Terrano or Duster, which car should you pick? Read on...

Published: 03 November, 2013 10:11 IST | Amit Chhangani |

The Nissan Terrano and the Renault Duster essentially run the same hardware under the skin. And yet they are so different in many ways. So which one should you choose? It's a tricky one. AMIT CHHANGANI helps you sort this one out

Terrano and Duster -- they’re two different cars, from two different car manufacturers, but with the same heart pounding under the skin and with the same running gear. While the Duster has been around for some time, selling in great numbers and creating great brand visibility for Renault in India, the Terrano has emerged on the horizon only recently. A completely re-skinned version of Renault-Dacia’s Duster platform, the Terrano has pulled off the laudable task of creating a unique visual identity for itself.

The Terrano sports an angular and prim look with a sharp style and detailing

For the uninitiated, Renault and Nissan are global strategic partners. They share their technologies, resources, plants and platforms -- even their global CEO. We have seen Nissan lending its Sunny and Micra platforms to Renault to sell them as the Pulse and Scala earlier. With the Terrano, it’s Nissan’s turn to make use of the very capable Duster platform and get some sales for the company. So what differentiates the two?

The Duster boasts of a chunky and an untamed look, and is a tad globular in shape

There are just too many engine and trim variants on offer for the two models, and it wouldn’t be possible to compare the features of all of them with the limited space we have here. So we’ll keep our discussion limited to the top of the line 108bhp, diesel-powered versions of the two cars.

Price has to be the most important parametre in this segment for a majority of car buyers in India. Now as this platform is a Renault original, Nissan has to sell the Terrano at a premium over the Duster. The top of the line Renault Duster RxZ Diesel (Opt) retails for about R12.18 lakh, ex-Delhi. A similar spec Terrano XV D THP Premium, on the other hand comes for R12.45 lakh ex-Delhi. Add to those numbers the discounts that are being offered for the Duster, and you are looking at a price differential of anywhere from R50,000 to R60,000 for the On the Road (OTR) price.

Beauty, as they say, lies in the beholder’s eyes, and both the machines here have something or the other going for them as regards visual appeal. While the Duster has this chunky, stocky, untamed look, the Terrano is more angular and prim. The Terrano borrows its design expression from famous international Nissan SUVs such as the Pathfinder and Petrol, etched in the minds of off-roading aficionados as legends -- which can never be a bad thing.

Both up front and at the rear, the Duster looks a tad globular, while the Terrano has a sharper styling. In profile, however, the two machines look very similar. Take your pick with little worry, as both look good in their own right. As auto experts, we would give the Terrano a few brownie points though for its better sorted and more sophisticated detailing.

Interior and features
Nissan has made some changes to the interior design of the Terrano over that of the Duster. The steering wheel is new, with typical Nissan styling. In comparison, the Duster’s steering wheel looks a tad drab. The Duster features round central A/C vents, while the Terrano has them in a rectangular shape. Both cars use different variety and shade of faux wood. The instrument cluster for the two cars is also different, design-wise.

The steering wheel of the Terrano is new, with Nissan’s styling

Upholstery is where the Terrano has an advantage. Unlike the fabric upholstery on the Duster, the Terrano comes with leather seat covers, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob.

The steering wheel of the Duster looks a tad drab

The push to release storage compartment on top of the dash also looks better, and is more utilitarian than the storage recess on the Duster. Both cars come with a 2 DIN Audio unit with integrated CD/MP3/FM/AM with Bluetooth, Aux in and USB support. The design for the center console and the audio unit itself is different on the two cars though.

Duster has fabric upholstery and has a storage recess less utilitarian than that of Terrano

The Duster, to its advantage, has a more sophisticated rear AC unit. It also features keyless push button start. As a major advantage over the Terrano feature wise, it offers a GPS navigation system. In addition, fully folding rear seats and rear arm rest featuring cup holders come as an added plus.

Terrano has leather upholstery and boasts of a push button to release storage compartment atop

The Terrano, apart from its advantage in terms of upholstery, is also more smoker-friendly. It offers a cigarette lighter and ash tray, which the Duster doesn’t. The Terrano also comes with body colored ORVMs, unlike the contrasting coloured Outside Rear View Mirror (ORVMs) on the Duster.

Engine, ride and handling
As mentioned earlier, the two cars feature the same engine, transmission and underpinnings. In terms of performance, handling and comfort, there is hardly anything to differentiate the two machines. We would, however, recommend the engine variant with 85 bhp on tap. This engine has enough power for all practical purposes, is more linear in nature and offers better fuel efficiency too. The top of the line 108bhp variant suffers a tad from turbo lag.

So which one of the two should you pick? Well, there cannot be a conclusive answer to that question, as it would depend entirely on your own preferences. The Terrano is slightly more expensive, but it offers value for the additional money with (arguably) its more premium looks, slightly neater looking cabin and leather upholstery.

On the other hand, the Duster saves you more than half a lakh rupees. It also offers a GPS navigation system. It looks good in its own right, and there’s no way you could go wrong with it.

In the end, if you’re ready to shell out the extra money for a bit more premium appeal, you should go for the Terrano. And if practicality and outright value is what dominates your mindscape then you shouldn’t think twice before going for the Duster.

As we said earlier, you cannot go wrong either way. 

Tech specs
Engine type

DUSTER: 1.5 dCI diesel
Terrano: 1.5 dCI diesel

Max power
DUSTER: 108 bhp @ 3,900 RPM
Terrano: 108 bhp @ 3,900 RPM

Max torque
DUSTER: 248 Nm @ 2,250 RPM
Terrano: 248 Nm @ 2,250 RPM

DUSTER: 19.01 kmpl
Terrano: 19.01 kmpl

Duster: Rs 12.18 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
Terrano: Rs 12.46 lakh
ex-showroom Delhi 

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