Renault Kwid Hatchback First Drive

Renault Kwid Overview

Renault surely knows how to keep their customers entertained. The French Automaker launched their entry level product KWID almost two years ago in India and to celebrate its second anniversary they have introduced yet another special edition variant based on the same hatchback. Now the reason why we are calling yet another variant is that there are plenty of Renault variants available in India already. However, this new edition joins the long list of KWID hatchback again.

Check for Renault Kwid On Road Price in Gurgaon

Called the KWID 02 Anniversary Special Edition. This particular edition as usual and expected comes with plenty of cosmetic updates to its exterior as well as interior. Unfortunately just like every other special edition cars available in India the KWID 02 anniversary edition does not get any mechanical changes under the hood. However, it is available with both with 0.8-Litre & 1.0-Litre variants but only with the RXL and RXT trims. Request a test drive for Kwid in Tryaldrive

Renault Kwid Exterior & Style

The rectangular proportions of the Kwid’s front make it look like a SUV. The fairly straight slab of the bonnet, the headlamp design, the squared-off wheel arches and stalked door mirrors accentuate the sports utility appeal of the Kwid. But, step over to the side and the character of the Kwid seems to transform a bit. Though the windscreen is steeply raked and crossover-like, the roofline slopes sharply towards the rear and suddenly it seems to be looking more like a hatch. In fact, when viewed from the rear, the Kwid looks like a small hatch with a raised stance. Right after the B-pillar, the SUV styling melts away.

The raised shoulder-line which rises rapidly right past the B-pillar, the narrow rear glass and the steeply raked windscreen at the front, all point to a fairly restricted green house. This doesn’t seem to restrict the amount of light that seeps into the cabin, though we certainly thought that the visibility for the driver could have been better.

The Kwid is also smaller in the flesh than it seems be when you look at a brochure or a photograph. However, it still has some segment-leading dimensions. Its wheelbase (at 2,422mm) is the longest in the segment and its boot volume is the highest at 300 litres. Weighing in at just about 660 kgs, the Kwid is also one of the lightest cars in the market. Active light-weighting, without sacrificing structural integrity seems to have been one of the focuses while the Kwid was being developed.

Renault Kwid Interior & Space

Think of the interior updates as an attempt by Renault to polish off all the tiny rough edges. In other words, they are not extensive. That said, the brand has added quite a few noteworthy features across the variants that we totally approve of. For starters, all variants now come with emergency locking retractor (ELR) for the rear seatbelts. It allows the belt to freely extend and retract with occupant movement, yet locks the belt instantly in the event of a crash. Secondly, the AMT and RXT(O) variants also get a 12 volt charging socket and more importantly, a rear parking camera with display integrated into the existing touchscreen system. Meanwhile, the mid-level RXL now gets front power windows and remote central locking as standard.

The dash design and layout of materials has been carried over from the old car which is not a bad thing at all. Sure, you are seated in a sea of black and grey plastics but the thing is, most of the controls are hardwearing and feel solid to operate. I wish I could say the same for the air vents and the boot/fuel release which feel quite low rent. Thankfully, this AMT variant gets contrasting red inserts for the seat backrests and piano finish for the centre console which do their bit in lifting up the overall ambience.

Seat comfort up front is impressive for a car of this size, with adequate bolstering and back support. Overall you wouldn’t feel as helmed in as you would sitting in a Maruti Alto K10 or the Datsun redi-GO. Thanks to the class-leading 2422mm of wheelbase, even the nearly flat rear bench is comfortable with good amount of leg room and thigh support. However, it’s only comfortable for two adults – adding a third occupant in the rear in this narrow cabin is best avoided.

Renault Kwid Engine & Gearbox

There are obvious hints in the Kwid which show Renault recognises that part of the strategy in this segment is playing a mind-game. But, we wonder if the choice of a 800cc engine was also one that was influenced by this market reality. But eitherways, with the “Kitna Deti Hai?” question being a constant, it is good to note that the Kwid’s 799cc petrol engine is the most frugal in the segment. This three-cylinder engine is not as refined as the one’s in cars one segment above, but when compared to the Alto 800 or the Hyundai Eon, it is about very similar in idling character. Cabin noise levels are fairly well contained, though we felt vibration levels could have been lower. The test mule we drove was a pre-production model; hopefully the final versions will be better insulated.

The engine itself is a fairly peppy unit, for its size. Generating 54PS of peak power, and 74Nm of torque, the engine delivers much of this at lower rpm levels, though the peaks are hit closer to 5,000rpm. But, its ability to respond quickly to driver inputs seems to be affected by the throttle mapping. Overall, the focus seems to have been to squeeze the most fuel efficiency from the powertrain. Speaking of which, the engine is paired to a 5-speed gearbox. Shift quality is good and there is none of the rubbery feel that some of the other cars in the segment have.

Renault Kwid Ride & Handling

Despite its lack of grunt or a manual override, the Kwid feels comfortable on the highway as well. The featherweight Renault, in fact, has no trouble hitting triple digit speeds – it took 16.5 seconds to complete the 0-100kmph sprint and 8.8 and 12.4 seconds for the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph in gear respectively. In terms of handling, the Kwid retains its light steering feel (good for puttering around town) but there is more body roll than what’s expected and the steering itself is devoid of feel. However, when it comes to tackling bad roads, the little Renault is hard to fault. The long travel suspension that otherwise makes the Kwid lean into the corners allows it to maintain composure over pothole-riddled roads. Sure, the ride quality is slightly bouncy under full load, it is still impressive overall and like the Duster, the Kwid tackles bad roads with relative ease, especially for a car of this size.

Renault Kwid Safety & Security

In a bid to make it safer, Renault has added more safety features to the hatchback. It now gets updated seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters for the rear seats. Airbags, engine immobilizer and central locking have been retained.

Renault Kwid Price in Bangalore

Renault Kwid Ex-Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 2,68,606/- (Kwid STD) to 4,66,299/- (Kwid RXT 1.0 O Superhero Edition AMT). Get best offers for Renault Kwid from Renault Dealers in Bangalore. Check for Kwid price in Bangalore at carzprice

Renault Kwid Bottomline

So, is the 2018 Kwid AMT a great buy? Certainly. It’s worth a look if you are after a small, easy to drive automatic hatchback that has a touch of flair about it. All in all, with these updates, it’s an almost flawless city runabout – the steering is light, the AMT is relatively smooth, all-round visibility is excellent and there is enough space for a small family. More importantly, with the creep function and a rear-view camera, it’s also easy to drive and park and that’s all you really want from a car like this.