He Renault Kwid 1.0L has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 3.83 - 3.96 lakhs (ex-Delhi).
What you'll like:
• 1.0L engine makes the Kwid a true all-rounder. Priced merely 22k more than Kwid 800 RXT
• More power, more torque, better highway performance
• Distinctive styling! Looks swell for an A-segment hatchback
• Well-packaged cabin with good space, comfy seats & lots of storage
• Huge 300 liter boot. 2nd biggest among all hatchbacks!
• Suspension offers a comfortable ride with neutral handling. 180 mm of GC too
• Equipment in a budget car (driver's airbag, digital meter cluster, touchscreen ICE, navigation, full MID & more)
What you won't:
• No choice of variants. Available only in RXT with an optional airbag
• Unlike Alto K10, no design changes to differentiate the 1.0 (except loud sticker job)
• Tyres & brakes should have been beefed up for the 1.0L variant
• Some essential features missing (internally adjustable ORVMs, retractable rear seatbelts etc.)
• 28 litre fuel tank is the smallest in the segment and its 5 meter turning radius the biggest
• Renault's dealer & after-sales network is far weaker than that of Maruti & Hyundai
The 1.0L engine is available only in the top-end RXT variant (and its optional airbag version). That's not cool. The Alto K10 offers a wider range of variants (Hyundai Eon 1.0 doesn't however). Further, while the RXT(O) is reasonably well-equipped with keyless entry, driver's side airbag and the first-in-segment touchscreen ICE + navigation, I wish for Renault to launch a true top-end variant (named RXZ??) with dual airbags, ABS, rear wash/wipe, seat height adjustment and internally adjustable ORVMs. This would make the 1.0L appeal to a far wider audience and actually compete with the next segment (WagonR, Celerio, i10 & gang). The Kwid is certainly capable of fighting in a segment above with more features as it’s already got a big cabin and this new 1.0L engine.
What's also uncool is that the Kwid 1.0 looks identical to the Kwid 0.8. There should definitely have been some differentiating factors. See how well Maruti distinguishes the Alto K10 from the Alto 800. The newbie surely has a thing or two to learn from the master on positioning different versions.
The gears are easy to slot with medium-length throws. There is a hint of a rubbery feeling, yet it is sure-slotting and you won’t miss a shift. Remember how the Kwid 800's shifter moved back & forth with throttle inputs? That has reduced significantly in the Kwid 1.0. You can still feel it, but it doesn't visibly move.
The dynamics are unchanged. The Kwid continues to offer very good ride quality and feels confident on the highway. The suspension is on the softer side, so there is body roll, yet the behaviour is quite sorted for a family hatchback. At no point in time on the ECR did we feel uncomfortable maintaining 100+ km/h. Thanks to the 180 mm of ground clearance, we ventured towards some narrow trails on a beaten path and the Kwid cleared them all without touching anywhere. On the downside, the steering is vague and lacks feedback. It doesn’t weigh up enough at high speed either.
The stock 155 patch tyres are too thin for the 1.0. We would recommend an upgrade to fatter rubber.
I found the brakes to be a little unpredictable at low speed and ended up having to vary the brake force to stop on time. After a few minutes, I got used to it and didn’t face any issues. Overall braking is as expected in an economy hatchback (read = nothing to write home about). The brakes are more suited to an easy driving style. Hard braking will result in the front wheels locking up. We wish Renault had provided ABS & beefed up the brakes for the 1.0 engine.
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