Buying your first car, first family car – even the Americans, Koreans and Europeans could safely say that you will end up buying a Maruti Suzuki. Well, it’s not their prediction, not even science but buying a Maruti Suzuki as your first car is as true as our existence. Ok, that might have gone a bit too far, but the undisputed king of small cars, Maruti Suzuki’s name is that deep stamped and sealed in our minds. The next thing is Maruti Alto, the evergreen car which has glued itself to the number 1 slot of top selling cars in India for years now. Renault has dare to challenge the king of Indian roads and is all set to roll out its latest entrant The Kwid. This is going to be a serious competition. Forget the other competitors like the Hyundai Eon or Datsun redi-Go, the Kwid on the block can be a nightmare for Maruti. And for you, do not sign the cheque for the Alto before checking out the Kwid. You will definitely think twice after that. All the experts for once think the same. Here’s what they said.
Competition – Maruti Suzuki Alto, Hyundai Eon
The Common Factor
|TopGear||Space is unlike anything we’ve seen in this segment.|
|ZigWheels||A fairly spacious hatchback by segment standards.|
|Overdrive||Slimmer seats and a more upright H-point provide enough room.|
|NDTV||Seats are quite spacious, specially in terms of headroom.|
|Autocar||Its the most spacious car in the segment.|
|CarDekho||Lots of storage space.|
- The Kwid rides well.
- The SUV-inspired design and overall styling makes you want it more than the Alto or the Eon.
- It’s got features that no other car in the segment offers – a multimedia system with satnav, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, front power windows, on-board trip computer, and a gear shift indicator.
- Space is unlike anything we’ve seen in this segment.
- The front seats are pretty comfortable, and at the rear, there’s ample leg space, too.
- The plastics feel all right. Not great, but better than what you’d expect at this price.
- The boot, at 300 litres, is the biggest amongst all small cars. In fact, it’s even bigger than the i20’s.
- The first impression when you get inside the Kwid is that you don’t feel this is an entry-level compact car.
- At higher speeds, the Kwid feels much more stable than the Alto.
- The best in its segment. High ground clearance, responsive engine and spacious cabin make it an excellent package.
The Could Have
- The rear seats lack under-thigh support, though.
- The only thing that we think the Kwid could do with is ABS on the top-end, and the brakes can do with a bit more bite.
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- It looks much like a compact SUV with a chunky grille and flared wheel arches.
- One step into the Kwid and you already know you are getting into a fairly spacious hatchback by segment standards.
- The quality of plastics for a car of its price is quite good.
- There are plenty of storage spaces in the Kwid.
- It is also much wider than its closest competition and so you get more legroom and shoulder room.
- The Kwid’s packaging is seriously impressive.
- The top end Kwid gets the Touchscreen system offered in the Duster and Lodgy.
- You don’t feel the vibrations in the gear lever that’s an annoying feature in the Alto.
- The high ground clearance also gives excellent visibility out of the driver’s seat making it a very easy car to drive around town.
- What impressed us right away is the ride quality of this tiny hatchback.
The Could Have
- What we don’t like is that the Kwid comes with one airbag that is also on the options list, even on the top end variant.
- Suffers from lack of power high up the rev band.
- Renault should however have an ABS equipped variant in the lineup too, which is not on offer as of now.
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- The Renault Kwid has a stance which is second to none in this segment.
- Thus far it’s the cleverest and handsomest application of plastic cladding in this segment or any other.
- It’s also the most unique looking hatchback to date in a segment that really hasn’t seen much design innovation emerge.
- The dashboard is my favourite design area; simplistic, non cluttered and therefore optimising space over all else.
- Inner city running will be a breeze.
- Engine refinement too is quite impressive.
- The noise insulation is tightly controlled so you don’t really hear the engine clatter inside the cabin as a disturbance once on the move.
- Engine responses too are quick and a slick transmission with a strong power band should keep the labours of driving in urban traffic to a bare minimum.
- The electric powered steering is surprisingly quite accurate and nicely weighed.
- This hatchback has great potential to provide good value to its owner.
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- The Kwid is a brand new hatchback, built on a completely new architecture.
- Its key differentiation, in Renault’s own words, is its ‘SUV-like’ looks.
- In terms of its appearance, the Kwid makes a statement – the Duster-like looks give it a lot of road presence.
- Inside, the digital instrumental cluster is very clear and straightforward.
- What dominates the cabin on the top-end variant is a 7-inch touchscreen, which sits proudly in the centre console.
- The rear seats are quite spacious, especially in terms of headroom.
- Renault has done a fairly decent job of packaging the Kwid.
- It is very impressive in the ride-and-handling department, while offering good high-speed stability.
- On rough roads and even off-road, the Kwid was extremely comfortable and handled very well.
- And despite its ride height, the body control is very good as well.
The Could Have
- However, it does feel a little defeated when you come up against even the smallest incline.
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- The look is just right, with thick cladding, a rugged grille, nicely detailed headlamps, neat looking tail-lamps, chunky fog lamp enclosures and a square shape overall.
- It really does look like a shrunken version of its bigger stablemate, the Duster.
- Inside, the design is really impressive.
- The Kwid looks so upmarket, you have to remind yourself about which segment it is in.
- It’s a budget car, so you don’t expect a lot, so things like the big multifunction touchscreen, digital instrument cluster, Bluetooth, fog lamps, the optional airbag and navigation are incredible features for a car at this price.
- There’s no doubt that it’s the most spacious car in the segment.
- The front seats are just superb, especially with regards to the lateral support they offer, and the view out is of a long flat bonnet, just like in an SUV.
- Rear passengers are also well catered to on space, with a good amount of head, knee and shoulder room for two.
- We feel the performance is more than adequate by the 800cc segment standards.
- Ride quality is really impressive though, in true Renault fashion.
The Could Have
- Less impressive however is a lightness to the build you feel in the way the doors and boot shut.
- At 28 litres, the petrol tank could have been bigger.
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- The Kwid isn’t your conventional looking A segment hatchback. It is something that has oodles of presence and an authoritative stance.
- The Kwid looks butch, rugged and a lot more masculine.
- The overall design is a welcome change.
- The interiors on the Kwid are more or less on par in terms of quality.
- The front seats are decently cushioned and will support you well.
- Driving position is on the higher side and you get a good view of the road ahead.
- The Kwid also scores extremely high on utility as well with lots of storage space.
- The Kwid’s ride quality overshadows the noise.
- The ride quality of Kwid is nothing short of phenomenal.
- Even at triple digit speeds, the Kwid feels planted and does not feel as jittery as an Alto K10.
The Could Have
- The integrated headrests will make your neck complain a little.
- The noise from the 3 pot motor isn’t pleasant by any definition and it only gets worse as the revvs rise.
- Renault could’ve definitely done more to ensure better NVH levels on the car.
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