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Renault India has launched a petrol-powered version of the Duster compact SUV. But unlike the erstwhile 1.6-litre engined variant that sat at the bottom of the line-up, this one uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine. You can have it with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (automatic). Prices for the former start at Rs 8.49 lakh onwards (ex-showroom, New Delhi), while the latter is priced at Rs 10.32 lakh.

There aren’t too many changes elsewhere, with three trims (RXE, RXL, and RXS), similar features and underpinnings available on the petrol version as the diesels. The new 1.5-litre naturally aspirated, multi-point fuel-injected unit makes 104.5 bhp@5,600 rpm and 14.47 kgm@4,000 rpm, and is claimed to return 14.99 kpl. The CVT gearbox has the usual modes (P, R, N, and D), ESP and Hill Start, and six-speed manual mode; although anyone who knows CVTs will assure that these are steps and not exactly six gears that actually change.

In terms of features, there’s a driver airbag standard on the base models, while the top-spec CVT-equipped one gets dual airbags. There’s also ABS and EBD, rapid deceleration warning, electrically adjustable ORVMs, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system (on the top-spec variant), etc.

The usual good bits about the Duster remain unchanged: styling, 205 mm of ground clearance, spacious interior, supple ride (Duster petrol gets the same suspension as that on the regular diesel engined version), 16-inch alloys on the top-spec version, and seven colour choices – including a new red shade.

Mr. Sumit Sawhney, CEO and Managing Director, Renault India  said, “We have a clear goal of growing the Renault brand in India. Towards this, we are strategically strengthening our product range, expanding our network reach and initiating pioneering measures to ensure customer delight. Duster plays a pivotal role in our product portfolio and with the introduction of the new petrol range with CVT, Renault has the widest offering in the segment, enabling us to best cater to evolving customer needs. We are confident that the new Duster petrol range with the CVT will resonate well with discerning Indian customers in the fastest growing vehicle segment in India.”