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COMPARO

Renault Duster dCi vs Ford EcoSport TDCi

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06 Jun 2013  / 
Road Test Editor

There’s seldom been a more closely-fought fight among vehicles – one of which isn’t even technically available yet! The Renault Duster and the Ford EcoSport are set to be each others’ respective arch-nemesis and already we’re seeing camps being formed with strong opinions either way. We took a closer look at the two compact SUVs and compared their bits.

 

Visual appeal

It’s a mixed opinion this. While the modern kinetic design language and sporty elements used in the Ford makes it more car like and premium, the Renault uses a more simplistic approach. But this doesn’t mean it can’t turn heads, the flared front and rear arches add muscle and give the car a more robust look. The only SUV element in the EcoSport is its height and the externally mounted spare tyre. The EcoSport is more attractive but the Duster definitely has better presence. Inside too, it’s the same story. The interior design in the Ford is new age and the use of black and gloss aluminium detailing gives it a very sporty look like in a hot hatch. The Duster’s interior is bland and very utilitarian in comparison. It offers similar fit and finish but one doesn’t feel as special inside as in the EcoSport.

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

 

Space and comfort

At the front, both the SUVs offer similar space. There is ample leg and head room for front passengers but in the Ford the driver also gets an armrest. In fact the driver is more pampered in the EcoSport. besides the armrest, the Ford also gets height adjustment for the driver’s seat and a steering which is adjustable for both reach and rake.

The Duster’s driver gets a height adjustable seat too, but instead of being continuously variable, it just a two step affair – high or low. The Renault’s steering, again, only adjusts for rake but not for reach. So, finding a good driving position is a lot easier in the Ford.

2013 Ford EcoSport in India rear seat space

2013 Ford EcoSport in India rear seat space

Neither SUV offers a dead pedal but the Ford offers some space to rest your left foot which the Duster lacks. The latter however scores when it comes to shoulder room and visibility. The thick A-pillar and small quarter glass in the Ford results in a big blind spot and will take some time getting used to.

Moving to the back, this is where the lack of shoulder room is most felt in the EcoSport. It’s a strict four-seater and only two adults can comfortably sit at the back. The Duster on the other hand offers more room and can accommodate three adults since the seat is larger. It even features a rear armrest with two cup holders. That said, the Ford surprisingly offers 75mm more rear knee room. But, since the EcoSport is less than four metres long, boot space suffers. At 346 litres, it offers 129 litres lesser space than the Duster. The seats however split 60:40 unlike the Renault’s single folding seat. The roof rails also have mounts to hold a roof box.

The EoSport is also the better equipped of the two SUVs. It gets auto-climate control and SYNC – a voice activated feature to control a host of systems, both of which are missing on the Duster. In terms of safety, the top end EcoSport offers six airbags (four more than the Renault).

2013 Renault Duster in India rear seat space

Rear legroom in the Duster

 

Engines and real world performance

Both feature 1.5-litre common-rail units but it’s the Renault that puts out more power. The Duster produces 110PS at 3900rpm while peak torque is an impressive 248Nm produced at a low 2250rpm. The Ford meanwhile delivers a lower 91PS at 3750rpm and 204Nm from 2000-2750rpm. This difference on paper is quite evident on the road as well. Power delivery is stronger in the Duster while the turbo lag is less evident.

However, in bumper to bumper traffic the EcoSport is effortless to drive and is less tiring compared to the Renault thanks mainly to a much lighter clutch operation. The EcoSport is happy to take on the highways as well, but the Duster comes across as the more accomplished car for the job. Its engine feels less strained and more alert and thanks to a higher torque rating and an additional sixth gear, it makes for a more relaxed cruiser.

We also prefer the gear shift quality on the Duster; while the Renault offers short throws and crisp shifts, the EcoSport’s five-speed transmission feels more rubbery in its operation.

In terms of outright performance, the Duster is slightly quicker. The sprint to 100kmph comes up in 12.7 seconds while the EcoSport does the same in a respectable 13.2 seconds. The Renault also has a slightly higher top speed. It maxes out at 175kmph, 5kmph more than the EcoSport.

 

2013 Ford EcoSport in India diesel engine

1.5 litre diesel engine in the EcoSport

 

Fuel  efficiency

It’s a close fight in this round too. The ARAI figure is higher for the Ford (22.7kmpl against the Duster’s 19.01kmpl) and in the real world in exactly the same conditions, the EcoSport again delivered high figures of 12.2kmpl in the city against the Duster’s 11.8kmpl. On the highway, however, the Renault did better. It returned 21.8kmpl, 1.4kmpl more than the Ford. This means the Duster’s overall fuel efficiency of 14.3kmpl is 0.5kmpl more than the EcoSport. Clearly, there’s nothing to choose between the two in the real world when it comes to fuel efficiency.

