The Kwid was Renault's first ever foray into the entry-level hatchback segment and needless to say it is doing really well for Renault and is one of their best-selling models in the country. It's bold and quirky SUVish styling has been a hit with the buyers in this particular segment who are looking for a small car that looks big. The car looks well-proportioned and has been given nice elements of styling all around such as the plastic cladding on the wheel arches and along the body of the car to make it look more butch.
It isn't easy to take on the might of the market leader, Maruti Suzuki, especially in the small car space. Hyundai's Eon almost made it, Datsun gave it a go too! Now, Renault is all set to give it a shot. It has developed its brand in the Indian market primarily on the back of the Duster. And this segment - the crossover/compact SUV space - has been recession-proof for quite a few years now. Not just in India, but across the globe. Another market trend over the past few years has been the eagerness of car manufacturers to look for niches to appeal to a wider audience.
And, in this case, Renault has thrown everything - including the kitchen sink and a 7-inch touchscreen - at the market. It has sold over 1.2 lakh Duster SUVs in India and has captured a 2% share of the market. Now their target is 5%! And this is the car that will help them achieve that target. The Kwid is a brand new hatchback, built on a completely new architecture. And it's key differentiation, in Renault's own words, its 'SUV-like' looks.
Renault has been thinking of entering the small car space for quite some time. To take advantage of 'frugal engineering,' as Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn says, Renault was exploring the option of developing a small car with Bajaj. And while that didn't quite make it to fruition.
All told, though, Renault has been able to provide an aspirational vehicle in the small car space - and this is, perhaps, the greatest strength of the Kwid. The French manufacturer is offering 60 categories of accessories and six predefined accessory packs, indicating that they've understood the Indian market well.
Renault claims the fuel efficiency of the Kwid is 25.17 km/l, making it the most fuel-efficient car in the country. And the main reason for the spritely performance and its excellent ride-and-handling is the low weight of the car. The Renault workforce has spent a lot of time and effort on making this possible. The engine block is made of aluminium, while the entire intake manifold and head are plastic, saving two kilos. The plastic oil pan saves 1 kilo, and a reduction in the number of parts, and the associated nuts and bolts in the car saves another 8 kilos. For instance, it has only three wheel lugs and a single windshield wiper.
Pros: 1. Mileage is awesome in the class (small hatchback)
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