17 December 2020

Renault Duster 2020 Car Review

Robust, comfortable, simplistic and priced under $30k, the latest SUV model from Renault has arrived.

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Renault Duster 2020
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Renault Duster 2020
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Renault Duster 2020
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Renault Duster 2020
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Renault Duster 2020
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Renault Duster 2020
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Renault Duster 2020

The Duster, which you may have already heard of, is marketed as the Dacia Duster for most markets (Dacia is a Romanian company), so it’s not a new vehicle by any means, but it is for NZ.

In its second generation, the Duster does look somewhat old school on the outside (perhaps to maintain its iconic status), but it does have just enough technology inside to satisfy both the driver and its passengers.

On the inside

The interior is comfortable but might seem a tad bland to some and is adorned in robust hard plastics with almost all surfaces displayed in one shade of colour, which really helps the touchscreen infotainment system pop out. There’s copious amounts of storage on hand, too, including a small pocket that can only be described as the world’s smallest cup holder in the centre console. 

The storage in the boot is also good, with a seats-up luggage capacity of 445 litres. This is quite large for a car of the Duster’s size. 

Driving is an interesting experience - the revs seem to rise relatively high when you first accelerate and then they suddenly drop away. It’s kind of like if you drove a manual and started out in first gear and then skipped second gear straight to third. This might be good for fuel savings, especially during urban driving, as the revs tend to remain quite low. This all equates to a combined fuel usage claim of 6.9L/100km, which isn’t too shabby.

The ride feel is pretty good. With a minimum kerb weight of 1,245kg, the Renault Duster is light and thus doesn’t need a big engine to pull it around. It seems to soak up bumps and corners with minimal body roll.

Rugged looks

The black inserts in the front and rear bumpers along with a raised ride height, create a robust, off-road look, with rear lights reminiscent of those found on a small Jeep. The front guards also feature some black trimming that’s designed to look like air vents found on some race vehicles.


The Renault Duster is fairly well kitted out, with safety features like Blind-Spot Monitoring, Emergency Brake Assist, and multi view cameras all fitted as standard. Interestingly the buttons to activate the cruise control and speed limiter are positioned down next to the aforementioned tiny cup holder and nowhere near the rest of the controls. Phone connectivity can be achieved via either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

So should you buy one?

If you are in the market for a small SUV for under $30k, there are several options to also include on your shortlist. The top-spec Haval H2 – the Lux 4x2 model – has a five-star ANCAP rating and is priced at just $26,990. The MG ZS Essence model is another option, and is priced from $27,490. Both of these choices include extras like a panoramic sunroof and push button start.

The Duster has a quirky attractiveness and is seemingly more robust then it’s similarly-priced competitors. You may not want the extras that come with the Haval or MG, but crave the extra space, fuel efficiency, and character that the Duster displays so well.

At a glance

Model tested

Renault Duster


1.6L 16V Petrol


From $27,990 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating





CVT Auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity

1,400kg (Braked), 625kg (Unbraked)



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

445L (seats up)

Safety systems

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (ASR)
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Driver and front passenger airbags, front/side airbags
  • Hazard warning lights activate under heavy braking
  • Multi-view camera system

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