French carmaker Renault is playing on the front foot in India. After it ceased the joint venture with SUV giant Mahindra & Mahindra and the successful launch of Mahindra Logan (now called as Mahindra Verito), Renault chalked out an aggressive strategy for India. In an effort to establish independent identity in the country, the French auto biggie came with Renault Fluence and then with an SUV - Renault Koleos lately. To generate curiosity, Renault has put up 3 upcoming cars on its website in disguised appearance covered with a white cloth. Among them, first one is a hatchback which will come this winter. Next is a SUV, coming by summer 2012 and the last but not the least is a sedan reaching Indian shores by autumn 2012. While the probable names of sedan and SUV are ‘Renault Symbol’ and ‘Renault Duster’, car market is abuzz that the hatch is codenamed as ‘Renault B58’.
Renault offers many hatchbacks in international market. Famous among them are Renault Modus, Renault Clio and even upcoming Renault Twingo is abuzz. But none of them are expected to come to India in near future. Renault India wants to have a car in all segments. After launching Koleos SUV for premium audience at Rs 23 lakh, the French auto maker will target mass audience by Renault B58. B58 will be specially devised for Indian market to keep the price affordable. Renault B58 will be the third car offering in India out of the 3-5 cars that the car maker hopes to launch in India in the next one year. Renault B58 is basically a small hatchback car concept. It will be unveiled in the Grand Prix Formula 1 racing event scheduled to take place during 28th-30th October, 2011 in Noida. Renault Indian is eyeing big business through this small car in India. The widening arms of Renault can be seen from Renault’s plan of investing a whopping Rs 6.5 crore on promotional activities during Indian GP.
Spy shots of Renault B58 concept taken near Renault-Nissan manufacturing plant in Chennai reveals that the hatchback is based on the V platform also used in Nissan cars like Nissan Micra and Nissan Sunny. The B58 is also expected to osculate some features with Nissan Micra. It is gestated that B58 will have the same engine configuration as that of Micra. The small hatchback will have 1.2L three cylinder petrol engine delivering close to 75 bhp power and other 1.5L K9K diesel motor churning 65 bhp power. Both the diesel and the petrol powered B58 will be manufactured at the Renault – Nissan co-owned plant in Chennai. Once the Renault B58 is in, it will take on Maruti, Hyundai and Tata’s small cars head on and will further intensify the already competitive hatchback market.
Despite the fact that it will share the same platform with Nissan Micra, Renault B58 hopes to have its own identity and a typical French automaker’s styling. The new hatchback by Nissan will have new bumpers, a wide and lengthy bonnet and front grille besides unique body panels and roof. Furthermore, B58 is also expected to inherit the interiors from its sibling Micra. The HVAC controls and the dash in addition to an array of other interior features and styling are expected to be carried forward to B58 from the bubble shaped car, Micra. The concept is reported to have neared its completion and will soon hit production at the Renault’s Chennai facility. The production model will be displayed at Auto Expo 2012 in Delhi. More details will be made available once there are official revelations by Renault India.
Although B58 shares the V-platform used by Nissan cars, the lineaments will be done exclusively by Renault. The car is specifically conceptualized for the Indian market by its design studio in Mumbai. India is a priority market for Renault and the company will leave no stone unturned in dedicating this car a look that can lure mass audience. However, the small car will be rolled out from its plant in Chennai.
Talking about its external features, fresh body color sleek bumpers integrated into unique body panels. The headlights of B58 are horizontally slanting on both side of the wide bonnet. Renault’s logo in between the sturdy bonnet looks amazing and luxurious. However the front look is dominated by the radiator grille which is completely new and unseen. Missing chrome from the front is an evidence of low price and sporty look of B58. The tinted windshield will be slanting towards the roof and the roof of Renault B58 will shed a naive appearance.
Speculation also points that it could feature a tall boy design with the demeanor of a Suzuki WagonR. Body color door handles and tinted windows are well anticipated with Renault B58 but there is no surety about body color door mirrors. The 4 door hatchback will be in B to B+ segment to butt Maruti Swift, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20, Fiat Grande Punto. The small car can feature 12-spoke wheels. The rear side of Renault B58 is very flattish. There will be body color bumpers at the rear with vertically posed tail lights. Not much information is revealed about the design of the car but soon particulars will be out in Indian Grand Prix where the car is being unveiled.
The much awaited small car Renault B58 will adorn many new interior features catering to the requirements of Indian buyers. The viewers at Grand Prix, where the car will be unveiled soon, will relish this new wagon in India. The car will essentially be a 5-seater with comfortable interiors.
HVAC controls and the dash in addition to an array of other interior features and styling are expected to be carried forward to Renault B58 from the bubble shaped car, Micra. Instrument cluster with Tachometer, Multi-display meter, front power windows, audio system with 4 speakers and AUX-In support, Futuristic AC design, power steering, leather upholstery, digital clock, door pockets, cup holders and push-button ignition are well anticipated features in the car.
