Budget Rs. 25 lakh: Need a replacement for a Renault Duster

Wife is sold on the Dark Tata Safari. I love it as well. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not find the interior so dated when compared to the Mahindra XUV700.

BHPian vamsi2390 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi there!

I have been using a 2014 Alto800 and a 2016 Duster. Though I have never been able to document my Alto800 journey partly due to the fact that I have delegated it to my parents usage in the hometown, Duster’s ownership review  has been posted.

How is the Duster performing?

Except for the turbo sensor wire mysteriously breaking once (cost hardly 200 to replace and the car never actually broke down. I could drive without the turbo as it just put a warning in Orange), it has been a pretty hassle free journey – touchwood.

Also owing to the fact that it is a 85ps, I do not have the issue of injector failure as in the 110ps models. I’m pretty sure it can run for atleast another 1 Lakh kilometers fuss free (currently at 60K. I know pretty low for a diesel).

The low mileage has been attributed due to the 2 year lock down plus the WFH situation.

What is our running?

The running that it does is mostly on highways for our travels between Hyderabad, Pune and Vizag. We do our yearly trip to Goa as well. We infact did it right in middle of lockdown which says something about our affiliation with our yearly Goa trip. Saying that we use it for our daily chores as well as I do not use a 2 wheeler anymore (my Daughter is 2 and I do not believe on travelling with a kid on a 2 wheeler)

Why do I need a change?

  • We will be shifting to Pune in about 1.5 year or so as we have invested in a property plus Wife’s family stays in Pune and we needed someone close because of my growing child.
  • Already checked in Pune RTO and apparently I need to pay the whole Road tax as per the Vehicle’s Invoice when it was new. Spending 1.8 lakhs on road taxes for a 8 year old vehicle does not make any sense.
  • With a growing kid, we need a safer vehicle. The Duster has only one airbag unfortunately. I’m glad it atleast has ABS.
  • Need for a part time 6 seater as we are moving close to my wife’s place and we will have in laws visiting/staying often.

What can we afford?

Touchwood we have grown over the past years. From being an IT consultant I have grown to lead global competencies with just 11 years of experience at renowned MNCs. Now I’m shifting to a CXO level at a startup. Saying all of this, I’m not one to own cars to show off and neither do I want a car which I do not like. And with a EMI on the house already, the max we can spend is ~25 and not a penny more.

Out of context but, I still cannot believe how costly buying a car has become.

Take this in context- I bought my Duster at 12.4 (RXL Diesel – 85ps) back in 2016 after some 80K discount and it was tremendous value for money.

What do we need for certain?

  • Airbags – more the merrier.
  • Cruise control please (I drive for more than 12 hours very often).
  • Auto – May be next time? (I’m just 34).
  • >=6 seater (My wife isn’t gonna let me get a 5 seater).
  • Auto AC please (I’m done switching AC on and off).
  • Good Headlights (I do a lot of night driving and this is a definite need. Duster has very bad quality reflectors and with high wattage bulbs, the reflectors tend to just melt away).
  • Biggest Boot (we are short handed even with Duster’s boot at times).
  • Panoramic sunroof – Now that I have experienced it, there is no going back.
  • More power. 85ps Duster feels out of breath post 120kmph.

Also I do understand that any 6/7 seater has literally no boot space with all seats up and that is ok. We travel on our outstation trips as a nuclear family of 3. We need the seats only for intra city travel.

What have we tried?

  • Safari.
  • XUV700.
  • Jeep.

What do we not want to try?

  • Alcazar.
  • Carens.
  • XL6.

All 3 of them feel like from a segment which the Duster belonged to some years back and we do not want to downgrade. Plus I dont want to be seen in those on a personal preference.

Did we test drive anything?

Tata Safari:

  • We loved the black edition Safari. It felt like that proper upgrade from Duster. Comfort mode did not feel a lot more powerful than Duster while Sport did make it peppier.
  • Also I’m not at all bothered by the so called heavier steering on the Safari. Duster’s steering feels at least 40% heavier than Safari’s.
  • The seats felt a lot more comfortable than XUV700 and the lumbar support & side bolstering was just 2 decades ahead our Duster’s seats.
  • The second row AC vent felt gimmicky though and does not blow air well enough.
  • Rides decent on rough roads but NOT as good as our Duster. I was amazed at our Duster only after test driving the Safari on the same roads and how much more mature it felt in handling those bumps.

Mahindra XUV700:

  • Seats felt big and accommodating but the side bolstering on the Safari was 2X better. My wife resonated this as well.
  • Definitely felt more powerful than the Safari.
  • Steering was damn light. My Duster’s felt like a truck post this. Not too sure if I liked or not yet.
  • Way too many features to even understand.
  • Second row not having a slide function is a bummer plus the last row felt cramped.
  • Rides a lot stiffer on rough roads.

The question?

Wife is sold on the Dark Tata Safari. I love it as well. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not find the interior so dated when compared to the Mahindra XUV700. Maybe it is just us coming from the beautiful interior on our Duster.

The XUV700 was modern, fast and comfortable but somehow it did not pull the strings like the Safari did for us.

Should we wait on the Scorpio N? Also I’m unable to decide on the Crysta.

I know a few of you would recommend the Octavia low variants but, the family is used to the Duster and a sedan isn’t something that can get approved.

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

If you & the wife are sold on the Dark-edition Safari, go ahead with it. Just be prepared for the usual Tata niggles; am still seeing complaints on the Safari / Harrier duo. Other than these, it is a very impressive vehicle.

Go for the 6-speed AT though; it is beautifully mated to the engine and is very smooth. Many of us enthusiasts have moved over to ATs, and you should too, especially because you keep your cars for long.

Do take a spin in the XUV700 again. While I like the Safari, I LOVE the XUV700 and find it to be a more complete product. Going by its success, the market agrees too. The engine-tranny to buy is the Diesel AT.

Here’s what BHPian NarediAni had to say on the matter:

If comfort, space, practicality and bullet-proof reliability is what you want, go ahead with the Crysta eyes closed. Do try it out. Safari is also good but Tata’s A.S.S. Is scary sometimes.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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