Nelspruit, Mpumalanga - Renault’s second-generation Duster SUV has landed in South Africa with a comprehensive five-strong line-up that includes petrol and diesel engines, manual and auto transmissions, front-wheel and all-wheel drive, and no less than three trim levels.

But all of them share the new Duster’s chunky looks, thanks to a raised waistline, new front and rear bash-plates, 210mm of ground clearance, more prominent aluminium roof rails and distinctive chrome trim, as well as a more spacious interior created by moving the base of the windscreen 100mm further forward

Which is where you’ll find new, more supportive seats, lots of places to lose things, a revised flight-deck layout, a 66/33 split rear seat back and a 478 litre cargo bay. Keyless entry and button start are standard across the range, as are blind spot warning, automatic air-conditioning, cruise control and rear parking sensor, while all-wheel drive models also have a multiview all-round camera, hill descent control and a 4x4 monitor that shows you the Duster’s pitch and roll angles.

And a simple rotary switch lets you shift from 2WD (front-wheel drive) to Auto (drive is varied automatically between front and rear axles) or Lock mode (drive is split 50:50 front to rear).

That drive comes from either a 1.6-litre petrol four rated for 77kW at 5750 revs and 148Nm at 3750rpm, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, or one of two versions of a 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel four. The front-wheel drive Dynamique variant with six-speed manual cogset is tuned for 66kW and 210Nm, while the dual-clutch auto and all-wheel drive derivatives have 80kW and 250Nm on tap.

Prices

1.6 Expression R249 900
1.5 dCi Dynamique R282 900
1.5 dCi Dynamique AT R316 900
1.5 dCi Dynamique 4x4  R321 900
1.5 dCi Prestige AT R334 900

Prices include a five-year or 150 000km warranty and a three-year or 45 000km service plan, with services at 15 000km or one-year intervals.

IOL Motoring