Roadtest & Review : Renault Kwid (50+ images)

  • Sep 12, 2015

Renault Kwid India

Renault has been present in the Indian car market for years now but they are yet to control even 3% of the market share, selling between 3000 to 4000 units on a monthly basis.
The Kwid however aims to change that completely and is the French maker's ticket into the entry-level hatchback market. Does it have what it takes to challenge the segment leader Maruti Alto 800 and other cars like the Hyundai Eon?

Design (9/10)

Renault Kwid India

There’s no taking away the fact that the Kwid looks like a mini SUV. It’s wider and longer than cars like the Alto 800 and the Eon but sits lower with a higher ground clearance and this gives it a very purposeful stance, something missing in other cars in the segment. Matt black finish all around, bold grille and clever elements like cladding around fog lamps and a clean rear end execution certainly help in making the Kwid look aesthetically pleasing.

Renault Kwid India side profile

Side profile of the Kwid is very strong and the best in class wheelbase (as much as 63mm more than the Alto K10) makes the car look larger than it actually is. You also notice the unique front fender integrated indicator and short front and rear overhangs further give it a mini SUV look. The integrated real spoiler, standard across all versions, adds a touch of sportiness to the rear. Interestingly, the Kwid gets a single wiper up front – again, a clever cost cutting measure.

Renault Kwid India rear profile

Renault will sell the Kwid in four versions and five color options. None of the versions get alloy wheels and the base version is devoid of body coloured bumpers, door decals and even wheel caps. That said, Renault will be offering, at launch, a wide range of accessories and these will be available on finance too. Alloy wheels, graphics, roof rails, chrome pack, rain visors et al, consumers will be given lot of options to customize their cars.

Exterior Gallery

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Interiors (8/10)

Renault Kwid  interiors

It takes a bit of effort to step into the cabin of the Kwid, especially if you have a larger than average build. Once inside though, you are greeted with an airy cabin with lot of interesting bits. The digital display for example – it looks funky and has a tiny display for odometer, fuel economy (average and instantaneous), average speed, fuel consumed, distance to empty etc.

Renault Kwid interiors

The steering looks chunky and higher trim levels get an up-market glossy black finish at the bottom. Wiper and headlight stalks are set for Indian style (lamps on the right stalk, wiper on the left) but unfortunately, you don’t get steering adjust or even internal adjustment for the outside mirrors. Likewise, there is no day and night functionality for the internal mirror but the moment you take your eyes to the central console, this little Kwid leaves a smile on your face with a first in segment touch screen infotainment system with navigation and Bluetooth support. It works brilliant well and our only complaint is the audio quality which lets down the whole experience. It would have been wise to spend a couple of thousand extra for better (and four) speakers.

Renault Kwid audio

That said, the interiors of the Kwid are practical and functional – lot of cubby holes, twin gloveboxes, generous door pads, this little hatchback has enough places for your knick knacks. A small ergonomic issue is the location of the front power window switches – below the aircon controls.

Renault Kwid  rear seat

Space wise, the Kwid turns out to be a better option than the Alto twins and the Eon but I still feel the Nano offers more space, especially at the back. With the front seat of the Kwid adjusted for my height, I could barely sit at the back with my knees struggling for space – this is not the case with the Nano. But then, the Nano is a unique car!
Moving on, while the rear door pads don’t have space for bottles, the little door arm rest with space for a slim mobile is a nice touch and so is the massive parcel tray at the back. Talking of which, the Kwid comes with a best in class boot space of 300 litres, enough to shame quite a few expensive hatchbacks too. This will surely be a strong point for those looking at using the Kwid as a means to transport goods (shop owners for example) or those looking at weekend getaways every now and then.

Interior Gallery

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The drive (8.5/10)

Renault Kwid

Like the Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon, the Kwid also comes with a 3-cylinder 0.8-litre motor. Power and torque numbers from this SCe (smart control efficiency) engine are healthy on paper – 54PS of power and 72Nm of torque make the Kwid slightly more powerful than the Alto 800 but not as much as the Eon. That said, at 669kgs, the Kwid is the lightest of the lot and in turn gets a very impressive power to weight ratio. The end result is brisk performance (for this segment) for city usage.

Renault Kwid

The engine sounds like a typical 3-pot motor and responds well to throttle inputs. Its only when you hit an incline at lower RPMs does the engine gasp for breath and you have to downshift immediately. NVH levels of the engine are well under control and you can easily have a conversation with passengers on the move. The Kwid will come with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard and AMT might follow later this year. The gearbox works well for the segment – not very smooth but as a driver you will enjoy the short throws.
We did push the Kwid on some of the empty roads of Verna industrial area in Goa and the engine responded very well – the tall 3rd gear for example allows you to go onto the other side of 100km/h. Expect this light weight wonder to do about 140km/h on an empty stretch of road but we don’t recommend this mainly because for the kind of performance this hatchback delivers, brakes are simply not adequate. They work well for routine driving but during emergency braking, the feedback and actual braking is not encouraging enough. ABS is not being offered though driver side airbag is optional.

Renault Kwid
The Kwid delivers over 25kmpl as per ARAI certification making it the most efficient petrol car in India. Around Goa’s single lane roads and state highways, we got an easy 16kmpl (as per display) with the air-con working overtime.

Comfort and handling (8/10)

Renault Kwid

The Kwid is an entry level hatchback and will be aimed at first time car buyers. Consumers will also be looking at this car as the perfect means of getting from point A to B and in this regard, the Kwid fares well. Good visibility, adequately light steering and a peppy motor do just that and the suspension turns out to be the icing on the cake. As a small car with 13-inch wheels, the Kwid ends up dismissing rough roads very well – you do get thrown around just a bit but in front of its rivals, the ride quality of the Kwid can be termed as impressive. The Kwid has the highest tyre profile among cars like the Alto and Eon and this helps absorb undulations very well. This combined with ample passenger space makes the Kwid one of the most comfortable small hatchbacks out there in the market. Yes, there are no roof mounted grab rails and road noise filters into the cabin easily at speeds over 60km/h but at this price point, we couldn’t have asked for more!

Renault Kwid

While no one expects a small hatchback to handle well, the Kwid turns out to be a surprise here as well. There is noticeable body roll (blame the high profile tyres) but yet the car is very agile for traffic use. You can literally make your way through traffic easily with the peppy motor coming in handy for closing in on gaps quickly.
Worthy of a mention is the air-con performance - this does contribute to the overall comfort of passengers but sadly in the case of the Kwid, the air-con refused to cool the cabin when the car was left to idle under the post-monsoon Goa sun. This is not encouraging for a car market where temperatures go as high as 48 degrees in summers!

Verdict (8.5/10)

Renault Kwid vs alto 800

It’s the best looking small hatchback. Period. But then there’s more to the Kwid in terms of space, comfort, a peppy and an efficient motor and lot of unique class leading features. It drives well and the company is really positive and confident with the product. And why not – for instance this car comes with localization of 98%, the highest ever for a new car launch in India. There are over 200 dealerships waiting to welcome prospective customers and the newly launched Kwid App is getting a lot of limelight. On paper, everything seems to be going in favour of the Kwid and the only thing left to be known is the pricing. Infact, this is the most important thing – India is still a very price conscious market and if Renault can surprise us with the pricing, they will have a winner on the hands. Watch this space for more!

Driver info display gallery

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More images:

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