Renault’s most popular car, the Kwid, has completed just over two months in our garage and covered over 6,000kms in the meantime. In this report, we evaluate the Kwid for its in-city traffic driving abilities and here is what we have to say.
Yes, it has a lot more space than the Alto, both inside the cabin as well as in the boot. The seating is also quite comfortable and it gets more features than any of its competitors for a lower price. The dark interior and the touchscreen display catch your attention. Also, when you sit inside the Kwid, it does feel premium.
When you key the starter, the Kwid comes to life with the typical three-cylinder coarse thrum. And the premium feeling ends when you slot it in first and leave the clutch. The Kwid labours off the blocks as the engine becomes vocal as you rev it for more bite. It is not that the engine does not have power. It is a 1.0-litre mill. But the power is generated higher up the rev range, somewhere you rarely reach in bumper to bumper traffic. Which means you have to ride the clutch more often than not and it does take a toll on it in the longer run. By now, the Kwid has started refusing to shift from first gear when you start off in the morning, easing out gradually as the day progresses. Even sending the car for servicing hasn’t been able to rectify this problem, which implies that it is a bigger issue.
The front window glasses had started rattling after my highway trip and the roads were certainly not very bad. For a car that aims to replace the Altos, the build quality has to be robust and Renault cannot afford to lose out on it as these car buyers look for longevity over everything. Also, mechanical issues for a 10,000km run car is quite a bummer.
Even the infotainment system refuses to detect your paired smartphone once a while. You have to delete your phone from the system and repair it for it to work. The in-car microphone adds noise when you turn up the call-volume to hear what the person on the other side wants to say. I agree that this is a budget car and I should not be expecting much, but then, when a manufacturer wants to make headway in the most coveted segment in the market, it has to excel at everything.
On the brighter side, the suspension is nice and offers a good ride on all kinds of roads. You still have to be careful on the towering speed-humps that our authorities throw in at us but you can’t hold that against the Kwid. Also, its SUV-ish looks are a clear favourite and will age well with time. Finding service in urban areas is fairly easy but for tier III cities and rural areas, service penetration is quite limited.