Reader Question: Renault Oroch?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Brent asks: Do you know anything about the South American Renault Oroch? We live in Uruguay and are unfamiliar with this brand, but they are popular and parts are readily available which means for us it deserves consideration for a new car purchase. Any help or advice is certainly appreciated.

My reply: If my goldfish-like memory serves, Renault hasn’t sold cars in the U.S. since the early ’90s, so – per Elvis – it’s been a long time, baby. The only Renault I’ve personally driven was an old Fuego. I recall it being a little weird – as Saabs are weird – with some funky positioning of controls and some unusual-looking styling.

The Oroch – also known as Duster – looks neat. It is a lot like the pending 2022 Ford Maverick in being a car-based light-duty pickup-ish thing.

It is apparently related to a Nissan model called the Terrano (also not sold in the U.S.)  that is related to the last-generation Pathfinder (which is/was sold in the U.S.).

I wish I could tell you more from direct personal experience about the Oroch/Duster’s mechanicals, which appear to be Renault-sourced. Your best bet in this regard is some due diligence. Check out what people who already own one of these things say about them. Do they like them? Any issues with them? What is the depreciation like on them? Things like that. If it all checks out ok, then it is probably ok to buy one.

They do look fun!

. . . 

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1 COMMENT

  1. I have driven a Duster (which is the fully enclosed version) for a couple years. I thought briefly of getting an Oroch because we have a small chacra, and you can (at least could at one point) get a tax discount on new 4-door pickups, but I have no use for them. The side rails on the roof are nice. I got a quote for a roof rack for USD 200, and said no thanks, I’ll make one for USD 2, which I did: two pieces of 1×2 and some rope.

    I didn’t want to pay an additional USD 2,000 to get a 2.2 liter engine, so have the 1.6, which ain’t quick but is surprisingly workable. The vehicle is basic, which I like. I think it’s my first vehicular experience which involved actually reading the manual, and it didn’t take me long to understand what “segun el vehiculo” (depending on the vehicle) means: it means nothing extra that you see in the manual is going to be included, because after all, this is Uruguay. I thought maybe I should read it with a Sharpie in hand so I could put a big X on every irrelevant page, but realized that would simply be the waste of a Sharpie.

    I got a rear camera installed in Montevideo for a couple hundred bucks, which I now can’t imagine being without. I ditched dealer service when I read their checklist and realized how ridiculous it was for the money they wanted. My local mechanic agreed that it’s as though “open hood, check windshield wiper fluid, close hood” counts as three items.

    It’s French, of course, which reminds me of an early encounter with a mechanic here when we bought a used Peugeot. “The French,” he said, “they cook well. They should cook. They should not make cars.” From his diatribe I also picked up a couple new Spanish phrases: “porquería” and “pedaza de mierde.” The ignition key angle of the Oroch/Duster is weird and takes some getting used to, and I keep imagining press release headline: “Renault to introduce new manual transmission that doesn’t grind going into reverse.” Washing the windshield, which I have to do all the time given our dirt road, sometimes triggers the rear wiper as well. And sometime it doesn’t.

    Anyway, though, overall happy with it.

    BTW, for outsiders, the reason I use “USD” is because Uruguayans use $ for the Uruguayan peso and U$S for US dollars, and items might be priced in either.

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