Maruti Suzuki’s Alto is unofficially India’s favorite small car. It out-numbers everything in its segment has eventually helped Maruti become a household name. The reasons are quite clear – terrific affordability, reliability and efficiency all packed into a compact body. Many automobile manufacturers have tried compete with Alto, but with limited success. Renault’s announcement of the Kwid to ‘unsettle’ the Alto did raise many eyebrows. It’s only success in the country has been the Duster, which revolutionized the compact SUV segment in the country. Now, the Kwid holds the promise for the car maker, as Renault seems to have stirred up the right mix with its small car.
Earlier this month Renault had received 25,000 bookings within a fortnight after Kwid’s launch. The demand for the car continues to grow at a phenomenal rate as the Chennai-based car maker receives another 25,000 bookings taking the number to an impressive 50,000. But now sources state that waiting periods of the Kwid may extend upto 10 months in certain cities, and that bookings have crossed the 70,000 figure.
Perhaps the reason for raking up a 10 percent market share in a short period lies in its design. Many say that it is designed like a small Duster and is very much SUV- like. But that may be taking it a bit too far. It is more like a micro-hatch with its large grille, rectangular headlights, muscular hood, a neat looking tail lamp and a square shape overall. Either way, the look is just right. The 180mm of ground clearance gives it the requisite stance, and the 155/80 tyres and 13-inch wheels don’t look too bad on the car.
Ultimately being a budget car there are clever bits of cost cutting like the exposed tow hook at the front, the three-nut wheels and their plastic covers and the single wiper. Also at just 660kg, the Kwid is about 50-60kg lighter than rivals like the Alto and Eon.
Just like the unique exterior design, the cabin quality and materials used don’t look cheap by any measure. The cabin is spacious and comes with abundant storage space including two glove compartments and a couple of coffee mug holders near the gear lever, and bottle holders on the door panels. The AC vents also have chrome accents and like with the exterior, you will start to see a few cost-cutting signs if you look hard enough, but they’re really no better or worse than other cars in this class. Things like exposed screws, centre-mounted window switches at the front, no power windows at the rear, and non retracting seatbelts at the back either – you have to adjust the length manually every time you buckle up.
Renault has equipped the Kwid with MediaNAV system which comes with a range of functions such as navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming & hands-free telephony, USB & AUX–input ports and speed sensing volume control. The on-board trip computer provides valuable information such as average fuel consumption, distance to empty, average speed and more and a gear shift indicator. The Renault KWID also comes with the convenience of remote keyless entry and one-touch lane change indicator that further simplifies your drive experience. So the Kwid is loaded.
The seats are reasonably large and well padded and can easily fit four adults. The boot space is huge
The Kwid uses an all-aluminium, 799cc three-cylinder petrol engine and the power is 53.26bhp @ 5678rpm and torque is 7.34kgm @4386rpm. But what we really care about is 25.12kpl – an ARAI rated fuel economy figure that makes it the most efficient petrol car in the country. Being the lightest car in the segment, the car is faster to 100kmph and can go upto 125kmph. The engine is quite refined and for 2.6 lakhs the ride is very smooth. Suspension has been well calibrated to offer minimum body roll and it feels really nicely held together for a budget car. Thanks to the superb setup, the car goes through corners very tidily as well. However, it’s spoiled by the steering which is quite lifeless and doesn’t return to centre freely. . That’s a shame, as a good steering setup would have complemented the suspension to make for a really fun car to drive.
Renault has won half of the battle with design and features. It has also armed itself well, with a premium cabin, plenty of space, the best fuel economy. And Renault has got its strategy and pricing right too. The company has saved costs in areas that customers won’t notice or mind. Yes it has its flaws with the engine and some of the cheaper Kwids aren’t well equipped. Still, all things considered, Renault’s Kwid clearly a game changer and is a wake up call to Maruti and Hyundai
PRICING (ex showroom Bhubaneswar)
|KWID RXE Radio Option||₹315100|
|KWID RXT Driver Airbag Option||₹371265|