Renault Kwid First Drive: Kwidessential Hatch

Opening

First Impressions of the Renault Kwid: The Kwidessential Hatch

When I first saw the Renault Kwid at its global debut in India, I thought to myself, “Is that… an entry level hatch?” I’m sure we can all agree that smaller cars towards the bottom of the budget spectrum pique our interest for fundamental and straightforward reasons like price and mileage. For the logical argument that it sounds too excited to demand more at this price range, we tend to let go of our secondary expectations.

We were devoted to the nation’s great automobile producer Maruti Suzuki for years since the cars they produced suited to the demands of the public. When it came to wanting more, though, there was no choice except to pay more and upgrade to a higher section. That isn’t the most ideal solution. Renault’s small red riding hood enters the picture at this point.

The Renault Kwid, as lovely as it may sound, is not just a bargain hatchback, but a macho and angry-looking crossover, designed to exist and intimidate the clichéd offers crawling on today’s roads. A satellite navigation system, touchscreen entertainment unit, trip computer, and other features are included, as well as the claim of best-in-class mileage of 25.17 kmpl. For our first driving report, we take it through the laid-back streets of Goa.

Exterior Appearance

Budget hatchbacks elicit the same level of thrill as two pieces of plain white bread placed on a white plate. They look to be the consequence of boredom and desperation on the part of the design engineer. One can’t blame them entirely, given that the objective is to create something that meets the fundamental needs of a car.

The Renault Kwid, on the other hand, does not inspire any of these feelings. Its dimensions are typical of its class, but its design is unlike anything we’ve seen before in the segment. It will strike a swift rapport with both the energetic youthful and the sanely aged thanks to its SUV-inspired style and considerable modern design. This one, too, proved to be a looker as we continued to respond to the interested beings from all over.

On the front, a black chain linked grille holds the bold Renault badge, while the side has slender clear glass headlamps. Inside the headlamps, there is chrome trim to provide some bling. Move your gaze behind you, and you’ll notice the powerful curves curving beneath the grille. A sleek matte surround is also applied to the fog lamp housing, which is mounted to the bumper.

The front hood has several distinguishing lines to make it more appealing, and the steeply built windscreen has the similar effect. The muscular wheel arch at the front feeds into the strong shoulder line, which splits and moves up towards the C-pillar. Intricate side detailing, such as scooped door handle pockets, boxy fuel lid form, and other contour lines on the side profile, show the effort put in to make the Kwid stand out from the competition.

The ORVMs are painted in contrasting black and must be adjusted manually from the outside. The matte cladding that runs over the front and rear squarish wheel arches doesn’t look out of place and instead blends in beautifully with the overall design. The 180mm ground clearance makes it sound like it belongs in an SUV, and it’s also a best-in-class characteristic.

For obvious reasons, the French have a thing for the back. With its well-rounded tail lamps and a sensuous tail gate that has a rationale for its shape but appears magnificent at the same time, the Kwid looks delicate and small. The gate has been made neater by limiting the number of labels on it; even the variant name is displayed on the back window line. The rear panelling begins at a higher point and finishes with the registration plate on the lower part and a well-positioned exhaust pipe hidden underneath.

Interior appearance

When you go inside the Renault Kwid, you’ll see that it’s not your average matchbox of a cabin, which can make you want to go for a quick workout or perhaps separate your head from your body. The first thing that strikes you about the cabin is its vastness, followed by the extensive array of options and features.

The front seats are made of high-quality materials and have good lumbar support. The underthigh, on the other hand, lacks the necessary cushioning, although this can be overlooked because the seats are otherwise rather comfy. The legroom and headroom are excellent, but the shoulder room is a little tight, and we may have noticed it more since we are older. The rear passengers are as well-served, with plenty of legroom and kneeroom. The flat bottom seats are the one thing that will make passengers uncomfortable, especially on prolonged trips. Importantly, it outperforms its competitors because it has the longest wheelbase, as well as being higher and wider.

The steering wheel is the right size and has enough support for that unexpected manoeuvre. It is in the Kwid’s instrumental cluster where the gizmoness is sensed for real. The speed is displayed in big block numerals first, followed by distance to empty, average fuel consumption, instantaneous mileage, average speed, tripmeter, and remaining fuel in the tank. If that’s not enough, there’s also a gear shift indicator to help you out when driving. Everything is crammed into that small space, and then there’s more.

We were in the RxT model, which is the top of the line option and includes a 7-inch touchscreen system with voice help satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a slew of other entertainment features. Yes, you read that correctly: the Renault Kwid has it all. So, the next time you want to brag about your luxury hatchback’s amenities, consider the Kwid.

Inside the cabin, there are several smart storage possibilities. A triple zone storage option is available on the dashboard, with the top zone offering 5L of capacity and a pocket for a litre class container. It even came in helpful for storing my DSLR camera. 3.4L of space is available in the exposed middle zone, while 5.5L is available in the bottom zone. Pockets are also available on the front central console for storing small items. In addition to the space available, the door pockets can each hold a litre class container. The spacious and generous boot room, which is 300L larger than the Alto 800, Alto K10, Eon, WagonR, Celerio, and even the Swift and i20 Active, is what really makes a statement.

The quality of the trimmings and fit and finish plastics is outstanding, especially considering Renault had to stick to a tight budget. The ebony and grey interiors seem clean, and when matched with red cloth inserts, they look incredibly new and young. The design of the air-conditioning vents is unusual, with solid shutters and chrome accents. The primary unit is surrounded by a piano black surround, which gives it a more upscale appearance. It’s excellent to leave a decent finish on all of them because they’re visible, but take a closer look at the console edges, door hinges, and carpet area corners and you’ll see that the Kwid is a well-finished product with high levels of workmanship.

