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Thami Masemola
Date published: 29/08/2019
Tags: New; Renault; Duster; TechRoad; Mzansi
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New Renault Duster TechRoad

Renault has to be absolutely delighted with the way things have turned out for its Duster SUV. Originally launched here in Mzansi in September 2013, the Duster has become a firm favourite among those looking for a reasonably-priced, compact family SUV with plenty of features. So popular in fact is the vehicle, that over 17 000 units have been sold locally since the original was launched. A brand new model was launched in late 2018 from where this updated Duster TechRoad is derived.

So what sets the TechRoad apart from its siblings? For starters, it comes with enhanced features, some of which we will go into throughout this article. Also, its price point is pretty compelling when you look at what is currently on offer elsewhere. While the previous-generation Duster was quite “industrial” in its appearance, the new model is very much current. A more muscular, yet smoother tone has been adopted for the large front grille with a chrome trim.

The side view highlights a proportional design, with the new 17-inch Diamond Cut wheels standing out more boldly. Prominent silver roof rails with “Duster” hollowed through them are of course not just for show, but for the added practicality of carrying a suitable roof rack. The rear end features those smoothed out square lights in 3D effect, a large chrome bar with “Duster” badging on the boot, and body protection (skid plate). Buyers of the 4x4 version – of which the TechRoad is not – will be particularly pleased with the 210mm ground clearance, 30-degree approach and 34-degree departure angles.

A lot of work has gone into making the interior ambiance a pleasant space to be in. The cabin is spacious and comfortable, with a good round view for the driver. Special attention has been paid to the fit and finish, as well as build materials, giving the new Duster a more upmarket feel than ever before. A red TechRoad-specific design line is seen in several areas of the interior. As a family car, storage is important for the occupants, and Renault has happily obliged with a number of different storage spaces throughout. The boot itself has a big loading capacity of 478 litres.

What would a Renault be without features normally found in more expensive cars? And so Duster TechRoad stays with this trend by including such items as a 17.8cm touch screen infotainment system with satellite navigation access, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, car systems information and others. The driver can also activate Cruise Control, or the Speed Limiter (very useful on open roads), and Automatic Climate Control.

Probably the best feature of the new Duster is the diesel engine with two power outputs. Yes, there is a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, but the 1.5-litre dCi turbo diesel is a gem in the segment. Maximum power for the 6-speed manual, 4x2 model is 66kW and 210Nm of torque, while fuel consumption sits at only 5.1 litres per 100km. The 4x2 EDC automatic outputs 80kW and 250Nm, with consumption at an incredible 4.8 litres per 100km. That means one can realistically travel about 1 000km on a single full tank.