And we have our own “Dakar”. Georgian “rally-raid” on Renault Duster

Can you imagine a serpentine? A steep winding road with sharp differences in heights, where bends of 180 degrees are more common than road signs. So – on the test of the Renault Duster Dakar in Georgia we descended from the mountains and rose again, just crossing the streamer across. Because this machine can. And the “Dakarovskaya” special version of the car is another reason to recall its main trump card.

In fact, in Duster Dakar, there is almost nothing special. From 911,990 rubles to 982,990 rubles, depending on the engine, you can buy just a well-equipped car, which differs from the usual top version only protective expanders of wheel arches. Of course, in addition to stylistic solutions like chrome overlays on the thresholds and the rear bumper, rugs and stickers with the symbols of the famous rally-raid. The protection of the rear gearbox and the fuel tank, even for the “Dakar” configuration, are separate options.

But the choice in favor of Duster Dakar – as a way to emphasize their “adventure” predilection. Climb far, see more, feel deeper. Because it is in the off-road element that the meaning and advantages of the car, not the most comfortable and comfortable in everyday city life, are revealed.

A kind of “rally-raid” was staged in Georgia. A curious place for an off-road test. Do not say that the ideal, but close to that. In December, you can find good and bad asphalt, soft and hard ground, dirt, snow, ice, water, rocks within 200 km from Tbilisi … It’s an amazing opportunity to get as many impressions from a diverse nature as possible, not especially reeling miles. And “Daster” is enough to master the country in the style of the race “Dakar” – not paying attention to the availability of roads and focusing only on GPS data.

Only without fire

First, Kakheti and the Gareja desert. As if scorched hills and rocks stretch to infinity. A few plains are literally rugged by sudden failures in the abyss. And we do not have an exact route – only coordinates. You drive up to the precipice and doubt for a second, but is it worth “flopping” down or going round? Worth it! The geometry of “Duster” allows him to descend into a real abyss and calmly rise from it. The corners of the entrance, ramp and exit are 30-26-36. To better imagine – it’s almost like 90-60-90 for women. Chic forms, and in this respect all versions of the SUV are the same. Short overhangs work wonders. Sometimes it seemed that I would now bury the “muzzle” in the rock and forever leave in the desert Duster in a diagonal position. But this is a deceptive feeling. Daredevil, we generally ceased to hold any trace in these parts. “Well, somewhere there”, – the navigator could be given such vague hints.

Then the Caucasus Mountains. Of course, you can go on the asphalt, but it’s not interesting. Yes, and to the snowy peaks, where a wonderful view opens, so you will not get. One of these ascents “across” the serpentine looked more like a stone dump. But they have passed. I can not help but notice that the well-protected rubber BFGoodrich KO2 with reinforced sidewall played its role in the success of the ascent (and not only). Non-standard, true. Not a single tire was damaged.

There are no lows for Renault, but it, in fact, replaces well the very short first gear of the six-speed mechanics. If only not to throw gas in the midst of storming the mountain. A “Duster” pull out. After several similar “exercises” I was convinced that with a diesel engine SUV is preferable. A half-liter unit on solar fuel, though, produces 109 forces, but 240 Nm of torque noticeably exceed even the capabilities of a two-liter petrol engine (195 Nm). In a company with a diesel engine, I always felt the necessary thrust. It’s not worth it. Round lumps lie the size of a bear’s head, which is better just to go around or move around with the whole wheel. 21 cm clearance, though a lot, but not a record.

This was enough for us in the mud. The ground clearance in most cases makes it possible to calmly fall into a rut and drag in it at least a dozen kilometers. Yes, and the metal protection of the bottom, which is in the base of any “Daster”, no doubt leaves. We block the clutch, completely disconnect the ESP, so as not to choke the motor – and crawl.

At the top is snow, in which Duster turned out to be a surprising chain. Again, I remember about the excellent AT-bus tires. I’m sure it’s worth including them in the “Dakar” equipment immediately, and not just as an option.

Enjoying the beauty, we go down, again to civilization. And the descent is something icy cold at all. Now I’d get freezing and uuuh! But we do not have to “blow” into the abyss. Short impulse braking, so as not to block the wheels, without losses and even too humdrumly find ourselves at the foot.

And there, finally, water. The rivers here are winding even more asphalt serpentines, but “Daster” is “knee-deep”. Depth of ford reached about 30-40 cm, which is not very much. Therefore, the ability to force local water bodies could not be doubted.

Stones, mud, water … And even here and there copper pipes had to move. Unless there was no fire. With “Duster” as a casino – you need to be able to stop in time. Keep a sober head and do not think of yourself as a tank driver. Or a racer of the present “Dakar”, which is now being held in South America. We had the intelligence to not stick into a completely monstrous mess and successfully complete the Georgian expedition.

Yes, the superiority over other compact off-road crossovers is still obvious. Just another level. Not inclined to overheat all-wheel drive clutch, well-coordinated work of transmission with motors, classy geometry – these qualities put Renault close to true frame SUVs. It never occurred to me, it never occurred to me to call Duster a crossover. It especially emphasizes his “Dakar” view.