Driven by Results

Finally, there’s the Renault Kwid’s performance, which has been a source of concern for many potential purchasers. To begin with, the Renault Kwid is mostly a city car with the ability to map highways and long journeys on occasion. It gets a brand new 799cc three-cylinder engine that produces 53 horsepower and 72 Nm of torque. Unlike most triple-cylinder configurations, the engine is extremely quiet at idle.

The use of aluminium in the cylinder block contributes to the engine’s reduced weight. The motor’s design has been tuned to ensure that losses are kept to a minimum and that fuel economy is improved. The active 5-speed manual transmission also aids the powertrain in performing at its best.

To begin with, the engine does not appear to be drowsy, requiring numerous slaps to wake it up and get those horses moving. Shift it to neutral and gently rev it; it demonstrates a high level of passion. When you get it running, you’ll notice that the first gear is fairly tall, which is because the engine’s reduced displacement shouldn’t allow you to fall behind in traffic. Things appear to settle down only as more shifts and revs are added.

So, no, this isn’t a hot hatch. Yes, it appears angry and radical, but don’t let that deter you from driving in a sensible manner, as the Renault Kwid is essentially a city mapper. What I enjoyed best about the car was that navigating traffic and keeping up with other drivers wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. With the minor annoyance of the engine noise seeping into the cabin, the revs contribute to the confidence to be pushed further. It’s hard to gripe about it because that’s what a smaller displacement odd-cylinder design accomplishes.

Must say, for a car in this segment, the shift quality is impressive, as we were able to torture it with a large number of shifts to make the engine rev to its maximum and there was no sign of resistance from the transmission unit; a boon for city commuters who would otherwise end up building an arm like Arnold. We took it on long sections of straight road after avoiding the city lights, and the motor continued to impress us with its seamless power delivery.

Despite having the greatest dimensions among its competitors, driving it in tiny roads or manoeuvring through traffic is a breeze. All of this is made feasible by the light steering wheel. It is only on highways that you sense the need for extra steering wheel feedback. The 155 / 80 R13 tyres from JK Tyre help to complete the act. Unless and until you’re driving around town at city speeds, shopping, or something similar, these tyres are fine, but the instant you put them in a hard turn, they cause a lot of pain and understeer.

Crawling over uneven surfaces isn’t much of a problem for this red youngster, as the Kwid has 180mm of ground clearance. This, combined with a front MacPherson strut and a rear twist beam unit, keeps the body totally shielded from any road undulations. They also do a fantastic job of dampening all of the noise. The NVH levels are also noteworthy, as ambient noise scarcely crept inside the cabin no matter where we drove it, and there was no redundant noise felt.

At the end of the day, it’s a Renault, and the Kwid’s handling reflects this. At high speeds, there is a small roll through bends, but the entire system does an excellent job of keeping its straight stance. Renault is correct in claiming that the Kwid imitates the Duster by providing a similar level of driving characteristics, which must be its distinguishing attribute. It has disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the back to ensure there isn’t much drama when it comes to bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. Because ABS isn’t available yet, the small rubbers shriek to life under hard braking. We wish the brakes were a little more powerful. Overall, it makes a great first impression and is unquestionably the greatest city car in its class to drive.

Conclusion

There are several reasons to believe that Renault’s Kwid is a solid product. For starters, it is a worldwide car designed from the ground up, rather than a shrunk or updated version of another vehicle. The CMF-A platform, which runs the Kwid, was built and optimised to meet all of the current and future needs and requirements. The same platform offers the capacity to produce cars with a wide range of body styles.

At 98 percent, Renault has the largest proportion of localization of any manufacturer, giving it a significant advantage in pricing the Kwid competitively. To top it off, this little crossover hatchback gets 25.17 kilometres per litre, indicating outstanding levels of optimization. Features such as Media SatNav, Trip Computer, and Touchscreen Infotainment, which were not expected in this sector, will make an impression on purchasers.

Renault also doesn’t want to confine itself to the mature market, offering 60 different customisation options, as well as six accessory packs and 25 different lifestyle decals, aimed specifically at the younger market. Roof rails, front bumper guard, side cladding with Kwid carved on it, ambient light, lighted sill plates, steering wheel cover, personalised seat covers, and more may all be added to the Kwid.

The business has also pushed to strengthen its dealership network, which has grown from 35 to 205 locations in only four years in India. They’ve used high-tech to make the purchase process easier, and they’ve done it by developing virtual showrooms, where anyone can join online and get a complete presentation of the goods, replete with a payment gateway option. The Kwid app allows you to access all of the information about the Kwid from your smartphone.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, indicated during the worldwide presentation in Chennai that the Renault Kwid price will be between Rs 3 lakhs and Rs 4 lakhs, which, if true, will do wonders for this entry-level automobile. For the fully loaded model, we estimate a more realistic high end on road price of Rs 5 lakhs. But, if the Kwid is to be a success, is it all about the proper pricing?

Not at all! Let me explain why I sound so different from the general voice. It’s crucial to place the Kwid in the right pricing range, but it’s not the only deciding element. Renault needs to make sure that all of the information about and about the Kwid gets to its target audience in the best possible way, which means improving the pre-sales experience by training dealership salespeople to answer all kinds of questions and explain the numerous options and features in detail.

So, can the Renault Kwid help you find a parking spot? Yes! This is the Kwidessential buy if you’re tired of the blandness of most entry-level cars and want something unique to upgrade to with crossover styling and a slew of goodies as a bonus.

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