The first impression when you get inside the Kwid is that you don't feel this is an entry-level compact car. It feels like a much bigger car. The plastics feel all right. Not great, but better than what you'd expect at this price. It's got features that no other car in the segment offers; a multimedia system with SAT Navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, front power windows, on-board trip computer, and a gear shift indicator. Space is unlike anything you would have witnessed in this segment. The front seats are pretty comfortable, and at the rear, there's ample leg space, too. The rear seats lack under-thigh support, though. The boot, at 300 litres, is the biggest amongst all small cars. In fact, it's even bigger than the i20's. There are plenty of cubbyholes - you get two glove boxes, big door pockets and enough space in the center console.
Under the hood, the Renault Kwid houses a brand new 800cc, three-cylinder engine. As you start it up, you do notice that the idle is a little lumpy. However, when it gets going, the refinements levels are very good. After all, it has four valves per cylinder - and hence it's free of any thrum or vibration associated with three-cylinder motors. At 660 kgs, it’s also impressively light. However, it does feel a little defeated when you come up against even the smallest incline. This is when you feel that the 53bhp of power and 72Nm of torque are inadequate - even though it is a small car. However, it is very impressive in the ride-and-handling department, while offering good high-speed stability.
The Kwid rides well. Renault has taken into account horrible Indian road conditions and set up the car rather well. Potholes are tackled with ease and bumps are filtered out well, unless they're really deep ones. The rear suspension is softly-sprung. The downside of the soft suspension and high ground clearance of 180mm is the body roll. There's plenty of it, more than what you'd expect from a car this size. The steering is ultra-light. That helps manoeuvre it through tight city spaces and while parking, but when you're doing highway speeds, you need to keep correcting it constantly. It gets a bit tiring. That said, at higher speeds, the Kwid feels much more stable than the Alto.
The Kwid is a nice-looking thing. The SUV-inspired design and overall styling makes you want it more than the Alto or the Eon. Sharp creases on the hood give it a muscular look. The cladding along the sides and around the back reinforces that appearance. Renault will go extremely aggressive on the pricing. For all the SUV-like styling, all the features and a new engine and platform, the car you see here, in its top spec, will cost ₹3.53 Lakhs. And, if you opt for the base variant, it'll be yours for just ₹2.57 Lakhs. That's great value for your buck. The only thing that you would be thinking is that the Kwid could do with is ABS on the top-end, and the brakes can do with a bit more bite. But overall, it's brilliant and a real bargain.
Small cars sell and the Kwid is the best in its segment and with some notable features, it delivers an excellent package.
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