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2016 Renault Kwid AMT Review, First Drive

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Kwid 1.0 AMT is clearly aimed at the likes of the market leader and offers much more in every sense making it a competent package hard to ignore

Enchanting –

  • One of a kind aesthetics
  • Engine and gearbox options for everyone
  • Performance and good fuel efficiency
  • Segment best features makes it good overall value

Unsatisfying –

  • Safety kit still not enough
  • Renault’s reach isn’t big enough, Period
  • AMT has no sports/manual mode

Let’s face it. The new car on the block in the most affordable space is always been a Maruti. One has a tightest budget? Go to the Maruti showroom and get yourself any car that fills in your budget. You did not care about the looks, the performance or anything else that comes to associating with the car. You just want cheap and cheerful sales and after sales experience for the time you owned the car. Let it be 3 years or 30. Times changed, Hyundai offered you one and after initial success, which last for couple of years, it did not succeed, but got stuck at a point.

Understanding both these competitors was a company that wanted to give everything to the customers in every segment it came into. Renault gave whatever it could with the Duster to the Indian audience and it thought why not invest a lot of money and give the same idea in a car that far more lower in the segment? A segment where the Indian industry wakes up to every day, month and year. The sub 3.8 meters cars rule the gates to Valhalla for any manufacturer.

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Beyond those gates lies, fame, love and lots of profit along with unlimited experience if you could tap or get into it. Renault did all of this and you know it did it with the Kwid. Kwid came to the Indian market with 800cc engine last year, then a couple of months back it came with the 1000cc engine and now it has equipped the larger engine with the cheapest gearbox on the planet. A gearbox that promises convenience like no other without compromising anything that the manual has to offer in terms of practicality. However, it takes biggest withdraw of what most drivers face every day in peak traffic. Yes, the AMT version is out of the box and finally it’s here. We just tested Kwid as much as we could for an entire day to tell you what is it like to drive a hatchback that fits in every parking space and has an automatic. Excited? Let’s find out!

Design

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Styling is the highlight of the car along with many other aspects. The micro SUV looks that comes from the flared wheel arches, the cladding on the side that has turn indicators built-in them and raised stance than any other car in this segment by a huge margin promises a lot. 180 mm ground clearance means you can literally do ‘anything’ on urban roads with it. Front design and grille comes from the Lodgy as it a gets a busy look with the grille that is typical Renault. The headlights are well done, they have very tiny LED DRL lights along with parking and turn indicators bulbs also in them. The lower is muscular and chiseled and has fog lamps and a cut away for the engine to breath. Side profile is where the car impresses and now has the chequered flag 1.0 l badging.

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The variant badging is on the rear door. The rear is quirky enough to grab attention but not to make people that it is over done. Large tail-lamps that sharp and bold at the same time thanks to the cut out. Split tail-gate adds more panache to the package. Overall stance is small, substantial and the stance and road presence is clearly with the car of this size. Clearly, the design is the reason the Kwid sprints of the showroom every day.

Interiors

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Interior is the place where it takes the complete cake from its rival. The moment you enter you see a large screen and to everyone’s surprise it has a touchscreen interface. Rs. 5 lakh rupee car has a touch screen on the top-end variant? That isn’t something seen on a daily basis. The second thing you notice there isn’t any gear lever at all but there is a knob that does the transmission duties, which is all bling thanks to chrome layout.

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Once you are done with it you can see the interior quality isn’t bad at all for this price. The quality of plastics is good, build quality is alright for this car’s size and price. You sit higher and the steering wheel is placed lower, which can get some getting used too, since nothing is adjustable, the seats or the steering. Cost cutting is evident as you get a single wiper and no tachometer on the inside.

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Touch-screen has Bluetooth, AUX and USB capability. The A/C works really well in really hot conditions that our test drive day offered. Multiple gloveboxes make sure you can store anything. A gap between that will help you store even more stuff. Cubby holes in the car enough to store your daily stuff. iPhone and iPod™ operations are available and Speed Dependent Volume Control is offered as well. One touch lane change indicator, central locking, intermittent windscreen wiper with tear drop, wipe, Traffic message channel, Zone vigilance area warning, Traffic messages are part of the touch-screen unit.

