among crossovers, lose this status and acquire "close relatives" - the platform Renault Kaptur and Arkana. And now, finally, the second generation of the budget crossover debuted. By the way, again much later than the European counterpart
Video: Filling The Budget: First Test Of The New Renault Duster
2023 Author: Natalie MacDonald | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 02:36
This year Renault Duster is celebrating its anniversary: its production at the Moscow plant Avtoframos began at the end of 2011. However, by that time the car had been on sale in Europe for a couple of years already - under the Dacia brand. Over the years, Duster managed to undergo an update, become a Russian bestseller among crossovers, lose this status and acquire "close relatives" - the platform Renault Kaptur and Arkana. And now, finally, the second generation of the budget crossover debuted. By the way, again much later than the European counterpart
“Budgetary? You're kidding me! " - say a potential buyer who has looked into the Renault configurator. Or, even worse, in the "Available Cars" section. Because there he finds offers "from 1,065,000 rubles." Already the basic Duster, which will be difficult to find on the street and even at a dealer, is now estimated at 945,000 rubles - 33,000 more expensive than before. And the cars that will be discussed in this article cost 1.4 million at all.
However, let's remember the end of the nineties and translate these numbers into “conventional units”. The simplest Duster Access with a 1.6-liter "aspirated" and front-wheel drive costs about $ 12,000, all-wheel drive starts at about $ 14,000, and the most sophisticated crossover with an automatic transmission and in the top-of-the-range Style does not go beyond $ 19,000. And when Duster just made its debut in Russia, it was estimated at 15, 17 and 23 thousand dollars, respectively! So it wasn't so much the absolute prices for the Renault crossover that changed, but our earnings. And Duster is not at all to blame for this.
But over the past decade, the very concept of "budget" has been transformed as applied to the car. In the very first inexpensive cars that gained popularity in Russia, they saved on everything. They had dead engines, there were no "automatic machines" (and if there were, then some ancient ones), the simplest chassis design was used, and they looked completely unassuming. Plus a condo interior with a minimum of amenities and, again, with a tractor cab design. In general, these were cars for those who “go and feel good”. The main thing is not to break. And here everything was in order for the "state employees": the simplicity and conservatism of the design promised high reliability.
But today a “budget” car is no longer a synonym for the word “poor”. The new Duster is for sure. Yes, its creators also counted every ruble. This proves at least a comparison of dollar prices above. But they did not, as before (hello, the first Logan!) Earnestly save on materials, design and horsepower. On the contrary, now the Renault crossover looks like a muscular guy, the engine is nowhere more modern in the list of versions, and the interior can be scolded only for some straightforward lines and severity - not superfluous, however, for a car of this class.
The main "correction of mistakes" was done by Renault in the interior. And in advance - even when preparing for the release of Arkana. Duster received the same interior with minimal changes due to the specifics of the model. For example, in place of a decorative strip that makes the interior of a coupe-crossover visually more expensive, the hard worker-Duster has a shelf for a passenger where you can put your phone. And instead of a beautiful key fob with keyless access, there is only a standard key with a flip sting, which needs to pierce the neck of the steering column.
But the column itself is now, like on other Renault crossovers, adjustable not only in height, but also in reach. And this, coupled with new seats (also from Arcana), radically solved the issue of ergonomics - Duster became a car in which it is comfortable to sit! Arkana, I remember, could not boast of this. Yes, the landing is a bit high, but off-road this is a plus - the view is better. And there is enough space above your head, although the new Duster has a more inclined windshield, and he himself has become slightly lower.
The biggest complaint about ergonomics is, perhaps, the "handbrake". The lever is displaced to the right, therefore, using it, the driver often hits the passenger. In this case, the bottles in the cup holders also turn out to be clearly superfluous. But the fact that the long-familiar transmission control washer moved there is a plus. Now you can block the clutch connecting the rear axle with one movement, literally by touch.
