The oddly-named Renault Kwid, has an odd design too. Its SUV-inspired looks, minus the SUV proportions, mean that from a distance the Kwid looks large, but as you get closer you realise it is a small car. How small? Almost the same size as Maruti Suzuki Alto. So, is the Kwid an able competitor to one of India’s most successful cars? Keep in mind that from Hyundai Eon to Datsun Go, various cars have tried to take on the Alto, unsuccessfully.
The Renault Kwid is the first vehicle built on Renault-Nissan Alliance Team’s new CMF-A platform—Common Module Family—a system which allows Renault and Nissan to build a wider range of cars from a smaller pool of parts. While CMF covers most vehicle segments, CMF-A represents the smallest and most affordable category of vehicles in the family.
In pictures: All you want to know about Renault Kwid
Renault Kwid: Exterior
The design raises eyebrows. The front gets chiselled and muscular lines. The large bumper with integrated fog-lamps, uniquely styled grille and in-your-face headlamps are unlike you have seen in any small car, not only in India but globally too. The high ground clearance is apparent, no matter which angle you look at the car from. Side body claddings and bulging wheel arches add to its SUV-inspired character. The oval, wraparound tail-lamps complete the look. There is one visual oddity, though. The Kwid rides on puny 155/80 R13 tyres, which means there is a noticeable gap between the wheels and the wells. Renault has carried out some smart cost-cutting measures—for example, the wheels get three lug nuts, instead of the usual four; and there is a single windscreen wiper. Overall, the Kwid comes across as a lean and mean crossover car with a lot of road presence than an entry-level hatchback. Enthusiasts would be happy to know that Renault will offer dozens of optional accessories to deck up the Kwid to suit customer taste.
For an entry-level hatchback, the Kwid sets new benchmarks inside the cabin. The space is one of the best in class because the Kwid is not only longer and wider than both the Alto 800 and the Eon, its wheelbase is also the longest. There are ample cubbyholes—most at the right places and most rightly-sized to accommodate most objects one generally travels in a small car with. For example, the front passenger gets a deep glove compartment on top as well as in the lower half—and in the middle there is an open shelf for storing more. The piano black centre console comes with a chrome-surround and houses the MediaNAV system which gets a seven-inch (18-cm) touch-screen display. Yes, you read it right! The Kwid gets a touch-screen. The driver has a good view of the road ahead and there is ample headroom and shoulder-room. The instrument console is all-digital and has a speedometer, odometer, tripmeter, fuel gauge, gear-shift indicator and other indicators. The display is bright enough even under the harsh sun. The air-conditioning is very good. At the rear, two adults can sit in comfort. The best thing about the cabin is the boot-space—at 300 litres, it is the most voluminous in its class.
However, the rear-view mirrors—both outside and in the cabin—are small in size. They limit your view of the road behind you. Renault should immediately resize these.
Renault Kwid: Engine
The Kwid gets a 800cc three-cylinder petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. It develops 53.3 bhp of power and 72 Nm of torque. The claimed fuel-efficiency is again class-leading, at 25.17 kmpl.
Renault Kwid: Ride & handling
Unlike most three-cylinder engines, this mill is relatively silent at idling. However, give it a little gas and you start feeling the vibrations. The power delivery in almost every gear is smooth and the engine feels adequately powerful until the car touches 100 kmph, beyond which it starts losing steam. Clearly, the Kwid is a city car than can be driven on the highway. Within the city, however, driving it is a breeze. One, you don’t need frequent gearshifts. Two, the car’s size and tight turning circle are a boon on narrow roads. Three, high ground clearance ensures the Kwid easily tackles the worst of the roads. Four, the most important requirement in this segment the fuel-efficiency and the Kwid scores the highest.
Renault Kwid: Safety
When we asked Renault about the safety aspects of the Kwid, the reply was: “It meets all the requirements set for Indian roads.” However, we know that these requirements are anyway basic. So driver-side airbag is only in the top variant and there is no ABS. There, though, are some active safety features such as a high-mounted stop lamp and good braking.
Renault Kwid: Verdict
Renault has announced that it will price the Kwid between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 4 lakh (ex-showroom). And it can, considering the fact that the localisation levels in the Kwid are a high 98%—such a high localisation level also means the spare parts could be very competitively priced. From purely a product point of view, at such prices, the Kwid is immense value-for-money, far more than its competitors. What should help the Kwid further is the credibility Renault has earned in India because of the Duster.