Renault Duster 4×4 Road Trip - Done and Duste(re)d

Image: Renault SA
Image: Renault SA

With the induction of the 4×4-derivative of the revamped Renault Duster the local range is now literally done and duste(re)d … and considering its performance on a short road trip route, it should fare even better than its predecessor on the sales front.

Following the launch of the new Duster in October last year, the introduction of the 4×4 model, displaying the same enhanced genetics as the rest of the range, was much anticipated. 

After its launch in Gauteng we did a short road trip on a route mixing rural tar and gravel roads, as well as a quite technical off-road trail, and the newcomer impressed with its depth of talent – on and off the road.

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renault duster

                                                                             Image: Renault SA / Supplied

The four-wheel drive SUV inherits the same new exterior styling as its 4×2 siblings, giving it a more assertive, robust, and visually more muscular look. Its stance is emphasised by more horizontal lines, new 16-inch wheels, more prominent aluminium roof bars, front and rear skid plates, and chrome trim of the grille. 

As we found on the 4×4 track, the muscular exterior is matched by its off-road capabilities – thanks to its ground clearance of 210 mm and an ample 30°approach and 34° departure angles. This is further accentuated by the dynamic 1.5-litre dCi engine of the 4×4 version, mated with a six-speed manual gearbox. 

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renault duster

                                                                                            Image: Renault SA

While not particularly powerful or torquey (80 kW and 260 Nm) the turbodiesel has a good spread of power, making it easy to modulate off-road, and it combines well with the proven Nissan-derived four-wheel drive system with three modes selectable by Transmission Mode Selector.

The drivetrain combination also works well on-road and the chassis of the Dynamique grade 4×4 feels solid, providing greater driving comfort and pleasure, and it also proved frugal, consuming just over 6 litres/100 km over the test route. 

renault duster

                                                                                              Image: Renault SA

The redesigned interior and upholstery feature a higher quality finish, as does the ergonomically designed dashboard and standard equipment include GPS navigation with smartphone compatibility, blind spot warning, automatic climate control, speed limiter, and cruise control. 

The 4×4 is now also equipped with Hill Descent Control, a multi-view camera for better visibility of the front, rear or side terrain, a 4×4 monitor to check pitch and roll angles, while the boot offers loading capacity of up to 478 litres. Available for R327,900 the new Duster 1.5 dCi Dynamique 4×4 is now even better equipped to be the toughest off-roader for all …

renault duster

                                                                                                   Image: Renault SA

Duster: the origin of the nameSince its original release six years ago, the Renault Duster has proved extremely popular, with more than two million units sold globally and in excess of 16,500 locally. But where does the name Duster come from? 

While originally a model from Dacia, owned by Renault, the name has no French or Romanian connection. No, it was a Brit who came up with the name back in 1983. You see, at the time Robert Wilson was the importer of Romanian-made cars to the United Kingdom and this included a 4×4 called the Aro 10. 

renault roumanie

                                                                                                          Image: Renault SA

Aro had previously failed in the United Kingdom with a larger model, so to avoid the association, Wilson decided to rename the 4×4 the Dacia Duster. “I was visualising it travelling along a desert floor with a swirling dust cloud behind it; there were also lots of Westerns on television at the time where the cowboys wore white duster coats,” he explained in a letter to the United Kingdom **Sunday Times**.

renault dakar

                                                                                                       Image: Renault SA

He also indicated the original Duster was never imported in bulk, as the manufacturing was of poor quality, and that they did not really sell well. However, when Dacia and Renault started with the development of a new compact SUV/crossover someone must have remembered the Duster of yore …

Wilson. who now lives in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, never received recognition for coining the name of the model, which now is one of the most popular vehicles in the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

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road trip

                                                                                                         

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