Despite some other common fittings and design continuity, the new Duster is not a deep restyling of the old one, but really a new generation crossover. It does not have a single body part from the previous car, and the power structure is generally new, made of more durable steel, which should increase the passive safety of the car. The torsional rigidity of the body has also increased.
The wheel suspensions, at first glance, have not changed - McPherson at the front, multi-link (with all-wheel drive) or beam (on front-wheel-drive cars) at the rear. However, there are no old parts in them either. The front suspension subframe is different, like the Arcana, the levers have become longer, the stiffness of the springs and shock absorbers has been changed. And the main innovation of the chassis is the electric power steering instead of the previous "gidracha".
And with all this arsenal, Duster went much nobler. The steering wheel has become informative - on the highway, its zero position is well felt, and how the effort in turns changes as the front wheels are loaded (or unloaded). With the new amplifier, the rail is shorter: from stop to stop, it is now only 3.05 revolutions. The indicator is not a record, but on mountain serpentines it is not necessary to wrap around the steering wheel. And most importantly, when the Duster hits a bad road, the steering wheel no longer hits the driver's hands. He feels only small vibrations on the most unpleasant irregularities.
And if earlier the crossover was praised for its road "omnivorousness", then in the new generation this property has moved to the next level. The roads in Dagestan, where the test took place, do not differ at all in the quality of asphalt, and on a good half of the route it was not at all. But Duster swallows everything equally easily - pits with sharp edges, speed bumps, folds of asphalt formed at the site of expansion joints, road waves on which cars are ready to fly into the air, primers covered with stones the size of two or three fists … And it does not just swallow (some frame SUVs can do this too) - it allows you to rush in Dagestan directions without shaking out the soul and dental crowns from the passengers.
And you want to rush! After all, another important new thing for the crossover is a fresh power unit. An already decent pool of engines, including a diesel engine, was replenished with a TCe 150 turbo engine, which is already being put on Arkana and the restyled Kaptur. Duster got it in two possible combinations. The first - with a variator, which was reconfigured specifically for him. The torque converter in it locks up much later than in other Renault crossovers - at a speed of 40 km / h. This will allow the box to last longer off-road, where the transformer can smooth out jerks resulting from non-uniformity of the coating and high loads. How it works in real off-road conditions, we will try to find out later - there were no such cars on the test.
But we were able to get acquainted with a completely new combination - a turbo engine plus a 6-speed "mechanics". It turned out to be both economical and fiery. In mixed driving mode, the turbo-Duster fits into 7.5-8 l / 100 km, and it is also certified for 92nd gasoline. And 150 forces allow you to accelerate the crossover, according to its passport, up to 194 km / h. Although according to the same performance characteristics, it reaches 100 km / h slower than the variator Arkana.
But in reality, it is not so much horsepower and seconds that are important, as the amount of traction that the driver receives "under the pedal." In this, the turbocharged Duster with its 250 Nm of torque (that's even more than the diesel version of the crossover!) Is especially good. Feels like the dynamics of the car is not "budget" at all. You just need to keep the engine "in revolution", otherwise it responds with an offended hiss to pressing the accelerator. The turbine is able to compensate for a small working volume (and here only 1332 cm3) only to two thousand rpm, but if you want to go really fast, it is better not to lower the needle below 2500–3000 rpm.
And constantly wielding the "mechanics" lever is not required, even though the mechanism works quite clearly. On the suburban highway, the turbocharged Duster manages only a couple of gears. The fifth is needed for overtaking trucks or when the road goes on a long rise. The sixth is for everything else.
This is because the gear ratios in the box are dialed in a peculiar way. The first stage, traditionally for Duster, is very short - it plays the role of an absent "lowering" on the road. You can and should get under way from a traffic light on the second - with a turbo engine it turns out even easier than with a diesel engine. Further, the transmissions are closer together - and only the last two are more extended.
Duster's cross-country ability is also doing well - even better than before. Firstly, the mountain descent assistant has appeared in the list of equipment. We put in first gear, press the Hill Descent Control button to the left of the steering wheel, and the Duster gently drives down. Moreover, the descent speed can be adjusted by short pressing on the brake or gas.
