Here's a little riddle: the Duster lies on a platform that's a modified version of the previous generation Renault Clio's chassis, so what do you think is one of its main purposes? You are right - to be driven in the city.
Forget many of the things you knew about driving a manual in the city: like most diesel Renaults, the Duster's gearbox comes with incredibly short ratios, which means that you'll often find yourself driving at city speeds... in fifth gear.
The suspension has been made to withstand off-road driving without complaining and while this does affect handling at high speeds, inside the city the Duster will cushion any blow coming from the road and follow your orders without too much hesitation.
At the moment we tested the car, the winter was one of the harshest in decades, so the city was covered in snow and ice. In these conditions, the Duster brought a smile on our faces every morning.
As we approached the car shivering, we knew that we'd get a partner that's not just ready to use its 4WD and ground clearance to get us through the snow, but also its compact dimensions to make this a fast process and it's strict ESP to keep the back from stepping out when entering ice-covered streets. It's amazing how you look at other crossover and SUV drivers in front of you, see them sliding all over the place over a bumpy, icy section, prepare for the worst and then see that almost nothing happens when you reach that area.
However, one you've reached you destination and you have to park, you will be annoyed by the fact that you have to struggle with the mediocre rear visibility and you can't rely on any parking sensors, as these can't even be found on the list of optionals.
Like we said, at city speeds the Duster manages to listen to the driver despite its off-road-biased suspension. As the speedometer travels further towards open road values, things being to change, but the car never feels unsafe.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
Oil, oh sweet oil, this is what I've been waiting for: a Duster that burns oil. Even though the rest of the car is the same. the fact that I can feel that diesel on the pump's handle when I have to refill - quite a rare occasion, I have to say - makes me love this car even more than before.
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