Renault Kwid: A new benchmark in the making

first_imgThere is little to doubt the opportunities lurking in the small car segment in India. The hottest selling car in India, the Maruti-Suzuki Alto 800 (which in case you are not aware of is a hatchback) sold more than 2.4 lakh units during 2014 and needless to say there are many more entry level models available in the country. However over the past few years, this segment has seen a slight decline and that is primarily due to the lack of something exciting. Renault is planning to reinvent this segment with its all new small car, the Kwid. Motoring buffs will recollect that during the last Auto Expo in 2014, the company did showcase a concept called the Kwid . Now that one was one hell of a radical car. Big bulging tyres, drones ready to fly out of the roof etc. The production version though, is a far cry from the concept, obviously. But what it has retained is the fact that the Kwid looks much like a really small crossover and it is this fact which might help it to strike a chord with the SUV loving Indian janata. The Kwid offers a spacious cabin along with a touch-screen entertainment system. Quality of plastics could improveThe Kwid, to begin with, is based on the new CMF-A platform and sports a rather unique design. The front end of the Kwid features a typical Renault look with the badge taking centrestage. The grille too is inspired by the SUVs Renault offers and has multiple rectangular slats much like the Duster. In profile one can also clearly spot that the Kwid offers ample clearance, 180 mm to be precise and that is nearly a figure flaunted by SUVs. However, adding to its appeal are the bulging wheel arches and the plastic cladding which is once again reminiscent of SUVs. The only oddity in this visual remains to be the clearance between the wheels and the wells. The 155/80-R13 tyres that are offered in the Kwid look puny and something even more interesting is the fact that much like the Tata Nano, the Renault Kwid too comes with three lug nuts. At the back, the Kwid continues to get the cladding which offers a smart look and the large wrap around tail lamps add to the look. The tail gate is a large unit and the best thing remains to be the low loading lip height which is bound to aid loading cargo. The Kwid comes with a three-cylinder all aluminium engine.Step inside and the Kwid looks rather premium for its segment. First and foremost, the seats are comfortable and once seated, the driver has a good view of the road ahead. It is much like being in a compact crossover. There is ample shoulder room to allow two to sit without grazing one another. The dash ahead is kept compact yet functional. The instrument console is an all digital affair which comes with a speedo, odo, trip, fuel guage and other tell tales. The display is bright and clear to the eye of the driver. Once again the all digital console helps curb costs. The centre console houses a touch screen multimedia interface. You read it right, a touch-screen console which offers audio, Bluetooth connectivity and even sat nav if you desire. The system is identical to the unit which comes in other Renaults like the Duster and the Lodgy. These are features which are yet to be seen in a car of this class. Right below the console resides the aircon controls and below that one can find controls for the front power windows. If we need to complain then we might just say that the position of these switches could have been better. The dash also offers a deep glove compartment on top as well as in the lower half. In the middle, a shelf has been created to offer quick storage. Cup holders and door pockets are also provided. At the back, two can sit in comfort. There is ample knee room and this makes things brilliant. However, squeezing in a third would be a task. Rear passengers have also got to make do with manual window winders instead of electrically operated units. The boot once again is one of the best in the class. There is no intrusion which can eat up stowage capacity and this helps it score more points. Surely the rear seat can be folded to increase luggage carrying capacity. The touch-screen unit (below) can be loaded with sat nav as well.Under the bonnet of the new Kwid will reside a brand new engine. Renault remains tight lipped on the engine specifications but what we know is that the car will be powered by an all-aluminium, three-cylinder, 800cc petrol engine. It is a four-valve unit with dual overhead cams (DOHC which is simply more modern than expected. The engine will be mated to a 5-speed manual which will ensure optimum fuel efficiency which will be a prominent selling point in India. We also hear a second engine option will be offered later on and that will come with an optional auto transmission. Last but not the least, the factor which will be a clincher for the Kwid is the price. Renault has already announced a price range of Rs 3 to 4 lakh and that makes it phenomenal value for money. A small car which will create a new segment in form of a pseudo compact crossover. Now all that remains to see is how the Kwid actually fairs on Indian roads. Stay tuned.advertisementadvertisementlast_img