Dust maker

New six-speed au­to­box lets Duster sim­ply eat sand dunes

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

THE Re­nault Duster has seen over 12 000 sales since its 2013 launch, many of them to rental agen­cies, where the op­er­a­tors sing this tough lit­tle sport ute’s praises.

Now Re­nault has added a sec­ond clutch in the au­to­matic gear­box to en­sure tourists rent­ing a Duster can kick dust in the eyes of any man­ual 4x4 in the desert. Re­nault said in a state­ment the Re­nault Duster range has been fur­ther en­hanced with the in­tro­duc­tion of the new Ef­fi­cient Dual Clutch (EDC) au­to­matic model.

Dual-clutch gear­boxes do not have torque con­vert­ers, mak­ing them more ef­fi­cient than nor­mal one-clutch auto boxes.

Re­nault’s EDC has six for­ward ra­tios with the ideal gear se­lected by an elec­tronic con­trol unit. The EDC is mated ex­clu­sively to the 1.5 dCi en­gine with an out­put of 80 kW and 250 Nm, de­liv­er­ing a claimed fuel con­sump­tion of 4,8 litres/ 100 km. Re­nault said this “dry” dual clutch sys­tem com­bines the com­fort of an au­to­matic and the re­spon­sive­ness of a man­ual — of­fer­ing flex­i­bil­ity and fuel ef­fi­ciency.

From ex­pe­ri­ence with au­to­matic trans­mis­sions on the Kala­hari’s sand dunes, we can add that the six-speed EDC will also en­able the Duster to keep go­ing over sand in­stead of dig­ging in.

In fact, the 4x4 Duster has re­mark­able off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, with a ground clear­ance of 21 cm and good ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles.

Like most all-wheel drive cars to­day, the Duster comes with three trans­mis­sion modes. 2WD al­lows for the en­gine torque to be dis­trib­uted to the front wheels.

Push the lock but­ton and the en­gine’s torque gets dis­tri­bu­tion to all four wheels.

Au­to­matic mode sends the turn­ing power to the wheel with the most trac­tion. ABS, Emer­gency Brake As­sist, and driver and pas­sen­ger airbags (front and side) come stan­dard in the Duster Model range, with ESP with trac­tion con­trol on the 4x4 and 4x2 EDC en­sur­ing higher lev­els of safety.

The Duster mod­els also come stan­dard with a five-year or 150 000 km me­chan­i­cal war­ranty, a three-year or 45 000 km ser­vice plan (with ser­vice in­ter­vals at 15 000 km in­ter­vals) and a six-year an­ti­cor­ro­sion war­ranty.

Prices for the Dusters on sale in SA start at R239 900 for the Duster 1,6 Ex­pres­sion 4x2 (77 kW) petrol and tops out at R304 900 for the Duster 1,5 dCi Dy­namique 4x4 80kW diesel, while the new Duster 1.5 dCi Dy­namique EDC (80 kW) diesel sells for R299 900.

— WR.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The 2017 Re­nault Duster au­to­matic of­fers the right ra­tios for sand.

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