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Cup holders make sure you are not devoid of any beverage you like while driving. Oddly, the mirrors are completely manual, the power window switches are also below the A/C switches they are not your typical up and down switches as they are very much like wall switches in your house. Cluster is a digital unit has all the fuel information you need right from current to average along with distance to empty. Features list ends about here we would love to see more, but at this price it does the job.

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Space in the front and rear is generous enough, but the rear seats can feel like a bench and isn’t great for vacation ‘type’ journey. Boot space is enough for daily mall trips and will do just about OK with airport/railway station pickup and drops. All of this despite being segment highest as it stands at 300 litres. Seats just about do the job but should satisfy most car owners with small to medium build. Safety kit isn’t much as there is a driver airbag and nothing more except seat belts with tensioner are present as ABS and EBD continue to be missing.

Engine and Gearbox

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Performance comes with the new 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder engine that makes 68 PS and 91 Nm of torque. The engine is a DOHC unit, which has 4-valves per cylinder. The engine is now mated to an AMT gearbox. Engine is pretty smooth and refined and barely audible at slow to medium speeds. Redline it and it isn’t the best sounding that engine either. However, it isn’t overly loud to make things uncomfortable. Low-end torque is just about ok, but the mid-range is really punchy and surprisingly, top-end power is good. Speedo showcased 155 km/hr on an open-stretch. Gearing is on the taller side for that big ARAI claimed efficiency number. AMT as we all know it, is a gearbox without a manual clutch that is replaced with an electronic sensor. AMT is devoid of any tip-tronic, sports mode.

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Moment you floor it in any gear, there is considerable lag and then when that shift happens, it is violent and pushes you in the back of the seat. As if a driver in a manual car leaves the clutch rapidly and not smoothly or slowly. Keep part-throttle and you will be fine, but every time there is a gear change you will notice and infact hear it as you do in normal manual cars. However, the sound is quite higher in the car. There is an hold system which makes sure you don’t need to keep your foot on the brake at a stop light.

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Build some revs and launch the car of the line and it picks up some serious pace. Thanks to the segment best power to weight ratio due to lightest kerb weight and similar power as per segment standards. We got a mileage of 15.3 km/l in a short test drive than usual. The numbers are quite good despite highway and city run together. Numbers should be higher if its just city run. Expect it to be around just around 18 km/l.

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Dynamically, the Kwid isn’t that entertaining to drive. There is body roll, however, it is well contained than its cousin and its rivals. This is only due to the high ground clearance and lack of better and bigger tyres. Despite all of this, ride quality is extremely mature and highway stability is top-notch, with hardly any vertical movement that would passengers and driver feel not so good. Something that is the case in cars from this segment.

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Brakes with good bite and feel from the pedal perform well. Hard/panic braking results in tyres squealing and the car doesn’t get out of shape. However, we must point out that the car is just a tyre upgrade from being a far superior performer, which could make things almost perfect for keen enthusiast and people looking for more assurance in every regard in the dynamic area.

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Rivals already in fleet market, a distinct advantage to the Kwid?

2016 Renault Kwid AMT Review, Verdict

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Clearly then, with very little amount of drawbacks for this little car makes it a package you cannot ignore. Interiors are well done and have segment best features on offer. Performance is good, AMT makes it the best city car to get in the market today.

Fuel efficiency is on par and on the road figures are good as well. We wish AMT atleast had a sports version to make things exciting. However, pricing is key, and Renault has done a stellar job by just asking Rs. 30,000 over the manual version making it a spectacular deal. Kwid isn’t a new kid on the block anymore, as it now has the experience and technology to take on its tough and tall standing rivals.

Priced at 4.25 Lakhs ex-showroom

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