Small SUVs (or crossovers) continue to dominate the motoring landscape. Consumers seem to love these vehicles for a variety of reasons. For some, it is because of improved safety, while others enjoy driving an SUV at a reduced price. Attempting to make its own mark within the busy crowd, the Renault Duster is a versatile SUV with a bold attitude. We were lucky enough to spend a week with the Intens variant and were rather impressed with it for a number of reasons.

On The Road

When you take control of the Duster Intens, the first thing that you will notice is how high you sit despite this not being the biggest SUV. Heading out onto the road, the automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and the vehicle accelerates quite rapidly when asked to. The 1.5dCi turbo diesel engine packs a punch off the starting line and easily reaches 100km/h+. Anything beyond this and it does struggle a bit, especially when the Eco mode is turned on. It is noticeable when this option is pressed but the Duster still has enough power to make this fuel-efficient addition a welcome one in the current climate. A technological aspect that some may appreciate is the blind spot warning that picks up any hidden cars. Of course, this is incredibly helpful when parking as it combines with the MultiView camera to allow for total control. A final note that must be brought up in this section is the fact that the Intens variant is 4x2, so there is no option to convert the drivetrain to 4x4. For those that wish to go on an offroad adventure, the Zen 4x4 model may suit you better.

On The Inside and Outside

Entering the Duster is quite easy thanks to the hands-free card that unlocks the vehicle upon approach. However, this convenience may not be worth it when you consider that it could be a safety hazard in areas prone to crime. Once within, the driver is greeted to a cabin that is fitted with a number of helpful features including a Media Nav Touch Screen. Each of the components on the dashboard is styled in a way that complements the overall feeling of adventure with a touch of class. The leather steering wheel adds to this and while leather seats don’t come as standard, they are optional. 

This may be a smaller SUV but space shouldn’t be an issue for most. The rear seat features a 1/3-2/3 split-fold function, allowing for more luggage room if you are going on a long holiday. Overall, the inside of the Duster is rather simple with some prominent modern quality-of-life elements that some may find restrained despite having almost everything that you will need.

The adventurous touches that start within flows to the external look of the vehicle as well. It doesn’t appear as tough as other SUVs but it still manages to exude stylish confidence. 17” alloy wheels, longitudinal roof bars and a chrome grill work surprisingly well together visually. This design is emblematic of the many points touched on already as the Duster has one foot in the outdoors with the other firmly in the modern world of technology. This is accenuated by the new c-shaped automatic LED daytime running lights that not only look striking but work well at the same time. Thankfully, this is a vehicle that manages to bring both worlds together (for the most part).

Key Features

  • Speed limiter/Cruise control
  • An array of storage compartments
  • ABS + Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • ESC with Hill Start Assist

Final Thoughts

Pricing for the Renault Duster range lies between R342 900 and R389 900 with the Intens version as the most expensive. While it may cost a little more than some similar compact SUVs on the market, the Duster is certainly worth its cost. From the moment that you take control of this vehicle, a high level of craftsmanship can be felt. It may be rather simple in many ways but for what it is designed to do, the Duster stands firmly as a quality crossover that is priced fairly for what you are getting.