Duster gets a dual-clutch ‘box
RENAULT South Africa has introduced a competitively-priced Duster diesel automatic, the first two-pedal derivative of the French compact SUV since the range was launched here back in 2013.
The EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) six-speed transmission, already available in several other Renault ranges, makes its Duster debut in a single model, the 1.5 DCi 4x2 Dynamique turbodiesel with outputs of 80kW and 250Nm. Priced at R299 900, it’s 20 grand more expensive but has 10Nm more torque than the six-speed manual version which will continue to be sold. There won’t be a 4x4 version as reportedly only 5% of buyers in this segment opt for all-wheel drive.
The price considerably undercuts the only other diesel auto in the compact SUV class, Hyundai’s R374 900 Creta 1.6 CRDi Executive auto, but the Creta is more powerful at 94kW and 260Nm.
Available only in high-spec Dynamique trim, the Duster 1.5 DCi auto comes well specced for the sub-300k pricetag with standard features such as electric windows, parking camera, cruise control, and 18cm MediaNav touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. ABS brakes, stability control and dual front airbags comprise the safety element, while the roomy cabin is paired with an equally spacious 475 litre boot.
There was a time when small engines didn’t mix well with automatic gearboxes, which tended to frantically hunt for gears in a bid to extract some pace from limited power. But the EDC and the Duster’s 1.5 turbodiesel make a happy marriage, with a power delivery that’s as smooth as well-aged whisky and no significant lag off the mark. The dual-clutch transmission feeds on the engine’s fairly hearty torque without fredquently needing to downshift, but when brisk overtakes are called for the gearchanges are nice and slick.
It’s all clean and unobtrusive when left to fend for itself, but you can bump the gearlever forward or back to shift manually if you want to.
A factory-claimed 4.8 litres per 100km makes the automatic 1.5 DCi Duster one of the most economical SUVs in the market, although you can expect it to drink a couple of litres more in real-world driving. Top speed’s quoted at 169km/h – the same as the sixspeed manual version - and it should sprint from 0-100km/h in 11.9 seconds, slightly quicker than the manual’s 12.2.
The new Duster 1.5 DCi Dynamique 4x2 EDC will go on sale in the second week of August. It has a five-year/150 000km warranty and three-year/45 000km service plan, with 15 000km service intervals.
EDC makes a happy pairing with the 1.5 diesel.