Frankfurt Motor Show - With more than one million sales worldwide since its launch seven years ago, the Renault Duster compact SUV has been given a major makeover.
Launched at this week's Frankfurt motor show, the value-for-money adventure vehicle has been freshened-up with new styling, updated equipment and a fully-revised interior.
The external nip 'n tuck sees the Duster looking more assertive and planted-to-the road with its wider-looking new front and rear ends and distinctive new grille, although the size remains unchanged. A raised belt line and new 17-inch wheels give the side profile more visual robustness, while new aluminium roof bars and more prominent front and rear skid plates more prominently advertise the vehicle's adventurer credentials.
To address criticism that the cabin felt somewhat cheap, designers worked from a clean slate to create a completely new interior with a classier look and feel, and more user-friendly ergonomics. There's also increased cabin stowage space including a new 2.7-litre tray under the passenger seat.
A more steeply raked windscreen makes the cabin feel bigger, while its acoustics have been significantly improved to reduce noise from outside the car. New seats have improved comfort and lateral support, and are covered in richer-feeling upholstery.
The fascia accommodates a higher-positioned infotainment display for clear, easy access and new piano key type controls give the cabin a contemporary feel.
Technology- and safety-wise the Duster's caught up to 2017 with new equipment such as blind spot warning, curtain airbags, automatic climate control, keyless entry, and automatic headlight activation.
With its high 210mm ground clearance the Duster has become known for better-than-average offroading skills in the small SUV class, and this is now enhanced by the addition of a multi-view camera which helps with obstacle avoidance in offroad driving; it makes a useful parking aid too.
The revamped Duster comes with a choice of two petrol engines: a normally-aspirated 1.6 with outputs of 84kW and 156Nm and a 1.2 turbo wielding 93kW/205Nm, which both use a manual gearbox.
There are also two 1.5-litre turbo diesel engines in two output grades: 67kW/220Nm (two-wheel drive version) and 82kW/260Nm (4WD version) again both mated to a manual gearbox, although the more powerful derivative can be specified with EDC automatic transmission.
The updated Duster is provisionally planned to arrive in SA late in 2018, with the exact model range and pricing to be confirmed closer to the time.