Renault Duster EDC kicks things up a gear
I’m not a fan of manual transmissions in an urban setting. There, I said it. So, when Renault invited me to drive the Duster EDC I was hopeful that the car would be good. We take the early flight to Johannesburg and drive the automatic Duster EDC.
Whether it was intentional or not, Renault kicked off our launch with an urban route that had some very large unmarked speed bumps. Accelerating down an empty road my co driver shrieked the moment I too, noticed the first of two “yumps” directly ahead. With no time to brake I let the car hit the first mound at cruising speed and anticipated the bone crunching sound of suspension arms hitting the bottom of their travel. Nothing happened. The car simply absorbed what seemed like endless suspension travel and smoothly landed on the other side.
Ahh, the benefits of driving a raised SUV.
The changes in Duster happened with the recent cosmetic tweaks in the line up which included new alloys, day time running lights, new roof rails and an enhanced interior.
These included a new leather steering wheel, gear lever and of course the welcome 7” touch screen. A handy reverse camera is also now available on the latest Duster but truth be told it is mounted a tad low and takes some getting used to.
With nothing else like Duster available on the market, Renault have created yet another niche by giving Duster the option of an automatic EDC gearbox to it’s diesel. So what’s the gearbox like?
New EDC Dual clutch Auto
The 6-speed auto is quick through the gears on acceleration and surprisingly responsive. Manufactured by Getrag, a company that’s been building gearboxes for 80 years with a team that know a thing or two about gearboxes. This is no budget box build. At cruising speeds, the diesel engine is left to purr in 6th gear and when overtaking is called for, the full 250Nm can be utilized as the automatic drops a cog or two. No unnecessary shuffling takes place through the ratios and fuel economy is claimed at as class leading 4.8l/100. Although to be fair, there is only one other option when it comes to B Segment automatic SUVs.
With two million Dusters sold world wide, and one in every twenty cars sold in South Africa being a Renault, it seems that Renault, especially in South Africa have reached their stride. The Duster EDC allows the family to now have a budget car with the comfort of a dual clutch automatic, all this for under R200 000. There is nothing like this available on the market, for the price or at this level, and with the compact SUV segment growing steadily this seems to be a very smart strategic move by Renault. Duster could very well be the best deal available in any segment right now.
Duster EDC comes with a 5 year 150 000km warranty and a 3 year 45 000km service plan and is available mid-august for a starting price of R199 900.