Driver can select between 2WD, Automatic, and 4 wheel drive Lock modes. Picture: SUPPLIED
Driver can select between 2WD, Automatic, and 4 wheel drive Lock modes. Picture: SUPPLIED

Following the launch of the new-generation Duster in October 2018 in two-wheel drive form, the 4x4 version has reached SA.

In a market segment where many SUVs are distinctly tar-focused the Duster stands out as being one of the more offroad-capable, and this ability is enhanced by the addition of all-wheel drive.

The part-time system allows the driver to switch between three driving modes: front-wheel drive when fuel economy is the primary focus, permanent all-wheel drive for rough tracks, and an automatic mode where torque is varied between the front and rear wheels as driving conditions demand.

The Duster’s 210mm ground clearance is already one of the highest in the segment, giving it what Renault says is best-in-class approach (30°) and departure (34°) angles for clambering through the rough stuff.

There’s no low range transfer case but the French offroader does have hill descent control that automatically brakes the vehicle to guide it safely down steep slopes.

The new 4x4 Duster is available in a single mid-spec Dynamique model with an 80kW/150Nm 1.5l turbo diesel engine and six-speed Dual-Clutch automatic gearbox.

Like the rest of the recently launched second-generation Duster range, the 4x4 benefits from improved refinement, new styling and a fuller spec sheet while still remaining relatively affordable.

The styling makeover involves a bolder new look that exudes a more robust off-roader look that’s enhanced by front and rear skid plates, LED daytime running lights, a chrome grille, and cross-style tail lights that somewhat plagiarise the Jeep Renegade.

An interior revamp sees the formerly cheap-looking cabin adopting a more upmarket look with more premium-looking textures, although the plastics are hard and not the classier soft-touch type.

Improved ergonomics include steering that can now adjust for both height and reach, allowing for a more varied range of different-sized drivers to find a comfortable driving position.

All Duster variants have dual front airbags, electronic stability control and ABS brakes as standard safety kit, while the convenience boxes are also comprehensively ticked with features  such as cruise control.

Dynamique spec additionally comes with automatic climate control, rear parking sensor, side airbags, and an 18cm touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

The 4x4 version also throws in blind spot warning, and a multiview camera that helps the driver keep clear of objects around the vehicle. A 4x4 monitor shows the pitch and roll angles of the Duster.

Renault claims the Duster 4x4 will sip just 5.2l of diesel every 100km, is able to cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 12.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 168km/h.

Launched as an affordable, unpretentious and terrain-capable SUV, the first-generation Duster was a success for the French brand, having sold more than 2-million units worldwide and 16,500 locally since it was launched here in 2013.

RENAULT DUSTER PRICING

Duster 1.6 Expression 4x2 - R255,900

Duster 1.5 dCi Dynamique 4x2 - R288,900

Duster 1.5 dCi Dynamique  EDC 4x2 - R322,900

Duster 1.5 dCi Dynamique  4x4 - R327,900

Duster 1.5dCi Prestige EDC 4x2 - R340,900

Prices include a five year/150,000km warranty and three year/45,000km service plan, with 15,000km service intervals.