3rd gen Renault Duster will see a hybrid, but will India get it?

As per a report on French media Largus.fr, the next generation Renault Duster (Dacia Duster for European markets) will go into production in 2024. The report says Marc Suss, Head of Dacia products, confirmed that the company will not take its usual eight year cycle before a successor is introduced; the second gen Duster (which is not sold in India) was introduced in late 2017.

The third generation 2024 Renault Duster will be a significant leap for the nameplate, which in its current generation traces its roots to the B0 platform introduced in 1998. Similar to the recently unveiled Sandero, the Duster will upgrade to the CMF-B platform, which will comply with European crash test norms, and allow for a Renault Duster Hybrid variant.

2021 Dacia Sandero Stepway 2021 Dacia Logan 2021 Dacia Sandero
The 2020 Sandero, based on CMF-B supports 48V mild hybrid technology.

The new generation CMF-B platform supports 48 volt mild hybridization, which is already seen on the new Sandero and will be seen on the 2024 Duster too, as it has to comply with Euro 7 emission norms (the full compliance for Euro 7 is expected before 2025). A 140 hp E-Tech hybrid (which is available on the Renault Captur PHEV) could be seen on the flagship Duster hybrid, but even the base variants with 1.2-liter TCe and 1.5-liter TCe engines (derived from the present 1.0-liter TCe and 1.3-liter TCe) will see 48 volt mild hybridization (MHEV).

We expect a complete redesign of the exterior and interior of the Duster, but, similar to the 2020 Sandero, an evolutionary approach, ensuring the new Renault Duster Hybrid is easily recognizable as a “Duster” is what would be in store.

Coming to the Indian context, Renault India have avoided the second-gen Duster altogether, and instead updated the first gen Duster (which was India’s best selling SUV for two financial years) introduced in mid-2012 with several styling tweaks (which offer compliance with pedestrian protection safety norms) and a switch to BS6 petrol engines.

However, updates have not generated much sales with an average of 300 units/month, despite Renault managing over 4,500 units/month in its initial years. The Renault Captur, which was recently discontinued, proved as a distraction for the company in its pursuit to offer an alternative to Hyundai Creta buyers, and the Duster did not see a full model change.

Renault Kwid electric (K-ZE) side view - Auto Expo 2020
After introducing its first electric car in India based on the Renault Kwid, the new Renault Duster offers potential for electrification especially since India’s recent push for EVs with low GST and state subsidies.

Speaking to Electric Vehicle Web at the Auto Expo 2020 where the company unveiled the new petrol variants, Venkatram Mamillapalle, Renault India Managing Director, said that the company “has a plan” for the Duster’s future, but did not elaborate. With investments on its CMF-A platform forming a majority of its portfolio, including the upcoming Renault Kiger SUV and Renault XBA EV electric car, the company could test the upper limit of the platform with a ‘made-for-India’ Duster, or plan fresh investments to industrialize the CMF-B to generate cars in the above-4m segments.

The INR 10-15 lakh segment for electric vehicles is showing promise for a new class of cars in India as manufacturers including Mahindra, Tata, MG and Hyundai have expressed interest in launching electric SUVs in this range. Moreover, hybrid car specialists Toyota, Honda and Maruti have product plans for strong hybrid cars within 2 years, and the next generation Renault Duster, we feel, would adopt either mode of electrification.