Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Driving -

Pric­ing, ca­pa­bil­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity have helped drive bud­get-con­scious adventurers to­wards the Duster, which has be­come quite the hit in the com­pact SUV mar­ket. To date all mod­els have been man­ual-shift, but in re­sponse, to quote Renault's words, “cus­tomer needs”, it's spiced up the proven SUV recipe with an Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) trans­mis­sion, as hap­pened ear­lier with the more up­mar­ket Kadjar. Smart move. The auto seems well suited to the 1,5 tur­bod­iesel en­gine it's matched with. Our Gaut­eng test route kept us mostly on tar, but a de­tour on gravel in­di­cated that the EDC Duster is a pack­age well suited to its likely users' life­styles. Only the flag­ship Duster gets a full 4x4 driv­e­train, so the EDC is avail­able only in 4x2. The Duster EDC'S 6-speed au­to­matic gear­box uses two clutches un­der elec­tronic con­trol, with one clutch al­ways in readi­ness for a change while the other en­gages. That's a recipe for op­ti­mised ef­fi­ciency, Renault says, with the com­fort of an au­to­matic, the re­spon­sive­ness of a man­ual and fuel ef­fi­ciency. In com­bi­na­tion with the punchy 80 kw/250 N.m 1.5 dci, ex­pected fuel con­sump­tion is 4,8 litres/100km, and CO2 emis­sions 126 g/km. ABS, Emergency Brake As­sist and Driver and Pas­sen­ger Airbags (front +side) come stan­dard in the Duster Model range, with ESP with trac­tion con­trol on the 4x2 EDC. The ve­hi­cle comes in Dy­namique spec­i­fi­ca­tion; me­tal­lic paint is a R2 500 op­tion.

Price R 299 900.

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