The compact SUV segment is one of the most buzzing automotive segments in the country right now, but do you remember the first compact SUV in the Indian market that kick-started this entire segment? Well, it was none other than the Renault Duster, which turned out to be a huge success for the French carmaker in India when it was launched way back in 2012. Almost a decade later, with much newer and modern offerings from rivals, the Renault Duster has largely lost its sheen in the compact SUV segment.
A key reason for its unpopularity in recent times is that the Duster has become an ageing product in the face of many contemporary offerings. While international markets have moved on the second-generation model, Renault continues to sell the Duster in its first-generation guise in India. Although Renault have brought in periodic updates, the most recent being a facelift in 2019, it clearly has not been enough to keep up with the demand of current times.
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Interestingly enough, Renault have now patented the design of the second-gen Duster in India, which suggests that the company still perceives it as a capable brand. This is despite the fact that sales for the current-gen Duster are way below expectations. To give you a perspective, Renault sold only 180 units of the Duster in April 2021. In comparison, the Hyundai Creta, which is currently the segment leader, sold 12,463 units in April 2021. That said, although Renault have patented the design of the next-gen Duster in India, it remains unclear as to when the carmaker could actually launch it in the market.
In international markets, the second-gen Duster gets a more rugged and appealing look. It gets a new chrome-studded design for the grille, a pair of sharper LED headlamps with LED DRLs, prominent front and rear skid plates, a well-sculpted bonnet, 17-inch alloys, functional roof-rails and a set of fashionable square-shaped LED tail lamps. The overall silhouette, however, remains mostly similar and readily identifiable as a Duster. The interior of the second-gen Duster is also a notable improvement over the current model on sale in India. It boasts of improved ergonomics, better quality materials, a lot more features and looks a lot more modern as well.
The Renault Duster is offered with a variety of powertrain options depending on the logo it is wearing (Dacia or Renault) and the market where it is being sold. In the UK, it's offered with as many 6 engine configurations - three petrol, two diesel and one bio-fuel option. If brought to India, the second-gen Duster will continue to be a petrol-only SUV, perhaps carrying over the 104hp 1.5L petrol and the 154hp 1.3L turbo-petrol engines from the current-gen car. That said, despite the fact that Renault has patented the design in India, it does not guarantee the launch of the second-gen Duster in India.