 

2013 Renault Duster diesel engine

1.5 litre Renault Duster diesel engine

 

Ride and handling

Based on the Fiesta platform, the EcoSport shines when it comes to dynamics. The chassis feels well balanced and is very much at home around corners. There is slight body roll and one does get the feeling of driving a tall car but then it still is the best handling vehicle in its segment. However, the steering could have been slightly heavier and offer more feedback like in the Fiesta. The Duster on the other hand, isn’t as involving but is still a capable handler. A wider track and broader tyres does improve handling while high speed stability is impressive. The only negative however is the strong steering kick-back that is felt especially while cornering on undulated surfaces. This isn’t a good feeling and one needs to grip the steering quite firmly. The Renault has the better ride quality, though. It glides over rough roads and potholes with pliancy, and on the highway over undulating roads, it remains completely planted. The EcoSport on the other hand is slightly stiff and doesn’t soak in the bumps as well. How about going off-road? Both vehicles put down power though the front wheels and don’t offer four-wheel drive even as an option, so we wouldn’t recommend one going off-road. But if you still decide to drive on rough terrain and small boulders, the Duster will be the better choice since it offers slightly more ground clearance and even features a metal sump guard.

 

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

 

Which should one buy?

The EcoSport, yes as odd as it may be, hasn’t been launched as yet. Talk about taking your own sweet time to do things. In any case, when the Ford is launched, we expect it to be cheaper than the Duster. Moreover, it will have more features, will look more upmarket, and though it will have a less powerful engine, the EcoSport’s  performance won’t be significantly off the Renault’s. The Ford then is the clear winner here. It also makes better sense for the city given its smaller dimensions and lighter controls. The only reason to buy the Duster now is if you are specifically looking for a compact SUV that offers enough space for five and their luggage, to travel long distances in.

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

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  • Dilip

    Nice review…I am also very confused as to which car is better. I want to buy one soon so I am waiting for Ecosport. But if we think Duster vs Ecosport then I am slightly inclined towards Duster because it has established it self. what would you advise? A ‘really’ compact SUV or a real SUV?

    • pbishnoi

      Wait for ecosport, have td of both & then decide

      • fairoz hussain

        Ford has really wait me looong to decide which f these to buy. Pricing, of course will play an important role. Also, I feel Renault I’d taking advantage of no direct competition. Their pricing is ridiculously high

    • Sam

      Ecosport and Duster are better at their places. You only need to choose one of them depends on your usage. If you travel often with 5 people on board and loads of luggage, go for Duster. If you travel with small Family of 4 (inclusive kids) and adequate luggage then 100% Ecosport…and again Ecosport get you loads of goodies along with above space….Now choice is yours…

    • R09B

      A duster for sure, it may cost u way more than an EcoSport, but for a decent family SUV would advice you to go for the Renault. EcoSport seems more sportier, aggressive and an off-road kind of vehicle. The interior of the Duster seems much better, thats only if you want a decent kind of interior. Yes, when it comes o sefety as mentioned above EcoSport seems five star, but when it comes to stability duster is way much better with the traction control(I’ve sharp turned on 100Kmph) and is wider and shorter compared to EcoSport.
      -Would advice you the EcoSport in safety point of view.
      -When it comes to the engine, take a bow to the Renault Duster, ultimately what a driver wants is a nice and easy drive.
      So Duster v/s EcoSport
      60% – 40%

      • Dilip

        First of all thank you people for your suggesstions and opinions. Actually, I think Duster fits my needs perfectly as I travel around 50 km a day and the rear spacing does matter a lot. Another issue I came across after reaserch on Ecosport was that the rear door opens up which will be problem for me because I carry goods with me and if I park in parking space or on road then it will tuf for unloading. and R09B thanks for your comment, I think I will buy Duster in the end.

      • gurukadur

        R09B, From where are you picking duster specification? Is it from UK specs or what? Interiors os Duster much better than Ecosport?? No way. Check every comparison review on the web & you will know the reality. And when did Renault introduce traction control on Indian Duster. They have been hell bent on cutting all safety features for India & even ABS + Air bags are available only in RXL (O) models onwards only with huge premium. Stability of Duster may be more stable at high speeds but when did become shorter than Ecosport?? When you talk about the engine, which engine you are referring to? Ecosport actually comes with 1.0L Ecoboost petrol which is international engine of the year!!! (Renult 110PS has more power but is difficult to drive in city due to turbo lag & heavy clutch) Please do some research before you make some recommendations to others…

        • Ayan

          I own both Ecosport and Duster in my family. Ecosport is a good urban SUV but ride quality over bad stretches in my city is better handled by Duster also while travelling with 5 adults, duster is the best one in the lot. But for the daily commute to my office which is always self drive, Ecosport is ok for me.

