The Duster was one of Renault’s first big hits in India and kickstarted the trend of monocoque midsize SUVs in the country.
Renault India has stopped production of the Duster SUV at its Sriperumbudur plant, almost 10 years since the first unit rolled out in July 2012. The Duster was one of the first mainstream products from the manufacturer in India, and was a sales success with close to 40,000 units sold in its first year of production. The Duster was also the SUV that kickstarted the monocoque midsize SUV segment with rivals such as the Hyundai Creta joining in later.
- For nearly 10 years, the Duster was on sale only in first-gen guise
- Duster was last available with 1.5 petrol and 1.3 turbo-petrol engines
- No replacement planned at the moment
Renault Duster in India: a brief recap
The Duster was launched in India with a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine with two power outputs. Its sales hit the one lakh milestone in 2014, with the SUV receiving multiple special editions and mechanical updates – like the Duster AWD diesel variant that was introduced in September 2014. The Duster AWD still remains a popular choice for many SUV enthusiasts, thanks to its supple ride quality and off-road abilities.
In an attempt to compete with modern rivals, Renault also introduced an AMT gearbox with the Duster 2016 facelift. The Duster AMT was later joined by a petrol CVT variant, thus widening the gearbox choices for the entire line-up. The introduction of the CVT coincided with a change of heart as the SUV’s old 1.6-litre unit made way for a newer 1.5-litre naturally aspirated unit.
In 2020, Renault pulled the plug on the 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine – due to stringent BS6 norms – dropped the CVT gearbox option with the 1.5-litre petrol engine and discontinued the diesel AWD variant.
A few months later, the carmaker added a new 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine to the Duster’s line-up, gave the SUV another mild update and reintroduced the CVT gearbox on the turbo-petrol. The new turbo-petrol churned out 156hp, making the Duster one of the most powerful midsize SUVs in its class.
Cashing in on the popularity of the Duster and the growing midsize SUV trend, sister-brand Nissan also introduced a slightly different looking version of the Duster called the Nissan Terrano, which was on sale from 2013 to 2020 in the Indian market.
The Duster is based on the Renault group’s capable B0 platform that underpinned multiple vehicles in India: the Logan, Verito, Duster, Lodgy, Terrano, Captur and Kicks – the Kicks is the last model on that platform which is still on sale in India.
At Autocar India, the Duster has been one of our favourite SUVs throughout its life cycle. We drove it all the way to Cambodia from India in 2016, as well as from Agra to Bangkok. The Duster was also the support vehicle on our Delhi to Paris drive in a Renault Kwid, in 2017.
Do you think Renault should bring back the Duster with a new-generation model? Let us know in the comments below.