Ever since Renault launched the Duster some two years ago, a section of off-roaders has been eagerly waiting for the 4×4 version. A lot of them already know about the 4WD Duster that is manufactured in India, however for the ‘Dacia’ badge and only for the export markets!
Some positive international reviews of Duster 4WD have only added to the restlessness.
Well, the wait seems to be finally over now as the French manufacturer would be launching the 4×4 variant by next month of September in all probability, according to Autocar India.
The 4×4 transmission and associated electronics in this variant have been sourced from Nissan. It offers three drive modes:
- Auto: Not to be confused with an automatic gearbox, this mode will have your Duster functioning almost like a permanent AWD vehicle in which the power goes to all four wheels. However, in the Duster 4×4 the power under normal circumstances would only go to the front wheels and it’s only when the system detects a loss of traction will it engage the rear drive shaft too.
- Lock: This mode gives you the option to permanently split torque between the front and rear axles – handy in snow, sand, slush, etc.
- 2WD: You would be driving in this mode 95 per cent of the time. The power would be going to the front wheels only and NO power would be sent to the rear wheels in this mode at any time. Choose this mode on dry city roads and save fuel.
Only the Duster 110PS (with its 6-speed manual) will come in the 4×4 guise, and expect the usual Indian fare of pegging the 4×4 variant at the top-end of the trim level. That would be a missed-opportunity really as this would be the perfect opportunity for Renault to go one up on Tata and Mahindra by offering a 4×4 option in lower variants of the Duster.
Both the Safari and Scorpio feature 4×4 only in their most expensive variants, thereby putting those models out of reach of most enthusiasts. There are more people than one would imagine who want to go on off-road excursions with their families but their budget constraints would put the top-end variants way out of reach.
So, the kind of money that will buy you an entry level 4×2 Scorpio, Safari or Duster, will actually get you an entry-level sedan or a premium hatchback for your family needs along with a used Mahindra jeep or a Maruti Gypsy to experience off-road nirvana. Nonetheless, being siblings, the same 4 Wheel Drive is expected to go to Terrano as well, sometime later.
*Featured on this page is Duster Detour Concept