  • Manava

    Why dont the japs launch such vehicles. Dying for cheap SUV from Honda/Toyota/Suzuki

    • Sam

      There is already mini-SUV (probably cheaper) in the making…will launch may be end of this year or early next year..Suzuki XA Alpha…..and you cannot expect Cheap SUV’s from Honda/Toyota

      • nitin

        Sam, Wht will be the expected price of XA Alpha and toyota Rush. and their tentative launching ..

        • Sam

          Nitin, Both the cars’ pricing is not yet presumed, but XA Alpha will have pricing very much Competitive to Ecosport and Duster, whereas Rush, though it will fall under the same segment, price wise it will be little expensive. My take for XA Alpha would be starting price 5.99 L and for Rush would be around 9+ L. Launching (Tentative) of both the cars would be probably End of this year or early next year.

          • Manava

            Highly unlikely to see both cars before 2014 end. Next year.

    • Eye me

      Nissan is launching Terrano by Diwali this year.
      Good performance and upmarket interiors

      • Manava

        Its duster branded terrano. Same strategy they used on micra/sunny

  • Saeesh Burye

    Most will want to buy the ecosport for its ecoboost engine…which you did not talk about..how does the ecoboost fair against the petrol Duster?What are its top speeds and 0-100 values?

    • Prasad

      The Ecosport with the 1 litre ecoboost turbo engine combined with the superb dashing looks, if priced reasonably, would be a definite Duster-Buster.

      • Uzin

        Ecosport is looks modern and contemporary with its new age styling and curves. Duster still carries the old styled design. While space is more in duster, ecosport is better at performance. Take a look at this interesting face-off happening between these two compact SUVs, to see who the winner is at:
        BRAND COLLAGE

    • BERTRAND DSOUZA

      We would like to believe otherwise, the Ecoboost engine might not be the most popular variant since it is also the most expensive. The diesel will be for obvious reasons but it could also be the 1.5 petrol that could be popular as it is a very good option to those looking at entry level sedans or top of the line hatchbacks.

  • Sohan Roy

    I understand that the DUSTER has proved itself in Europe and doing well….here too it is doing well i guess. i am not aware of the goodies they provide there.
    Space…moving off road is an advantage…a small kid behind needs space to move around..so do the adults need elbow space.

    But more info is required on the Petrol and Diesel variants…

  • Bertrand Dsouza

    The discussion about which makes most sense will only finally be answered when the pricing for the Ecosport is revealed. So hang on people for a few days more for the pricing.

  • KV

    Come one Rahul.. the rear mounted tyre just makes it look haphazard. Besides, I am sure the rear tyre will develop rattles over a period of time. That is just bound to happen on our Indian roads. I am more a fan of the classis SUV looks that Duster has.

    • DEAN

      South America has terrible roads too. A friend is still waiting for suspension parts to ship from France for her damaged Duster over a month

  • Kurosh

    Duster all the way! Better design, more ground clearance, more power, better diesel engine. Where is the competition?

  • Prayag

    Pricing is an important factor in this competition. But I do feel that other important factors like spaciousness, fuel efficiency, looks, performance and handling are going to play an important role here. I also read that the safety measures are optimum in Ecosport’s highest variants only, so does that mean they have ignored the base models altogether?

    • Raj

      Ford Ecosport has a huge luggage space at the back.

  • Prayag

    I was able to find through some extensive reading about the Ecosport that its A pillar has a huge blind spot which will be a grave danger while driving. Also when you say few centimeters longer, how will you then justify the more boot and seating space that the Duster provides? Also what i feel bad about in the Ecosport would be the windows, they are not as wide as Duster’s. His inclination might be inspired by the looks (probably), diesel engine efficiency and mostly by the extra booting space which he might find useful in carrying luggage. So I think it is justified through that point of view.

  • sbh

    ecosport drive is goood ??!!!!! you feel like sitting in auto… nothing said about suspension!!! Is this a comparison or an ad for ecosport?!!

  • Umesh

    hi is there any 4*4 option in the pipeline for duster ecosport or the upcoming terrano

  • debasish

    i have just book a ford ecosport tianium 1.5 ltr disel (option) engine. is it right decision for me or not

  • Deepak ‘DS’

    i called up Renault people to send their car (Duster) to my place for a test drive, and i would also like to share that not once but i called them thrice and i didnt get any response from them , neither i received any phone call from then nor i got the test drive, after this the Ecosport was launched and i booked it and im quite satisfied with the Ford service though i didnt get the car yet since i got 2 months waiting but to me its worth!

  • Yash Kushwaha

    which one should i buy…….. duster,ecosport,quanto ar any other…..
    i want a good milaege and a powerful and strong one for rough roads…….

  • pratham khari

    i want to say that ecosport is best not a duster duster look like bad car and ecosport is a sporty

  • DEAN

    Do you work for Renault? YOU COULD DO PROPAGANDA COMMERCIALS.

  • aditya singh

    Maruti suzuki swift dzire vs ford ecosport

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