Every year I spend my Independence Day by riding across Mumbai city, with Royal Enfield riders. While you were still planning what to do for a long weekend or went seeing movies, I was excited to drive around the Duster across the beautiful Landscape of Lavasa. I was invited by Blogadda team to experience the same, and I was excited as to” I get to drive the beast and that too off-roading”
The road trip started from Mumbai at 5 pm, where I was picked up by Satish Vijakumar from I prospect, Omkar Thakur( As I described him as “ Om “Car”- Are you getting the hint here “) & Rohan from Carwale. We headed to Pune with a small introduction with each other in the car where we would be spending the night in Courtyard by Marriott, Hinjewadi Pune.
After 4 hours of journey, it was bliss to come and experience this soft toned rooms at Courtyard by Marriott, Pune.
Some of the Mumbai bloggers, were still on their way, while I got ready and headed over to dinner as I was hungry enough to eat someone.
While the lavish dinner got over, I headed up to my room after some chit-chat as I was excited to be fresh for tomorrow’s drive. To my surprise, I found this on a bed and it was the great gesture by Blogadda team to keep us surprising at each moment.
After having great sleep, I woke up in the morning for the favorite part of my meal. Breakfast it is!
With a compact SUV 4X4, not even launched waiting outside for us to get a hands on- Roads on- waters on, while we would preview the same. The dream of venturing deeper into the wilderness of beautifully carved landscape of Lavasa ran across with this beast
The briefing session started with the understanding of the routes, usage of 4 X 4 system, and allotment of the cars.
The interior of the car has great dual – tone finish where the soft red seats, and soft -touch plastic made the interior feel good. Music filled the car with the display being loud enough even for the driver to look into it.
Most interesting was smoke gray alloy wheels, darkened headlamp clusters and matte black B-pillars on the RxZ trim. Some of the switches, including the reverse being weirdly positioned, it took me while to figure it out.It also gets an integrated audio system with USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity and steering mounted audio and phone control which is finally on the steering and not in the column as on the regular models.
The Duster AWD, as its name says, offer three modes – two(front)-wheel drive, automatic and manually locked four-wheel drive. You can get into this mode with such an easier form of a dial .
Here I sit in the driving seat, I dreamt of driving this beast across the various legs like city, offroad, tarmac.etc. And the rains made the experience of the beast again stimulating.
They took us off the beaten path in Lavasa, to an off-road track where there was water beds, the mucky road where I put the SUV through its paces. The shortened gear ratios especially the first gear gives it a specific advantage when you take the car -off the road as it is easier to crawl down steeper slopes. The ride was even sinuous as more of the bumps and surprises from the broken roads towards Lavasa were easily evened out.Renault claimed that it can wade through 400mm deep water where the ground clearance of 210 mm makes it better. I felt I was definitely into full zone rally, as each slippery conditions and loose gravel kept making ESP light blinking frantically.
The second leg of the drive was to drive on rocky roads, slush, a bit of grassy terrain, hill-top, water beds, and trust me Duster AWD handled it well. Even as a passenger the drive was very comfortable even after we were previewing this beast to the extreme. Duster handles about 30-35degree climbs without any issue and hill start assist also helps.
The best was driving the beast through an area like below and also a great climb on hill-top. Splashing water, wet mud and this beast took it very well. The Duster 4×4 AWD continues to have the same 1.5-litre diesel mill that packs 110PS of power and 248Nm of torque.
The 6-speed gearbox was something new for me as I have driven only 5-speed gearbox car. It took while to realize the power the car had to motivate the inner beast to go fast. The great mix of hill start assistance and the ESP prevents the car from rolling off when you are starting on an incline. The fuel consumption will be as low as 10percent as it has ARAI fuel efficiency of 19.72kmpl. The drive ended with a very steep. I also have a mad drive with me in the car, Omkar who made this drive more interesting. As not even once the car was not going through extreme of left and right.
After the great drive and experiencing off-roading, our stomachs started growling and the lunch was hosted by ITC Fortune, Lavasa.The drive to the hotel was ease and simple to know the car would feel in the real world as told by Omkar.
The day ended with lovely Tshirt and rain proof cap. It has been the best Independence day I celebrated where mad friends, beast of the car and off roading made it more memorable. Independence to drive free of any hazard on roads and trail and that’s what “Renault Duster” is about.
This blog post is written as part of a #DusterAllWheelDrive event by Blogadda and Renault India.