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Vikrant Singh Vikrant Singh Thursday 28 Jul 2016, 9:32 AM

Introduction

These are the facts. The DatsunRedigo and the Renault Kwidare essentially the same car. They employ the same platform (CMF-A), use the same underpinnings down to the brakes, tyres and suspension, and are powered by the same engine and gearbox combo. But, of course, they look completely different. And, in fact, have unique interiors as well. The Kwid, however, is the more expensive outcome.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

So, which one should you settle for if you are looking to buy your first car? Or in fact, the second car in the household? To find out, we have the top of the line versions of both and to give you a better idea of their visual presence, in almost the same colour as well. The Datsun Redigo in the S trim is priced at Rs 4.22 lakh while the Renault Kwid RXT (O) retails for Rs 4.65 lakh, both on the road in Mumbai.

Exterior

Park the two side by side and it’s clear that the Kwid is the larger car. The Renault Kwid sits on a longer wheelbase and is longer and wider as well. The Datsun Redigo meanwhile is taller and has higher ground clearance. Now, even though both these are entry-level small cars, neither companies have scrimped on design.

The Kwid took us by surprise with its SUV like overtones when it was launched almost a year back; also one of the reasons it is selling so well. The body cladding, the squared off edges and the buff front end, all point you in that direction. The only downside to the Kwid's design is its wheel size; these look at least two sizes down.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

The Datsun fills out its wheel arches beautifully. But, its approach to attracting eyeballs is more tallboy than SUV. From what we can tell, it wants to be the new flag bearer among tall boys. It is a polarising design however and many might find the Datsun too busy in visual terms, the overtly sculpted bumper and the strong waistline (which almost looks like a dent) in particular. But then, it is this standout design that’s actually helping the Redigo get noticed.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

Interior

It's inside where the difference in pricing of the cars becomes obvious. And not just in terms of equipment but the attention to detail and the overall convenience.

The Renault Kwid has more stuff – a touchscreen audio with USB, AUX and Bluetooth telephony, satellite navigation, central locking, keyless entry and a fancier instrumentation with a trip computer and gearshift indicator. The Redigo gets a trip computer and a shift indicator as well, but in a more boring looking cluster. Ditto for the audio system. It looks dull and though it has USB and AUX, there's no touchscreen, Bluetooth or satnav. Also a big omission on the Datsun is central locking.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

What's more, the Kwid has a friendlier cabin. The Renault has large front door pockets good enough to hold a bottle; it gets two gloveboxes; and there's some open storage on the dash as well as part of the central tunnel. The Redigo's door pockets are a joke and the glovebox isn’t great on storage either. But, like the Kwid, the Datsun too gets a couple of cup holders and some stowage as part of the central tunnel.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

Seating, however, is a big plus on the Redigo. It has a better driving positing and nicer seats at the front. It is also easier to get in and out of and clearly has more headroom at the back. The rear seat design is good as well, but it's the lack of rear seat firmness that left us wanting. The Kwid on the other hand has better knee room and of course a much better boot both in terms of space and accessibility. And unlike the Datsun’s bootlid, the Kwid’s boot can be opened via a key from the outside as well.

Ah, and if you are wondering about the quality and fit and finish of the two cars, well, they are mostly on par. Only, the Kwid feels slightly plusher since it has less exposed metal on the inside.

Performance

Not surprisingly, the Datsun Redigo and the Renault Kwid are pretty similar on the performance front. They, of course, use the same engine and gearbox, and in exactly the same state of tune. The engine is a 3-cylinder, 799cc petrol unit that makes 54bhp and 72Nm of peak torque and it is mated to a 5-speed, slick shifting ‘box. Both cars have light to use clutch pedals too.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

Now, given the output figures, the engine won’t help either car win any drag races or NVH contests for that matter. But, it does give the Kwid and Redigo reasonable driveability around town. One can short shift and keep puttering around the city in third gear at 40kmph with enough pull to make gaps and come up ahead of traffic when need be. Our only issue here is with fuelling. It is a little abrupt at low revs.

With a VBOX strapped, there’s a hint of difference in acceleration and driveability times of the two cars. And surprisingly, it is the lighter Redigo which proves slower of the two. The Datsun takes 19.01 seconds to complete the 0-100kmph run while the Kwid did it in 17.93 seconds. The difference in the 20-80kmph roll-on test in 3rdgear was less noticeable with the Redigo completing it in 17.98 seconds against the Kwid’s 17.08s.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

The difference did rise to around 4 seconds in the 40-100kmph run proving the Kwid is a little more competent in handling overtakes on the highway. As far as braking goes, the Redigo takes lesser distance to come to stop courtesy its lighter weight would be our guess. But, the brake feel and bite on the Datsun was far worse than on the Kwid. On the road, the Redigo needed 32.22 metres to come to a complete stop from 80kmph while the Kwid did it in 34.99 metres.

There’s another telling difference between the two cars. The Kwid is better insulated. So, be it wind, engine or road noise, the Kwid’s cabin is quieter and less tiring to spend long hours in. It also feels plusher on the ride front as a result, though honestly, there’s no real difference in absolute terms. Both cars handle potholes and bumps at slow speeds well and apart from a slight jiggle over broken tarmac, the ride is difficult to fault on either.

These make for easy city runabouts as well with their light steering and small dimensions. Visibility though is an issue on both, especially the rear three quarters courtesy chunky C-pillars. The Kwid and the Redigo aren’t very happy doing three digit speeds on highways either, these feel twitchy and a bit flighty. But, show them a tight section of corners and apart from some roll, these are good fun. The Redigo a little more so thanks to its shorter wheelbase resulting in a pointier front end.

Conclusion

There is a Rs 40,000 price difference between the top of the line trims of the Datsun Redigo and the Renault Kwid. This difference gets you a quieter cabin, more equipment and crucially, central locking with keyless entry. It also gets you a car that has more road presence. But, of course, there’s very little difference in they way they drive or their real world performance or even fuel efficiency (the Redigo returned 14.1kmpl against the Kwid’s figure of 14.0kmpl in the city). Plus, there’s a waiting on the Kwid. Even so, we’d put our money on the Renault Kwid; it just is more car for the money.

Datsun Redigo vs Renault Kwid: Comparison Test
Datsun Redigo petrol vs Renault Kwid petrol

Pictures: Kapil Angane