Outside, the new Duster is one of 450 thousand predecessors sold in Russia. Even on the street, no one notices. However, with the change of generations, the crossover has changed so much in everything else that it could have been given a new name. There is no more than Duster that everyone knows: uncomfortable behind the wheel, rough on a good road, and fantastically energy-intensive on a bad one. But we found all this to one degree or another in … the editorial Capture! The soul of the “first” Duster seemed to have moved, finding refuge in the body of a more expensive Renault.
The theater starts from the coat rack, and the Duster starts from the landing. The steering wheel is nearly vertical and adjustable in all directions, and the driver’s seat can be lowered as low as ever. The seat itself is also different: comfortable and welcoming, it takes the body deeply and does not push out, as before. All this brings the quality of life together with Duster to a new level. In addition, the interior is assembled better than before, and although hard, not echoing plastic is used in the decoration. And the Duster is good for the details: the metalized edging of the climate control knobs and the stylish knob of the gear lever, as if taken from a hot hatch.
The car of the second generation is slightly narrower and lower than its predecessor, and the base has increased only by an imperceptible three millimeters, but the cabin is spacious. I adjusted the driver’s seat to my height (181 cm) and sat in the back with a gap of three centimeters in front of my knees. It is at ease for both the feet and the head, which are already eight centimeters separated from the ceiling upholstery. And the person occupying the center of the sofa will surely appreciate the low floor tunnel. It is a pity that the second-row sofa is not as comfortable as the first-row seats – the backrest is rigid and set too vertically.
Kaptur is a more designer car with its two-tone body and the same wheels, with an abundance of metal-like elements. The interior is also brighter, although this does not harm ergonomics. The unusual-looking dashboard is easy to read, the central display is optimally located, and the armrest, like that of the Duster, is adjustable longitudinally. And the fit is quite comfortable, but only if you compare it not with the new Duster, but with the old Capture, in which the steering wheel was adjustable only in height.
The French added a tweak to the steering column, but the rim is still installed gently, which forces you to sit closer to it. Your knees are bent more, you step on the pedals more quickly. And it is difficult to sit down as you want: the seat is high, and its curved back pushes the driver’s body away. Therefore, long journeys are more difficult – the back and legs get tired faster, especially the left one. And the rear passengers in Capture are closer than in Duster: with my knees, I touch the back of the front seat, and the ceiling is at a shorter distance from the head – 6–6.5 cm.
Both Renault – with 150-horsepower 1.33 turbo engines, but with different gearboxes. The Kaptur is equipped with the usual CVT. Pleasant dynamics, rich traction, and ease of control are combined here with a second hitch during an active start from a standstill. A revelation was the Duster with a six-speed “mechanics”. This crossover has never been so fast! For a car with one driver and an almost full tank, when accelerating from zero to 100 km / h, we measured 9.7 seconds, overlapping the factory value for a second. At the same time, Kaptur, under the same conditions, could not reach the passport values - 10.7 s versus 10.4.
They echo dry numbers and feelings. The Duster seems to be fast when starting from a standstill or from medium speeds, regardless of the number of people in the cabin and without being tied to a location – it is equally agile both in an urban environment and on highways. And the gearshift mechanism is cool – it works well, the lever moves easily and not sweepingly. And then how do you remember the gearbox on the predecessor…
The suspension steering is matched. The car shares information through the steering wheel and clearly follows the commands, perfectly keeps on a fast arc, even if it is irregular, and when busting at speed it smoothly slides outward with four wheels. The trajectory can be instantly corrected by throttle release, after which the Duster will go inside the corner. With the brakes, too, everything is fine: they are tenacious, hardy, and the deceleration process is clear. It makes no sense to compare the new Duster with the old one – the differences in habits between them are fundamental.
Kaptur is right in between. He is ahead of the past Duster in all driver’s disciplines but does not reach the current one. It is lazier, it has more tangible longitudinal and transverse movements of the body, and the steering wheel is spared not only from jolts and bumps but also from feedback. Due to the same effort in the corners, you drive as if “on instruments”, and because of the blurred “zero” you have to steer on the high-speed line. There’s no question about braking performance, but the pedal has more free play than your opponent’s.
True, you can close your eyes to all this, given the fantastic smoothness and high energy consumption of the Kaptura suspension. I do not think that I will be greatly mistaken if I call it the most comfortable not only in my segment but also in the class (or even two) above. Micro profile, small and medium Nero properties dissolve in the interior of the suspension, and larger holes are smoothed out so that they become an unobtrusive background. But most of all I was impressed by how the SUV resignedly rushed along with the broken-down primers near the Sychevsky quarry. Kaptur drove there without a single breakdown! Do you already believe in reincarnation?
And right there, in the vicinity of the working village of Sychevo, Daster was hit by a solid chassis tuning on hard surfaces. Where the Kaptur flies serenely, the Duster is unable to maintain a high pace due to the constant bumps in the suspension. Hearing the shock absorbers lock onto the compression buffers, I instinctively release my foot from the accelerator. The speed has to be dropped to 20 km / h, after which the suspension manages to work out the negative and do it quietly. This is not Duster’s power consumption.
For the sake of fairness, I will say that on such a road, the owners of the Duster will not go fast and, perhaps, will never know about this feature of the crossover. But we had to play out a similar scenario for research purposes. In less extreme conditions, the Duster is as good as the Kaptur. He also does not notice the road ripples and skillfully neutralizes the indignation from irregularities of almost any caliber.
Off-road Duster remained Duster. It retained the same ground clearance (210 mm), short overhangs, and almost the same entry and exit angles – 31 ° (+1) and 33 ° (-3), respectively. The plug-in four-wheel drive is equipped with an electromagnetic GKN clutch on the rear axle. We could not overheat it, although we skidded in the sands and on the ascents for a long time. Add to that a high-torque motor, a short first gear that partially replaces the undershirt, and well-tuned electronics that simulate differential locks. Get a serious fighter.
True, the Kaptur also drove without any problems wherever the Duster wheels stepped. The more stylish Renault has the same engine and all-wheel drive with Auto mode and forced clutch lock, but the assistants work slower, geometric cross-country ability is worse, there is no standard metal protection for the power unit, and instead of a manual gearbox, there is a variator. But the continuously variable transmission, like the clutch, failed to overheat, although it probably would have worked out if we had turned on the berserk mode.
Renault dealers are also not in themselves now, who do not give Dusters without markup to the retail price. In some cases, the top-up surcharge is several hundred thousand rubles! And people will pay not only because of the scarcity. The “second” Duster remained a comfortable and versatile car, perfectly suited to the Russian realities. And in terms of ease of fit, handling, and dynamics, the crossover made a powerful leap, which not only broke its connection with its predecessor but also opened the way to a new younger audience.
And for those who find Duster simpler, we can recommend Kaptur. Outside, he looks richer, inside – more presentable. The list of equipment includes LED headlights not available for Duster, keyless entry to the salon, navigation, and a Bose audio system. At the same time, the turbo engine and the variator get along well with each other, and on average off-road, there will be no difficulties. But the main thing is that Kaptur rides softer and more thoroughbred on bumpy roads so much that this may be the only reason for buying an SUV.