Renault KWID is an entirely made in India product so much so that the company has time again reiterated the fact that this small hatch comprises of 98 percent localization. This is in fact great news as one can expect it to be priced between INR 3 – 5 lakhs ex-showroom. Having said that, pricing is not the only determinant out here that makes the KWID an interesting proposition there are whole number of factors that make this car standout against segment leaders like Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon.
KWID as most of us would know is a thinking interpretation of Renault and Nissan put together under their global technical partnership. What this means is that both companies have contributed their expertise to come up this radical looking product. With its SUV like features, the Renault KWID is the first of its kind in this competitive segment, meaning that there was nothing like it till now in terms of design. Therefore this small car from the French manufacturer features short front and rear overhangs along with a high ground clearance, which is in fact being projected as its biggest USP.
Head-on, its front end provides a bold structured grille with Renault’s Diamond logo sitting right in the middle that forms the centre of attraction. Following in line are the smoked headlamp clusters that feature C-shaped chrome trim giving it that distinctive look. Fog lamps having black plastic surrounds look good, it’s heavily worked upon bumper contributes to the muscular appeal of the vehicle along with the sculpted hood which adds character.
Side profile for that matter offers rectangular black plastic cladding over wheel arches with a curvaceous body design. Short but significant crease with rubber padding on the front and rear door add substance to the overall appeal of this hatch. Availability of a chrome badge located on the rear window sills is a very innovative feature added to KWID by Renault. While the rear caters to a sloping tailgate which provides a large windscreen followed by a sculpted middle portion and black finish plastic bumper. Completing the look is a pair of elegant looking tail lights that blend perfectly into the design.
Similar to its exterior, the interiors offer some interesting design elements. To begin, the cabin offers dual tone interior. The horizontal dashboard with uncluttered lines looks quite elegant as it features a Piano Black finish centre console comprising of an 18 inch touch screen MediaNAV multimedia and navigation system. First in class, this system offers functions such as an USB port, Aux-In, voice guidance for navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming along with hands free telephony. Right below are circular air-conditioning vents with chrome surround, which are made up of good quality plastic. One must say that while being in use at no point they feel twitchy unlike others in its class. Moving down, there are switches for the front power windows, hazard light and central locking. Though personally, location for the power windows does seem a bit odd and take a bit of time getting used to.
Described as highly innovative, the digital instrument cluster is worth giving attention as it provides important information such as average speed, fuel consumption, gear shift indicator, distance to empty among others. As users, we all like to keep our knick-knacks here and there for which the KWID has a whole lot of options for you. These include 3 dedicated glove compartments, a centre console comprising of bottle holders, floor and door side console all come in handy. This is not all; Renault KWID has a boot space of 300 litres, which is quite impressive for a car of its size which can be doubled up to 1115 litres with the rear row folded down. There is also a power socket on the offer which can be used for charging phones and other devices.
Rest, the fabric seats provided herein are well textured not dismissing the fact that they are really comfortable be it in the front or at the rear. A surprising point out here is that the KWID is not short on space as the leg room is more than sufficient in both sections as is the head and shoulder room due to its tall design. One negative aspect for rear occupants is that there are no power windows and even with the manual setting they do not fully roll down. For safety, Renault is providing a driver side airbag which is optional.
Performance and Handling
Like competition, Renault KWID is powered by a 0.8 litre, 3 cylinder petrol engine that produces a maximum power output of 54 PS @5678rpm while peak torque stands at 72Nm @4386rpm. We must mention that this 799cc engine is well equipped with decent amounts of power to be able to adapt its self to Indian driving conditions. The KWID feels fairly light to drive courtesy its electric power steering which is perfectly suitable for city to make those swift manoeuvre’s within traffic. As for the highway, the linear pick ensures that this machine is worthy nevertheless. Unlike the segment leader Alto 800, the KWID is well insulated when it comes to the NVH levels that are minimal in this hatch.
Mated to a 5 speed manual transmission, the gearbox on this particular vehicle is very smooth. In fact, decent shifts ensure a good driving experience for end user. Built on the CMF-A platform, the ride quality is very good as the KWID eats up potholes and broken roads with utter ease. Looking back, when compared with the Alto 800 its suspension setup comprising of Mac Pherson Strut with lower transverse link in the front and Twist beam suspension with coil spring at the fear ensure that there is no sign of shudder that could disturb the occupants which in our views is a very good quality of the KWID.
Furthermore, with a ground clearance of 180mm, the hatch can do a fair amount of off-roading especially when taken into account the rural use of such entry level vehicles in a country like ours. Its 13 inch rims with section 155/80 rubber have decent grip at lower speeds; however, when on the higher side it does feel a bit choppy. The brakes on this hatch are a bit too soft for our liking.
Yet to be officially launched, the Renault KWID with its SUV like features is definitely a fresh product for the entry level customer. The all important price still remains the key element out here for selection. Rest exterior design is what would attract many towards it, while interior features are to be pampered from within. Its 0.8 litre engine feels impressive as it offer ample amount of power especially for city use. In a price conscious market like India, the KWID stands to provide a fuel economy of 25.17 kmpl, which is another big selling proposition of this small hatch. That brings us to our initial question at the starting of this review; the Renault is definitely going to shake up the competition in its segment.