Winning the entry level hatchback segment of Indian auto market is not a mean feat. No one barring Maruti Alto has been able to crack the code of this segment. Of course there are other fringe players like Eon and Datsun Go trying hard to make a mark, these are not as successful as their manufacturers would have liked. Renault is latest to join this buzz and with uniquely styled Kwid, the company is offering this category nothing less than a compact SUV.
In fact the design and shape of the Kwid is its biggest draw which Renault is hoping to translate into sales volume. Now whether new Kwid is actually capable to do so or not, we find out in this road-test review.
Style, Design & Interiors
Renault Kwid is one of its kind with broad shoulders and very SUV-ish profile. Sitting on a tall suspension, Kwid offers very spacious and roomy interiors. Attention grabbing bits include large, bold headlamps. Renault lozenge sits at the centre with chain like double grille. Plastic cladding all around looks just fabulous and equips Kwid with X-factor which company hopes to get translated into chunk of sales. Power bulge at the centre is quite sophisticated and good looking too. A sharp kink in the window line towards the end defines the profile and so is done by chunky roof rails. Overall Looks feel sculpted and aggressive owing to the haunches and cladding.
Kwid measures 3679 mm from head to toe, is 1579 mm wide and stands 1478 mm tall. It comes with 2422 mm long wheelbase and features 180mm of ground clearance.
Step inside the cabin and you will be greeted by simple, non-cluttered and functional dashboard. There is touchscreen unit that has been borrowed from the Lodgy and Duster which provides various media and telephony functionality. Instrument cluster is of digital display and provides necessary information except the tachometer.
Kwid offers a spacious cabin than any other car in its class though don't mistake it for a genuine 5-seater. Three adults abreast at the back will be squeeze and not ideal for the long run. Overall the Kwid offers space that is above the expectations of the A- segment customers. Quality of plastic and dash is average but then at introductory price of Rs 2.54 lakh, it is not a thing you can really complain about.
Boot space is decent too as Kwid offers handsome luggage storing space. However, we felt loading lip a tad too high for the loading-unloading comfort.
Engine, Transmission& Driving Dynamics
Powered by all-new 799 cc petrol engine, Kwid makes 54 PS and 74 Nm of max power and max torque respectively. The engine has double overhead cam architecture, and it breathes through 16 valves. Renault has developed this engine entirely from the scratch and so is the true for 5-speed manual transmission. Fire the engine and we are pleasantly surprised by the refinement levels of this three pot motor. Unlike other sub - litre engines, this motor is refined and quick in its paces.
Thanks to the low kerb weight and ample torque that is available low down the rev-range, the Kwid never feel underpowered in the city. Foot reflexes are met with sharp response, and so are true for the slick transmission. 5-speed manual gearbox is mated well with the gear ratios. For most part of the driving within the city, the Kwid is quite sufficient to take the load.
Kwid uses MacPherson struts upfront and twist beam at rear to suspend 13" alloy wheels. With 155 mm tread width, the car is felt skinny on paper though in reality, it offers a very good ride quality. So much so that we feel Kwid is the most comfortable and good riding car in its segment. At 660 kg, Kwid has got weight advantage in its favour.
It is around 60 kg lighter than nearest rival though such lightweight also points towards the low structural safety of the car. Electric power steering is very convenient and responsive, and it weighs up quite nicely on speeds.
Kwid comes across as great value for money as it trades between Rs 2.57 - 3.53 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). No doubt, Renault has done an impressive job with Kwid. There are several key areas where Kwid excels and is far ahead from the rivals. Be it styling or design, interiors or space, performance or fuel efficiency, Kwid makes a strong case for itself. That said, the biggest concerns for the customers of this segment are the overall cost of ownership which is the strongest point of current market leader Maruti Alto. If Kwid can beat Alto on this front, then nothing can stop its forward march. We place a bet on Kwid's success though only time will tell how successful it would prove overall to Renault.
Style & Substance 3.5/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 4/5