Just a few months back I was in Chennai to drive the Renault Kwid 1.0 liter (Read here). That time though, it was only the manual variant that was launched. It was back in the 2016 Auto Expo that the company showcased the AMT version of the Kwid along with the 1.0 liter manual. It was known that the AMT variant was soon coming. After 9 months of waiting, the Kwid AMT is all set to go on sale later this month and we spent some time with it to tell you what it’s like.
Any different to look at?
Umm, nope. Sadly, the Kwid AMT doesn’t have any changes on the outside, save for the Easy-R badge at the back. Having said that, the Kwid is really attractive to look at. The company has done a phenomenal job of giving a ‘SUV’ touch to the hatch. So it has muscular wheel arches and the plastic cladding all around to add to the rugged look. The large Renault badge dominates the front end with the hexagonal styled grill joining both the headlamps.
Like the manual variant, the AMT also gets the stylish decals at the bottom of the door. The mirrors have also been finished in a brushed silver shade instead of black the 800 cc car comes with. The same 13″ rims with alloy look-alike wheel caps are on offer which look pretty sporty.
Any luck on the inside?
Well there is one major change between the manual and the AMT, the deletion of the gear lever. Instead of opting for a normal automatic styled gear lever that the Duster has, Renault has decided to go with an all new knob on the dashboard. This results in a big storage area where the gear lever previously was. That’s all there is when it comes to the changes.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Kwid, we shall tell you what it’s like. The car comes with a digital instrument cluster with a cool digital speedo. Sadly, the tacho is missing, even on the 1.0 liter vehicle. The gear lever indicator has been placed inside the trip computer screen and has a warning if you turn the gear knob without using the brakes. Renault has equipped the Kwid really well and also offers segment first features like a touch screen infotainment system with bluetooth and navigation.
The dashboard is well laid out and isn’t cluttered with buttons courtesy the touchscreen system. There are ample storage spaces all over which is a really good thing. A storage space has now been added where the gear lever used to sit. There are also two gloveboxes on offer and the door pocket also have ample space.
What about the drive?
Being the main change in the vehicle, we were eagerly wanting to figure out how the vehicle drove. First thing that you notice is the thrummy 3 cylinder note that is quite prominent. Turn the knob into drive and the first thing that strikes you is the fact that there is no creep function (ability to roll ahead) like on normal automatics. This means that hill starts will require a handbrake. Like on a manual vehicle since the moment you let go off the brake, the car rolls behind like it is on neutral, even when the vehicle is in drive mode.
Get passed that and you realize that the gearbox is pretty smooth. Drive it like an AMT should be driven and you shall not be disappointed. By that, we mean that you should lift off and give the vehicle time to shift. Unlike in an automatic car where there is power on tap even while shifting gears, an AMT works just like a manual box. Like in a manual, you don’t continue to throttle while shifting gears, the same theory is to be applied on an AMT. If you happen to do that, you will realize that the gearbox is pretty smooth and shifts aren’t really felt. The AMT in question is a 5 speed unit which has been developed by Bosch.
The engine is a little bit less responsive than in the manual counterpart, but certainly makes up in the convenience department. While cruising, if you happen to step on it, the car gets a little confused and takes a small amount of time in downshifting. If you are the sort who drives in a more relaxed manner, you shall not face any issues.
The Kwid continues to have a soft suspension setup which eats up the bumps and pot holes pretty well. The ride does get a little bouncy at higher speeds but that is mainly down to the soft setup. Steering is pretty light in city speeds but doesn’t weigh up much at higher speeds.
In what is very interesting, the Kwid AMT returns 24.04 kmpl as per ARAI figures which is even more than the manual variant.
In what comes as a surprising move, the Kwid AMT will only come in one variant, the top of the line RxT (o) with the driver’s side airbag. This is a great move by the company to show that they care about safety.
Renault introduced the AMT variant yesterday and the vehicle is now priced at Rs 4.25 lakhs ex showroom Delhi.
A few more pictures: