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Renault Kwid Review: Renault Kwid 1.0 Easy-R First Drive Review

Renault Kwid 1.0 Easy-R First Drive Review

By Ameya Dandekar; 7th November, 2016
Introduction

Thanks to the cost effective goodness of an automated manual transmission (AMT), even first time buyers can experience what automatic gearshifts feel like, without burning a hole in their pocket. Following in the footsteps of the Alto, the Renault Kwid now gets this easy on your left foot system and like in the Maruti; it is available only on the more powerful 1.0-litre version of the car. This will be the last iteration of the popular Kwid, at least for a while and will be one of the most important ones too. It not only gives the Kwid a new dimension, but will also get Renault a new set of buyers who would have otherwise bought the Maruti Alto. So how good is the Kwid AMT? We took it for a drive to find out.  

Renault Kwid

 

 

Exterior

Renault Kwid

 On the outside except for the Easy-R badge, the Kwid AMT remains identical to the recently launched 1.0-litre version. So you get the familiar mini crossover stance, which makes it look distinctive and imposing. The large upright honeycomb grille, high bonnet and chunky headlamps further add to its SUV-like styling and the flared wheel arches with plastic cladding gives it a mini Duster look. The chequered 1.0 litre decals pasted across the doors distinguish it from the lower 800cc variants and the chunkier silver mirrors look upmarket (but you still don’t get internal adjustment).

Renault Kwid

Interior

 On the inside there are absolutely no changes, so you get the same minimalistic yet smartly styled dashboard. The snazzy digital instruments further add to the modern look and the large speedo display is easy to read on the move. As before the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system dominates proceedings. This system is not only unique at this price point, but it also gets features like navigation system that is unheard of even in cars that sit two segments higher. We also liked the ergonomic AC controls, which are nice and chunky, and the Aux/USB ports for the music system are conveniently placed too.

Renault Kwid

 The only difference on the inside is the lack of a gearlever. Instead, you get a rotary knob placed on the centre console next to the power window switches. In terms of the quality the Kwid’s cabin looks budget with hard but durable plastics all round and panel gaps are inconsistent too. The Renault’s cabin though is quite practical and front passengers enjoy loads of storage spaces and you also get an extra bottle holder where you would have found the gear lever otherwise.  But, at the rear there are absolutely no storage spaces except for the rear parcel tray, which is disappointing.

Renault Kwid

 Despite its diminutive size the small Renault is surprisingly spacious. Visibility out of the high mounted front seats is really good and the high bonnet gives you a feeling of being astride an SUV. The front seats are surprisingly good despite limited bolstering. But, they are perched too high up as headroom is limited especially for six foot plus drivers. The backseat is a real highlight and the generous kneeroom, long squab and well-angled backrest makes it a nice place to be in. The boot at 300 litres is humongous and it will gobble your weekend’s luggage easily.

Renault Kwid

Like the Kwid 1.0-litre, the AMT equipped car will be available in just the top RxT and RxT option variants. You get front power windows, aircon, power steering, and a touchscreen infotainment system that houses features like Navigation, Aux-in/USB ports and a radio. Where convenience equipment impresses, the safety features leaves us a bit disappointed. You just get a single driver side airbag and that’s it. We would have liked Renault to offer ABS at least as an option on the automatic variant and the rear passenger seatbelts aren’t even inertia reel type.

Renault Kwid

Performance

 The same 999cc three-cylinder unit that was launched recently in the Kwid 1.0 litre powers the AMT version of this Renault hatch. Producing a healthy 67bhp and 91Nm of torque, this engine has more than enough oomph to propel this lightweight hatch with aplomb. So how does the AMT transmission behave in real world conditions? Good for most part. Rotate gear selector knob in D mode, step on the accelerator and the Kwid moves forward in a linear manner. The hydraulic operated clutch has a smooth action as power is sent to the front wheels in a jerk-free way. On the move, there’s a distinct pause between gearshifts but not overtly so and when you’re ambling along or even cruising steadily on the highway the system stays smooth. The issues arise when you want an instant change of pace, and if you put your foot down hard, it drops gears quickly, but then immediately interrupts the power momentarily, which can leave you stranded halfway through an overtaking manoeuvre. The trick, then, is to give yourself room and gently feed in the power so that you can run through the gears smoothly.

