Times of Oman
Nov 30, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 11:46 PM GMT
For all roads and tracks
November 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM

At first glance, the new Renault Duster is designed to be versatile and to provide the driver and occupants with the same reassuring ride on trunk roads and motorways. Driving the vehicle for three to four hours proved that it is designed to cope with all types of roads and tracks truly an all-terrain vehicle for the GCC region. 

The 'shockingly affordable' attraction of the new Renault Duster is a competitive edge as well as a catchy selling point for the French carmaker in Oman, like any other GCC country. The company is offering this Romanian-built crossover SUV at a damp low base price of RO5,390, when a mid-size sedan car costs anywhere between RO6,000 and RO7,000.

Therefore, it could be an ideal option for those who are looking for an entry-level SUV, without spending too much on a car. The company must have saved its design cost by incorporating design elements of some of their other models in this car, as an all new redesign would have been a costly affair and would have been a barrier for the company to offer the SUV at this price.

The new Renault Duster is a particularly versatile 4x2 and 4x4 vehicle, which combines a spacious interior with saloon-car comfort, while its compact footprint and high ground clearance ensure that it is at home in and about town as it is on country roads or off the beaten track. It is available in 4x2 four-speed automatic transmission and 4x4 six-speed manual transmission versions powered by a 2.0 16V (135 hp) engine, especially tested in the GCC. There was a serious attempt to ensure GCC specifications. To confirm the Duster's strength and reliability, the new vehicle covered the equivalent of four million kilometres in a wide range of climates and in particularly punishing conditions.

One month of rigorous testing in GCC conditions prior to launch early this year was carried out to ensure all standards of Renault quality will be met and the vehicle conforms to GCC specifications and requirements.

Today's all-terrain vehicles are often synonymous with bulk, but the New Renault Duster is an antidote to that idea. With a length of 4.31 metres and a width of 1.82 metres, it is very compact but roomy.

From the front, it exudes an impression of toughness: the wide wheel-arches, the imposing lines of the chrome grille and the sump guard clearly emphasise the 4x4 DNA of the New Renault Duster. Seen from the side, the high ground clearance, clearly defined wheel-arches and protective mouldings encourage the driver to tackle even the toughest roads and tracks.

The New Renault Duster also has a spacious, comfortable interior and a high standard of safety. The cabin space is pretty good, with good legroom front and back as well as excellent all-round headroom. Boot space is also pretty good, but understandably less than larger SUVs, but interestingly, it has more cargo volume than similar SUVs with the rear bench folded down.

Despite its compact footprint, it is a very spacious car, with five people able to travel in total comfort. Rear passenger headroom (seat cushion to roof) is 895mm, knee room is 183mm and elbow room amounts to 1,438mm, enabling it to comfortably seat three adults at the rear, where there is also ample space to fit child seats.

'The Safety Pack' on the PE version is made to keep every Renault Duster passenger safe as it has ABS with Emergency Brake Assist, front passenger airbag (deactivatable), front side airbags and unlock alarm (visual and audible) on front passenger seatbelt.

And for an enhanced appearance, the New Renault Duster offers the 'Exterior Look Pack' on the SE version; it has  satin chrome door mirrors, satin chrome longitudinal roof rails, front/rear skid plate add-ons with satin chrome appearance paint, side skirt cover with satin chrome appearance paint, extra tinted rear windows, rear quarter glass and rear windscreen. SE version comes with 'Safety Pack'and has front side airbags and pyrotechnic pretensioners on the front sea

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