Secondly, when the driver activates the 4WD Lock mode with a puck, now not only the clutch is blocked (by the way, it is still the same, with a large margin of safety and resistance to overheating). At the same time, the response of the turbo engine to the accelerator changes: the pedal becomes less sensitive, which helps to avoid unnecessary slippage on slippery surfaces.
As a result, the new turbo-Duster is a real alternative not only to the two-liter naturally aspirated version, which Renault has left especially for the "Old Believers"! It is more interesting than a crossover with a 109-horsepower diesel engine. Yes, the diesel engine has a loyal fan club for a long time: about every fifth Duster sold drives diesel fuel. The unit has long proven its reliability, consumes little fuel and produces a lot of traction required on the road. But now the Duster 1.5 dCi already seems rough. Because a crossover with a gasoline turbo engine is not inferior to that in cross-country ability, but at the same time it is faster, quieter and does not consume much more fuel (in the same combined cycle, a diesel engine consumes about 6.5 liters).
The question of reliability - yes, it is still open. Renault says that the engine has withstood the most severe tests, that there are already many turbocharged Arkans that have run more than 100 thousand km, that of the 16 thousand engines sold, not a single one has yet to be completely changed … But what will happen to steel spraying on aluminum cylinder walls, with high-pressure fuel pumps or direct injection nozzles, if somewhere in the Dagestan mountains to refuel with "burned" gasoline? And the diesel engine has been tested over the years of operation - and can travel 400 thousand km without major repairs …
But if your Duster will only see off-roading on weekends, and even then not every, then you should consider buying a turbocharged version. Yes, she is the most expensive. The machine with the "mechanics" is from 1,340,000 to 1,400,000 rubles, and with a variator for another 60,000 rubles more. However, a diesel engine with the same level of equipment will save the buyer only thirty thousand rubles, and a two-liter atmospheric engine with a capacity of 143 hp. - fifty. In terms of the overall price - not that much money. True, with these motors, Duster can be bought in a more modest Life configuration, for 1 230 000 or 1 210 000 rubles accordingly. But it will already be close to the very concept of "rides and good".
Indeed, in rich trim levels, the list of crossover equipment has become noticeably longer. Now Duster can be obtained with 6 airbags, climate control, rain and light sensors, heated everything and everything, including the rear seats, eco-leather upholstery, cruise control, 8-inch touchscreen, navigation showing traffic jams, and even all-round cameras ! Of course, for a lot of this you will have to pay extra, but the numbers from the "Options" section do not cause shock, as in some premium configurator. For example, a 360-degree view costs only 15,000 rubles, which is cheaper than metallic paint.
"So what did Renault save on this time?" - the same potential buyer will ask. On the little things. Duster now has fan washer nozzles hidden behind the hood, and frameless brushes - but their capabilities are not enough to properly clean the glass from dirt flying off-road. The rear sofa can be heated, but even in the richest configuration, it is devoid of an armrest. And passengers have nowhere to put glasses. The Easy Link multimedia system supports Yandex. Auto, Apple Carplay and Android Auto services, but the diagonal of its screen is noticeably smaller than the size of the "tablet" on the dashboard. And the resolution is so-so by the standards of 2021. The trunk has increased in volume by 20 liters, but is still poor - for useful additions you need to go to the accessories department.
The main savings came from the rejection of complex electronics. Duster does not have LED headlights and washers, tracking systems for lane markings and blind spots, adaptive cruise control and autobraking, auto-dimming mirrors. And it is unlikely to be in this generation, even if you are willing to pay for each of these positions separately.
But the beauty of this "budget" is that many buyers will not notice it at all. Because they just don't need all of the above. This imperceptibility of savings is the main thing that distinguishes the new crossover from itself a decade ago. And she can move Duster back to the top lines of sales. They say that the demand for it is already exuberant.