Renault Kwid

We tested the Kwid AMT and got decent numbers. It reached 100kmph in a reasonable 16.56 seconds and even the in-gear acceleration times of 9.85 seconds for 20-80kmph and 12.42 seconds for 40-100kmph are at par or better than the Maruti Alto K10 AMT.

Renault Kwid

We had three issues related to the transmission, though. The first one is the lack of manual mode. Although you get some amount of engine braking, it is very minimal and while going downhill you miss having gear control to manage deceleration better. The fact that Renault hasn’t upgraded the brakes means we expect considerable brake fade and wear too. The second issue is the knob itself, which ideally should have turned clockwise to move forward and anti-clockwise for reverse. So, in the first few hours of driving you have to get use to the operation, as to not accidently put it in reverse, especially in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This issue is accentuated by the fact that there isn’t any warning or beep sound to tell you are in reverse. The third and most irritating issue is the lack of a creep function. This makes standstill getaways even over a slight gradient a stressful affair. Sure you can use the handbrake or left foot brake in such situation, but this defeats the whole purpose of having an automatic in the first place. Even while parking in tight spots, where you have to inch forward or back, you have to constantly play with the throttle and brake to not lunge ahead.

Renault Kwid

Thanks to the great visibility, compact size, small turning circle and light controls, the Kwid is easy to punt around in traffic. This, combined with the absorbent low-speed ride, makes the Kwid a very potent urban tool. The suspension works silently too with well controlled body movements. At higher speeds a rough patch does make the light weight Kwid a bit skittish and this nervous feeling forces you to exercise a bit more caution. When it comes to handling, driven at moderate speeds the Kwid shows good composure. But, this isn’t car to hustle around, as the vague steering and considerable body roll (Kwid doesn’t get antiroll bars) doesn’t inspire much confidence. What also affects the balance of the Kwid AMT is if there is a gearshift while you are pushing in a corner. The slow upshifts tend to push the weight to the front wheels, which in turn, make the rear of the car feel nervous.

 

Tech specs
Make Renault
Model Kwid 1.0 Easy-R
Fuel Petrol
Variant RxT Option
Engine Capacity 1.0-litre
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 67@5500
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 91@4250
Gears Five-speed automated manual (AMT)
Length mm 3679
Width mm 1579
Height mm 1478
Wheelbase mm 2422
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 28
Tyre size 155/80 R13
Features
Features  
Front power windows Yes
Power steering Yes
5-speed auto gearbox Yes
Touchscreen system Yes
Navigation system Yes
Driver-side airbag Yes
Competition
Specifications Renault
Kwid 1.0 Easy-R
Maruti Suzuki
Alto K10 AMT
Variant RxT Option Vxi (airbag)
Fuel Petrol Petrol
Engine Capacity 1.0-litre 1.0-litre
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 67@5500 67@6000
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 91@4250 90@3500
Gears Five Five
Length mm 3679 3545
Width mm 1579 1490
Height mm 1478 1475
Wheelbase mm 2422 2360
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 28 35
Tyre size 155/80 R13 155/65 R13
Conclusion

The AMT ‘box has made the Kwid a great urban tool and for a person who has never experienced a dual clutch or a torque converter before. This basic ‘auto’ gearbox is quite good thanks to its smooth shifting nature. It does have some shortcomings like the lack of a manual mode and a creep function, but on the whole, the AMT has become our choice in the Kwid line-up. It just makes the Kwid a more rounded package. With an expected price hike of around Rs 30,000 and with no penalty as far as fuel economy is concerned, the Easy-R variant is the one to go for if you are looking at buying the Kwid.

Renault Kwid


Pictures: Kapil Angane