On July 10, 2018, we embarked on a breathtaking adventure with Renault Middle East. It was an adventure that saw us going from Lebanon to Jordan, exploring the Dead Sea and other Jordan hotspots along the way. Petra too, of course. We did all of this behind the wheel of Renault’s all-new Duster, the unstoppable SUV.
Day 1: Arrival to Jordan and Event Launch
On day 1 we went to Jordan and got familiar with everyone at the event. We left Beirut and headed to the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman where the Renault crew were waiting for us. We met a couple of Lebanese along the way, the admins of Lebanese Spotters.
It was a one hour ride from the airport to the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, where we spent our first night. The first thing we did as soon as we reached the hotel was going for a dip in the Dead Sea. It was both a bizarre and beautiful experience; bizarre because floating in it was a bit too easy.We got to enjoy the Dead Sea for a couple of hours before heading back to our room to prepare for dinner. A welcome dinner was held at Ashur Restaurant and was hosted by Renault Middle East Managing Director, Mr. Marwan Haidamous. After the dinner it was time for some World Cup action: France vs Belgium. The Renault team were quite happy with the result.
Day 2: The Test Drive
The action really kicked off on the second day of our 3-day stay in Jordan. Shortly after breakfast, Mr. Marwan Haidamous and the Renault team held a briefing where we got to know some interesting figures about the Duster as well as its features. After that, we got a first look at the vehicle and immidiatley noticed its styling that boasts a modern and muscular stance. It was then time to pick a driving partner and hit the road.The cabin felt big thanks to a steeply raked windscreen. Underneath it was a generously proportioned, SUV style, dashboard and a centre console fascia that accommodates a MediaNav Evolution display for clear and easy access. The piano key type controls gave the cabin a contemporary feel.
Our first stop of the long journey to Petra was Wadi Al Mujeb. The route had everything in it: long straights, tight corners, downhills, uphills, and breathtaking views of the Dead Sea.After a coffee break and souvenir pictures at Wadi Al Mujeb, it was time to head into the heart of Jordan. We soon lost sight of the Dead Sea as the terrain got more and more rugged. We were on our way to Al Matal and this is where we got to put the Renault Duster through its paces. The mountain roads were in very bad condition and there were a lot of uphills. The climb was a bit slow because of the small-size engine but the special attention paid to soundproofing has halved noise inside the cabin.
The All-New Duster’s automatic climate control, featuring four air vents (two in the middle and two on either side), delivered cool air optimally around the cabin. We couldn’t have survived the Jordanian weather without it.
We got to see the beauty of Jordan from Al Matal and got more souvenir pictures from the top of a mountain that overlooks both the sea and the city of Aqaba. Our last stop before reaching Petra was going to be Dana Cliff where we would have lunch with spectacular views down the Wadi Dana valley. We got there pretty quick and the road’s condition really hinted at the Duster’s off-road ability. It is then that we started counting down the minutes until we get to the off-road route in Petra.
After almost an hour on the road, we finally reached Petra. Smiles were all around as we prepared to go off-road with the all-new Duster. Length: The Duster’s length, width, and high ground clearance were well suited for the extreme terrain that we were about to encounter. Its approach and departure angles are 30 and 33 degrees respectively with a breakover angle of 21 degrees. It was time to go wild!
The Duster’s multi-view camera, which incorporates four cameras, allowed us to view the area around the vehicle and manoeuvre in complete peace of mind. Its Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist made tackling sloping terrain way easier. And its 4X4 monitor that incorporates a compass and notifies the driver of the vehicle’s angle in real time was the icing on the cake of a perfectly executed off-road drive.
A photoshoot later, it was time to head back to The Old Village Hotel to check-in, get rid of all the dirt, have dinner, and enjoy another World Cup game: England vs Croatia.
Day 3: Visiting Petra and Going Back Home
We had to wake up early to visit ‘The Jewel of Jordan’, Petra. A three-hour drive to the airport followed; it was the perfect time to contemplate what we’ve learned from our visit to Jordan – just kidding, we slept!
To Sum It Up
The all-new Renault Duster might not be the fastest SUV out there, but it is definitely “unstoppable”. You get what you paid for and a whole lot more with this vehicle.
More information on the all-new Renault Duster can be found here.