Renault Kwid – 10 things you need to know about India’s latest budget hatchback

Weeks from now, the Renault Kwid budget hatchback will be launched in India, marking the French automaker’s entry into the hugely competitive budget hatchback segment. Even as you’re reading this, media drives of the Kwid are on at Goa, and many new details about the Kwid have surfaced. We’ve just put together 10 things you need to know about India’s latest budget hatchback. Oh, and bookings for this car are now open at Renault dealerships across the country. Deliveries will begin soon after the launch.

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1. The Kwid is based on Renault-Nissan CMF-A platform. This makes it the first car to use this global platform in India. Renault plans to build the Kwid in India not just for domestic demand but also for exports. Expect a large number of Kwids to head to markets abroad. The car features a heavy localization level of of 98 %, making it cost effective to manufacture. This should translate into lower ownership costs over the years, a make or break factor that determines the success of a car in the entry-level budget hatchback segment.

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2. The hatchback is the most fuel efficient car in its segment. With an ARAI certified mileage figure of 25.17 Kmpl, the Kwid lords over the likes of the Maruti Alto 800, the Hyundai Eon and even the Tata Nano, the original mileage king. The car is powered by an 800cc petrol motor that puts out 53 Bhp and 72 Nm, which makes it reasonably powerful. A 5 speed manual gearbox comes standard. Fuel efficiency is a big draw among budget hatchback buyers and the new K(w)id on the block clearly seems to be playing to the gallery on this one.

Renault Kwid Profile

3. It’s also the lightest car in its class, with kerb weight measuring in at just 660 kilograms. This light kerb weight not only aids mileage, but it also makes the Kwid a peppy car about town. The 5 speed gearbox of the hatchback features short ratios that give it good performance in the low and mid range rpms. With the Kwid, Renault has focused big on weight reduction.

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4. An AMT equipped version is in the works, and so is a version with a larger 1 liter-3 cylinder petrol engine. More convenience and power are a while away. These variant additions will make the Kwid more attractive and give buyers more reasons to walk into Renault dealerships. The French automaker has planned these launches in a staggered fashion, seeking to maximize on the buzz around this exciting new car over a longer time frame.

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5. The Kwid may be priced similar but is larger than the likes of the Maruti Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon. 3,679 mm long, 1,579 mm wide, 1,471 mm tall and with a 2.423 mm wheelbase, the Kwid is a plus sized small car. Why, it even beats the WagonR in size and the car’s dimensions are something Renault is betting big on, along with the SUV inspired design. Good street presence is a major differentiating factor that could win sales for the Kwid.

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6. Renault has heavily focused on frugal engineering.  For instance, the wheels have 3 bolts instead of four. The front windshield makes do with a single wiper. Plastic has been extensively used and the number of fasteners have been reduced by design. The oil pan is a plastic item and so is the intake manifold of the engine. Also, the total weight of fasteners on the car is just 8 kilograms, compared to about 20 Kg on competitors’ cars.

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7. A starting price of under 3 lakhs for the base model, to under 4 lakhs for the top end model is what Renault could price the Kwid at. These prices will make the car a compelling value-for-money offering, one that buyers will find hard to reject. The idea is to get enough buyers into Renault showrooms, after which the hatchback’s design, space and fuel efficiency will take over as major selling points.

Renault Kwid rear

8. The car is small on price but big on ground clearance. With 180 mm of ground clearance, the Kwid is almost a mini SUV in a hatchback form factor. On the less than perfect Indian roads, a high ground clearance makes a lot of sense. The Kwid could be “the” car that takes the Renault brand to India’s hinterland, an area that has been traditionally dominated by Maruti Suzuki, and in more recent times, by Hyundai.

9. The Kwid is small on price but big on space. A class leading 300 liter boot is one example. That’s not all. The Kwid has more leg room, shoulder room and interior storage space than its competitors. People who want a small “large” car will find these attributes of this hatchback particularly attractive.

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10. The car also features segment leading instrumentation and infotainment features. The instrument console is fully digital, endowing the Kwid with a futuristic air.

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The infotainment unit is touch screen based, and is a direct lift off from the Renault Duster, albeit with a few feature deletions. Even so, the Kwid’s infotainment unit is the best in its class, and should attract a fair share of attention among buyers.