French car maker Renault is all prepared to launch its brand new Kwid compact hatchback in India. The Indian small car market is really difficult, as competition is intense in this space and it is highly dominated by Maruti Suzuki, the car leader of the Indian market and the small car specialist. Thus, it is almost unimaginable to even reach close to the success of Maruti Suzuki Alto brand in India. Nevertheless, Hyundai Eon is quite a good seller and Nissan’s Datsun Go is also doing quite well in the entry level hatchback segment in India, and Renault is braced up to give it a shot as well.
Renault has established its brand name in India primarily with the very successful Duster compact SUV model. Now, the French car maker is looking to set a firmer hold on the Indian market and it is contemplating to do so with the small hatch Renault Kwid which will be aimed at a wider audience with its affordable pricing.
The new soon to launch Renault Kwid is an entirely new entry-level hatchback that has been built from scratch based on a new CMF-A (Common Module Family: 4+1 Big Modules) platform. And the primary attraction is its unique visual appeal, which Renault itself terms as ‘SUV-like’.
Renault has been contemplating venturing into the small car segment of India for quite some time and was pondering over the idea of developing a car in partnership with Indian manufacturer, Bajaj. While that wasn’t fruition, Japanese car maker Nissan which has an alliance with Renault launched its low-cost Datsun Go hatchback in India. So, the company might have already learnt a few essential things from the Go’s development before building its Kwid.
The most striking feature of the Renault Kwid is definitely a SUV like design language which is really a great thing for the mini hatchback segment. The Kwid is also built keeping the Indian roads and conditions fully in mind and 80 percent of the engineering and development of the car was done by Indian engineers at Renault. The car also has an amazing localization level of 98 percent. Thus, the Renault Kwid is clearly an India specific car to meet the requirements of the Indian buyers. Renault official pointed out that the car could have all the bells and whistles, but the company’s aim was to roll out an affordable car in the price range of Rs. 3-4 lakhs. The actual price range will be known once the car launches in India. I assume it should start somewhere near Rs 3.15 lakh (ex-showroom).
We had a chance of driving the new Renault Kwid and here’s our first impression of the brand new compact hatchback:
In terms of exterior appearance, the new Renault Kwid is surely a looker with its smart design that makes a statement. Its SUV like visual appeal surely gets you a good road presence. Although it’s really a compact hatchback, it has a large car look and going with its SUV stance it also has the best in class ground clearance of 180 mm which is an amazing thing. Together with a wide front grille and side cladding, the Kwid boasts of an imposing stance. The car is measured at 3679 (L) x 1579 (W) x 1478 (H) mm and best in class wheelbase at 2422 mm.
The Renault Kwid gets a neat cabin design with a straightforward looking digital instrumental cluster. The car gets a gear shift indicator via a small arrow mark instead of a tachometer. The overall feel is neat, and easy to read with stylish chrome on the contour. On the top model, the center console is dominated by a 7 inch touchscreen integrated infotainment system that comes with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, which is another first in segment feature along with many other good features.
The Renault Kwid carries few things which are outstanding including 3 separate storage department to keep your things upfront towards co-passengers seats which is a welcome feature. It can also hold two bottles in front of the gear lever and mobile or a wallet below it. Not only that, you also have bottle holders on the each front doors. One thing we didn’t like was the gap on the upper storage box which you can clearly see in the above picture, Its just a quick fix for Renault to do it before the actual deliveries happen. Overall storage – No Problem, Renault covered it.
The Rear seats are very comfortable, soft and neat and felt very good even I never felt discomfort for a second even after we did a 50 kms long stretch. The leg room and headroom are decent enough, though I am not sure about the comfort level of a 6′ occupant, but it is overall good for average Indian height.
The Kwid gets comfortable seating arrangement with good space and headroom. It does not only impress us with its 300 liter boot space for a small car that makes the Kwid an overall good package but also better specs compared to all other cars in the segment. Bravo Renault!
Engine & Transmission
Under the hood, the new Renault Kwid compact hatchback packs in a brand new 800 cc, 3 cylinder petrol motor, which offers 53 bhp of max power and 72 Nm of peak torque. During the drive, I couldn’t expect more than this, its smooth, slightly noisy, and gets you climb in steep when you are over a certain RPM with ease. The engine is paired to a 5 speed manual transmission gearbox and it isn’t vibrating which is a good thing and very easy to shift gears at all times.
The Renault Kwid has a claimed fuel efficiency of 25.17 km per liter, which will make it the most fuel efficient petrol car in India. Renault could achieve such great fuel efficiency for the car owing to its light weight and excellent ride and handling capabilities. We will get you the actual figure during our Road Test and Review.
Performance, Ride & Handling
To begin with the power and torque figures feel inadequate even for a small car. The moment we started it the idle felt a bit clumsy. However, things get better after driving it a bit and the engine does feel pretty refined from there on. The engine’s four valves per cylinder makes it more refined and vibration free as compared to similar engines. The Kwid is impressively light weighing just 660 kgs making it a decent performer. However, the car has cannot handle even small inclines proficiently when you are at lower RPMs that is the one thing we felt frustrating.
When it comes to ride and handling the Renault Kwid clearly inherits the company DNA. The small hatch is indeed very impressive in terms of ride and handling and can charm with its handling proficiency. The car also offers good stability even on high speed levels.
The Kwid can impress with its rough road handling efficiency and does feel like a mini SUV with its great comfort and handling even on off-roads. This is surely one of the greatest advantages of this compact hatchback. The high ground clearance allowed us to take on some rough, rocky, smooth and dusty roads and even on undulating terrain, the car’s body control is really good, making it a dependable car a.k.a A Perfect Family Car.
The Renault Kwid surely gets full marks for its excellent ride and handling as well as stability.
When it comes to the Indian cars, safety is one aspect that is more often than not completely overlooked. However, the Renault Kwid is designed for the global car market, and has been engineered to cater to the most important safety requirements that are mandated in the markets like Brazil and even some European countries. The Kwid thus, get a sturdy body structure.
While for the international markets, the car will get added safety features, for the Indian market the Kwid only offers sturdy seatbelts and an engine immobilizer, while a driver’s side airbag is offered only on the top of the range model that too as an optional feature.
Colors & Trims:
Renault Kwid will be rolled out with 5 amazing colors – Outback Bronze, Moonlight Silver, Planet Grey, Ice Cool White, and Fiery Red. It will carry 4 trim levels including STD, RXE, RXL and RXT.
The Kwid small car will get 2 Years / 50000 Km warranty, 2 years, Paint & Anti Corrosion warranty included and Unique to Segment Road Side Assistance for 2 years.
Uniqueness about Kwid:
Renault is bringing 60 accessories via 6 exciting packs includes Essential Pack, Basic Pack, Outdoor Pack, Smart Choice, Luxury Pack and Intense chrome.
The list doesn’t end here, as the new Kwid also comes with 25 lifestyle decals for the Kwid which is something first of its kind to make it unique.
The new French compact hatchback surely has high potential of becoming a good success in the Indian car market. The Renault Kwid’s greatest attractions are its distinct design on both Exteriors and Interiors, comfort at both front and rear seats, top mileage and superb ride and handling, which should allure many buyers.