So we got a 2012 Renault Duster

So we got a 2012 Renault Duster

This is the Renault Duster. No, it isn’t used for wiping chalkboards, nor can it be used to vacuum carpets. What it is doing, is kicking up dust with its “shockingly affordable” price for a 4×4. Or so the TV ads say.

Ironically, the advertised price is for the base model, which is exactly the car we drive — a two-wheel-drive sub-compact with high ground clearance, short front-rear overhangs, and yet no offroad pretensions whatsoever. Generally, we don’t like crossovers, but this one is truly intriguing.

We find it interesting because the difference in base price between this Romanian-built Dacia and the Indian-built Nissan Sunny is about the cost of a decent laptop. When you give up that laptop to get the Duster, you get a larger car with features such as Bluetooth, 16-inch wheels with 215-width Continental tyres and a USB port that we couldn’t get to work.

Heck, you even get a stalk with audio controls, Bluetooth audio streaming, keyless entry and two power windows. But the cost-cutting is very evident, with one standard airbag, no ABS, wind-up windows for the rear doors, no cushy armrests, and a whole lot of exposed metal that generally get covered with plastic trim in more expensive cars. They even used only one bulb for the indicator light between the gauges, so whether you are indicating left or right, it always appears as if your hazard lights are on!

And yet, it is hard to argue against it, given how value-packed it is. Aside from the immense boot space, it also gets a standard cloth cover for your luggage, something that some more expensive generally-Korean crossovers still skip on. And if you really want more power windows and safety features, you can always pay the extra moolah and still end up with a car that costs the same as a top-spec Toyota Yaris.

The Duster is based on the same platform as the Renault Logan, a car that we didn’t give a glowing review to when we drove it. And yet, the Duster is a car that, we if we thought we’d hate it, is something we actually enjoyed driving and would recommend to anyone looking for a sub-compact car. It drives like a small hatchback, but is even more fun because it rides higher and comes with a handbrake. So there’s only one thing that was left to do — take it on a gravel patch and do some rally-crossing without any fear of damaging the paint. More in the full review.

What do you think?



  1. so a AED 56k car built by dracula?…

  2. Geesh, Prado is so funny.

    On another note, how did the build feel? Dacia has a reputation for being decent in their ventures, with good build mostly. And the KIA Sportage will have some tight competition then? But I like how they have stuffed in small details that make the car feel worth having (though they confined themselves to just 1 airbag).

  3. Wtf is this nonsense? Duster? Come on only the French could come up with that. Ugly cheap suv.

    • you comparing it to a Range Rover. Yes it is cheap, but is actually quite a good car (check out the 5th Gear review of it on YouTube). For a full spec car that costs as much as full spec Yaris, I believe it is actually the bargain of the year!

    • It was designed and built by Dacia. Sorry if it doesn’t meet your high standards.

  4. I just came from the showroom and to be honest i would rather buy a used car with the same budget than a brand new duster… The car was extremely basic so the price was no longer if u saw it in real life

  5. should be a great deal for fleet buyers….

  6. If I was looking for a new car with decent space and specs but do not want to spend money.. Then the duster seems like a good choice… Though it does seem to be built on a 90s standard but its justified since its very affordable.

  7. the problem with car as i recall in 2001 you could a Toyota Camry 2001 GLI for AED 63k….and that was still tech, more advanced and of better quality than this… .

    Essentially the camry which now cost AED 100k should be AED 70k only, this is only bcos of the devaluing US dollar against all major currencies by more than 35% over the last decade..

    not sure why Renault is charging so much for this

  8. guys this car is cheap.. its cheap to people who can afford as well..!! 😛 That being said its no match to the FORD ECOSPORT.
    check out this car..!!
    this car comes with safety features as standard and its cheap.
    car is announced in India,China and Brazil not sure if there are more..
    But its got the looks, platform of fiesta,6 speed dual clutch auto and a 1.0L ecoboost engine..

  9. Excellent Review . Very useful for people who might be looking for moderately priced vehicle which give an elevated road view , which has greater overall safety than an extra airbag would . Cheers from Kuwait .

  10. I went to check the Duster out yesterday at the dealer……yes it’s basic but what the hell it’s only 40 something K, my wife recently acquired her UAE driving license, I was looking to purchase her a second hand Yaris/Tido for around 30K, but everybody knows the dangers of purchasing used UAE vehicles, so a new Duster with a warranty for the extra 16 or so K seems a good bet, especially with the high ride position for the little lady and them big black plastic bumpers what she can wallop in the tight basement car parks….well done Renault…

  11. Last month I have purchased renault Duster SE+ model, It is a wonderful compact SUV however feel like saloon car while driving. Hope I will keep it for long.

  12. I took the car out for a test drive just very recently and I found it really great. The height is really fantastic, the look from the inside and the outside is awesome, with bluetooth, cd player, nice speaker, usb port, sound control, I think they are lovely and more safer than buying a saloon car with the same price.

    Negative sides:
    1. When you press the accelerator, it wont pick up so qucikly
    2. The back seats wont really be folded exactly flat.
    3. Front & back bumbers are not even painted.
    4. There is no armrest.
    5. The window switch button are very weird, they are in the middle of no where.
    6. The window at the back are mannual.
    7. Horn button is very weird.
    8. Antenna is very weird, because they put it in front. Never seen it before!

    And other negative point also is that, when you order the car, you have to wait for centuries to get it. I ordered the car and everything was done with the bank and I even sold my car because of there positive promises, but now I ended up taking a cab everyday for work because the car is still not available. They need to speed up the process in order not to disappoint and give frustrations to there customers.

    The 1.6l engine would be a lot better than save a lot of money for the petrol…2.0l is not required anyway…1.6l is more than enough and is really great for people who are saving money for the petrol..

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