The all-new Renault Kwid launched in India at an introductory price of Rs. 2.56 lakh onward. Since then, the Kwid has been the big news of the auto industry. There is talk in the auto world of the Renault Kwid being sold at a loss in order to compete with Maruti Suzuki's popular Alto. This could mean—the Kwid isn't just another ordinary car for the A-segment.
The A-segment is a classification of cars, which comprises mini cars priced below Rs. 4 lakh in the Indian market; cars such as Maruti Alto, Chevrolet Spark, Tata Nano, Hyundai Eon, and Datsun GO make up this segment. The mini car segment accounts for 25 per cent of the total car sales volume in India.
The secret behind the smart pricing of the Renault Kwid is its localisation. About 98% of the Kwid is localised and manufactured at the Renault-Nissan alliance plant in Chennai. This makes the Kwid the highest localised car by an auto manufacturer in India, at the time of launch. Renault has invested a massive Rs. 3000 crore for the development of the Kwid. However hefty the investment, it remains to be seen whether the Kwid will be welcomed by Indian customers. Another cliffhanger of a question asks if Renault has offered enough on the Kwid, to earn the title of the "best entry-level hatchback" in India.
The Kwid is a city car, which is based on the Renault-Nissan's CMF-A platform. CMF stands for Common Module Family and CMF-A represents the smallest and most affordable category of vehicles in the family. The Kwid's SUV-inspired Renault Duster-like design was rendered at Renault's design studios in Mumbai and Chennai and is targeted at the younger generation.
This design offers a high driving position and greater visibility, making it ideal for driving through the increasing traffic congestions on Indian roads. The chain-link-like structured grille, headlamps, coupled with the turn indicators; stylish fog lamps, and integrated roof spoiler makes the Kwid the best-looking kid in class.
At this compelling price point, we expected interiors with high cost cutting efforts; however, the Kwid's interior is just as impressive as its exterior styling. The interior is well laid out without neglecting everyday needs such as, a four-way adjustable driver seat, smart storage spaces like the centre console with bottle holders, a three-tiered glove box, and a power socket to charge your phone. The front seats are well bolstered, and there is ample front leg room and rear knee room. The rear bench has a good reclining angle and can seat three average-built Indians.
The dashboard is thankfully uncluttered. The centrally positioned MediaNAV system with a first-in-class seven-inch touchscreen display (derived from the Duster) provides the Kwid with a sophisticated edge. Such features are usually only associated with high-end segment cars. On the flipside, cost cutting is quite evident with the non-retractable seat belts, the absence of power windows (rear), the centre-mounted front window switches, and a tacky glove box. Despite these niggling little details, overall, at this price point, the Kwid's interior is comfortable and convenient.
Engine & Gearbox
The standard engine, an 800cc, three-cylinder, 12-valve all-aluminium petrol engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The SCe (Smart Control Efficiency) engine has been specially developed for the Kwid. For now, only this engine combination is on offer; however, the Kwid will soon get an automatic transmission, and maybe an AMT (automated manual transmission) variant as well. Stay tuned to Drivespark for updates on when that is made available.
Mileage & Drivability
The Kwid weighs only 669kg and at a length of 3,679mm, width of 1,579mm and height of 1,478mm, this hatchback is taller, longer and wider than its competition. These dimensions and vehicle weight makes the Kwid a good drivable car.
The power-to-weight-ratio is about 84hp/ tonne, and an efficient throttle response at lower speeds along with light steering makes the Kwid a fun car to drive. Even though the Kwid has a tall ride height and skinny 13-inch wheels, the body roll is well under control. The power delivery is smooth and linear, and the handling is fit for quick urban driving. On the highway though, the Kwid is quite a lazy bone.
The clutch pedal is light and gearbox shifts are smooth at lower speeds; however, we think it needs a bit more assistance during some spirited driving. The braking and suspension are satisfactory and it soaks up potholes rather well. On the mileage front, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) mileage figure is 25.17 km/l, which makes it the most fuel-efficient petrol car in the country today.
Safety has always been a point of debate with car buyers. While some complain of not enough safety options, others concern themselves with other features more. Renault has addressed the safety aspect by providing an optional driver airbag on the top-end (RXT) trim. The Kwid is designed for the world market—Brazil and Europe. The car has been built and developed to meet current and future Indian crash test regulations.
Pricing and models
Entry-level variant of the all-new Kwid is available at an introductory price of INR 2.56 lakh ex-showroom (Delhi). The variants are available for booking across four trims (STD, RXE, RXL, and RXT) with a standard engine and five colours.
– Roomy interior
– Fuel-efficient engine
– Remote keyless entry
– Excellent road presence
– Driver airbag in RXT variant
– Good exterior/interior styling
– Ground clearance of 180mm
– Warranty* 2 years/ 50,000 km
– Best-in-class ride and handling
– Best-in-class boot space (300-litre)
– First-in-class seven-inch touchscreen display
– On-board trip computer (provides information such as fuel consumption, distance to empty and more)
*Warranty can be extended to 3 years/ 60,000 km or 4 years/ 80,000 km.
– Plastic wing mirrors
– Absence of a tachometer (RPM gauge)
– Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) in lower gears
– Absence of steering wheel rake adjustment on the top-end model
Bottom Line—Will the Kwid "Drive the Change" for Renault India?
Renault India has recorded a worrying 52% decline in the August 2015 sales. This decline is despite a 3.3% increase in the passenger vehicle sales. Renault's new Kwid on the block could just be what the doctor ordered to ward off challenges from Maruti and Hyundai. For us, the Kwid is modernistic, innovative, affordable, and trumps the Maruti Alto 800 on all counts. India, my darling, what is your take?
The Renault Kwid captured in pictures: