Johannesburg - Renault’s second-generation Duster first hit South African streets last year in 4x2 guise only, but now the 4x4 version is here for those who want a bit more dust (and the odd off-road obstacle) in their lives.

It follows the same mechanical formula as the first-generation 4x4 model, with power coming from a 1.5 dCi turbodiesel engine, rated at 80kW and 260Nm, and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with an extremely low first-gear ratio that acts as a partial substitute to low-range gearing.

It certainly scores points as affordable alternative to a having to fit a heavy and expensive transfer case, but it will take you time to adapt your gear stick stirring habits in everyday driving as second gear effectively becomes first gear and so on, which takes some getting used to.

As before, the Duster 4x4 is fitted with a permanent all-wheel-drive system sourced from the Nissan X-Trail’s parts bin (through Renault’s alliance of course). It offers three selectable driving modes: 2WD, Automatic and 4WD Lock, the latter providing equal distribution between all four wheels for tackling more challenging terrain.

Also helping you out in that regard is a generous ground clearance of 210mm as well as respective approach and departure angles of 30 degrees and 34 degrees.

Not to mention the new MultiView Camera that shows you the terrain to the front, rear and side, and the 4x4 Monitor, which displays the vehicle’s pitch and roll angles.

Other cabin features include automatic climate control, cruise control, rear park distance control and a touchscreen infotainment system with satnav as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

RENAULT DUSTER PRICES

1.6 Expression 4x2 - R255 900

1.5 dCi Dynamique 4x2 - R288 900

1.5 dCi Dynamique EDC 4x2 - R322 900

1.5 dCi Dynamique 4x4 - R327 900

1.5dCi Prestige EDC 4x2 - R340 900

Drive360