A new car launch in the country always gets us talking, but even more so when the product is accessible to a large majority of our middle-class population. That's why the much-hyped launch of Renault's new entry level offering, the Kwid, is a very important one for Renault-Nissan, as it signals their entry into Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai tarmac.
We put together a list of five things you should know about the new Renault Kwid crossover, that should paint a clearer picture as to whether this car actually has the potential to be a game changer or not.
1. A Fiat Panda for India...
That Renault has cleverly stayed away from calling the Kwid a hatchback, to differentiate it from its competition immediately, could be a very wise move. The Fiat Panda has sold over 10 million units across the globe since its inception, so maybe the Indian buyer too, might like something that stands out from the traditional breed of small hatchbacks. Maybe Fiat will feel like they missed a trick if the Kwid does actually succeed...
2. ...or A GLA-Class for the middle class?
There's no doubting it, the SUV-inspired styling of the Kwid crossover is very unique, with no other car in the segment offering a raised stance such as this. The lines of the profile do resemble the Mercedes-Benz's GLA-Class ever so slightly, especially those rear haunches, don't you feel?
3. Will the styling be suited to India?
This only time will tell, but we feel it might be a typical case of new car infatuation with the Renault Kwid's SUV-inspired design. Our favourite features are the brilliant-looking grille and face. But kudos to Renault for a fresh take on entry-level cars for India, since this is where the majority of the action should actually happen. Downside? The tyres do look rather small in their wheel wells, and are a bit too skinny as well. But the Kwid should be a winner when it comes to the interior, however, as it is ages ahead of its competition in this regard.
4. So where does the car score?
Firstly, the Kwid features ground clearance of 180 mm, the same as a Mahindra Bolero, so that's obviously good news for our roads. Next, the car stands out in its segment because of its original crossover styling, which should get buyers interested, at least initially. Thirdly, the interior is going to be where buyers will spend all their time, so kudos to Renault for getting the cabin right. Lastly, a starting price of around INR 3 lakh is going to get the country checking it out closely, regardless of whether they actually buy it.
5. Game changer material?
It's not likely, given Maruti Suzuki's dominance of the all-important after sales service network, which is a huge factor for car buyers in the country, especially in this segment. After all, Renault plans to have 205 sales and service facilities operational by end-2015, but Maruti Suzuki already has over 900 dealerships and more than 3,000 service stations around the country!