Unlike most European cars that come to India losing most of their features, the Duster actually gained a lot of features when it landed.
As mentioned in the Design review, the Duster is pitched as a premium vehicle in India unlike in Europe where it is a budget car. Thus, the interiors of the Dacia Duster had to be completely revamped before putting a Renault badge on it. A call was made to the Mumbai design center and we have new interiors which are exclusive to the Indian market.
The dashboard has been revamped for India. The India version gets a combination of black and beige with hints of wooden finish for the top variants. Open the door and you would easily see the connection between the Logan and Duster. Being a French manufacturer, you see a lot of French quirkiness in the ergonomics.
The tilt-adjustable steering wheel is leather wrapped but the stitching is a bit coarse. The steering mounted controls are not on the steering wheel but there is a separate stalk for all controls. The advantages are immense because you don’t accidentally hit the buttons when cornering. Moreover, the stalk that controls volumes and music is very intuitively designed and extremely easy to get used to.
The indicator and wiper stalks have been interchanged.
The dial cluster is very primitive but has a small MID display to give you all sorts of driving related information such as range, real time fuel economy, average fuel economy etc.
Moving to the center console, you will notice small space above the AC vents for storage. The integrated stereo system supports CD, USB and AUX with Bluetooth connectivity. Some of the ergonomic quirkiness is evident in the center console. The door lock-unlock button, seat belt warning sign is integrated in the center console than their regular places. The big circular knob changes radio frequency and not volume as one would intuitively imagine. The knob to change the inclination of the beam is position way below the dashboard.
Neat storage solutions are all around the driver. They fit all sort of bottles and cans on the market. The glove box is adequate and lit. Absence of dead pedal and driver armrest is sorely missed.
The seats very comfortable but adjusting them to get the right driving position is a tall order. Especially adjusting the seat for height is a highly tedious task. The easiest way to do it is to get out of the car, adjust it and get back in. In the top model, you can get the seats in perforated leather.
The rear is a mixed bag of disappointment and joy. The rear does not have ample leg space. More importantly, thanks to the dedicated AC vent at the back, only two people sit comfortably. However, the rear AC vent has a dedicated condenser to keep the rear passengers cool at all times.
A center armrest has two cup holders for the rear passenger. A dedicated charging point makes working with your laptop a breeze. Headroom and shoulder room is very adequate in both front and the rear seats.
The Duster comes with a 475L bootspace with the seats up and a massive 1,064L with the seats down. Unfortunately, there is no 60-40 split for the rear seats. A huge rear parcel tray is very convenient to just throw magazines and newspaper once done reading. The rear wiper aids parking when it is raining. It also comes with a washer.
Unlike the Mahindra Scorpio, the Duster is a 5 seater. However, Renault plans to provide 2 extra jump seats as a paid accessory. Looking at the rear space, we doubt that these jump seats are of any use at all.
What did I not like about the Interiors?
Apart from the French quirkiness (and trust me there is a lot of it), here are some points to be considered:
- Though Renault has tried their best to make the interior up market, the plastic quality gives away everything. These are hard plastic parts that don’t feel premium
- Elastic straps instead of proper cup holders gets a big no from us
- There is questionable build quality as a lot of parts in our vehicle rattled at average speeds
- Cruise control and sunroof missing on the top end model
- The seats are benches instead of bucket seats
The Renault Duster may be premium to look at from the outside. But from the inside that feeling does not continue. The interior is basic but very functional. The plastics are at certain points, very crude. But just like the Logan, the interior of the Duster comes across as if it can take huge amount of sustained abuse.
Stay tuned for the driving review.