For comfort, Renault B58 will have slew of things. A powerful AC will reside on the dashboard, which will not only heighten the beauty of dash but will also give respite from sunny weather. The leather upholstery seats in the car will be able to comfortably seat 5 people at a time. There will be integrated audio system in the car. Remote locking, keyless entry and push button ignition may make up to Renault B58. Overall, the car will be reasonably comfortable according to its low price.
Engine and Performance
Renault B58 is built on the V-platform used in Nissan Micra. So, the engine specifications are ought to be identical as Micra’s. Renault B58 will be available in two engine options. The first one will be a 1.2 litre petrol engine. This engine in most likelihood will develop 75 bhp power at 6,000 rpm and 105 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm. This engine will carry 3 cylinders with 12 valves. The engine is supposed to give a mileage of 14 and 18 kmpl on city and highway respectively.
The next option will be a 1.5 litre K9K diesel engine. This is a more powerful engine delivering about 65 bhp power at 4,000 rpm and 160 Nm torque at 2,000 rpm on front wheels. The SOHC engine will be a 4 cylinder 8 valve power train. Both the engine types will be mated to a 5 speed manual transmission. Top speed as high as, 160 kmph, can be attained by the agile engine and mileage is expected to be 19 kmpl and 24 kmpl on city roads and highways, respectively. The fuel tank capacity can be 41 litre similar to Nissan Micra.
Since Renault B58 will share its platform with Nissan Micra, the engine specifications are expected to resonate Micra’s. Renault B58 is a car that will be developed fully in India and thus will take care of Indian needs. Mileage, Average and fuel economy forms an important part of choice list of buyers in India and so Renault has no option but to pay some time and energy to keep these features pep. As per speculations, the mileage of petrol variant will be ARAI certified 14 kmpl and 18 kmpl on city and highway roads respectively. For diesel variant of Renault B58, the mileage can go upto 19 kmpl (city) and 24 kmpl (highway). The diesel engine will be quite frugal and agile.
Power of Renault B58
Renault B58-a hatch contrived by Indian engineers for Indian audience will be fairly brawny. It will be a B to B+ segment hatchback and will be available in 2 guises, i.e. petrol and diesel. The 1.2 litre petrol engine is most likely to produce 75 bhp power with 105 Nm torque. On the other hand, the Renault B58 diesel is expected to house 1.5 litre K9K diesel engine which will be able to put out 65 bhp power and 160 Nm torque. Renault B58 will be pitched against Maruti Swift and thus is ought to perform exceptionally well in its segment.
Stereo & Accessories
The small car Renault B58 will fall in the mid segment (B to B+) hatchback car but would be loaded with lots of good-looking features. Though it is not confirmed, it will come packed with integrated audio system and Renault could be as generous as Nissan to provide 4 speakers in B58 to keep up the entertainment during journey. This audio system is likely to come with Aux-in support so that one can colligate any external device with it like iPod, Mobile phone, thus attracting younger generation to buy the car.
Note: These features are speculative and are subject to change.
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Braking & Handling
Renault B58 is likely to be equipped with ventilated large front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. Advanced features like ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) and Brake Assist, may or may not be there. Power steering can make handling of this car easy to ensure that car will never skid out of control in case of emergency braking. The Renault B58 will house front Mac Pherson Strut type suspension and rear Torsion Beam type forks that will not only make your driving comfortable but also support the vehicle's stability on the roads. 4.65 meter of turning radius can be expected with Renault B58 with which you can pass through tight corners and crowded places very swiftly.
Safety & Security
Renault B58 is going to shed its cocoon soon and then everyone will come to know about its characteristics. For the time being just Nissan Micra safety features can be anticipated for Renault B58 too as both the cars are based on the same platform. Advanced safety features including engine immobilizer, security alarm, child lock, Driver side bags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist (BA), Three Point ELR seat belts, Driver Seat belt Reminder, Halogen Headlamps, Central Locking, Front Fog Lamps, remote keyless entry, intelligent key with push button ignition-nearly all of them can make way to B58.
Power steering wheel for butter smooth drive, front ventilated brakes and rear drum brakes mated to Brake Assist are most likely to appear in Renault B58. An expected 4.65m of turning radius and latest suspension system will allow you to control the vehicle quite easily. The gear shift knob would be of shrunken size that allows quick gear shifting with ease. The rigid suspension in B58 can increases drive quality and ensures comfort by consuming up small to panoptic potholes. If the suspension system is coupled with rigid chassis, excellent stability can be attained in B58 that helps the vehicle to attain phenomenal speed minus vibration.
The incorporation of the ‘V-platform’ is one major factor contributing to the car's improved impact safety. The car is engineered to absorb the forces of a frontal wallop, owing to the sophisticated crumple zones, while maintaining cabin integrity due to its highly reinforced body shell.
The company has not declared anything about the detailing about the car. However, 12 spoke steel wheels are expected to dress Renault B58. Alloy wheel can also make to some high-end variant of Renault B58. The tyre size may come close to 165/70 R14.
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