Renault’s answer to the Maruti Alto K10 is here and we have driven it. Here’s everything you need to know.

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The Kwid has done wonders for Renault India. It has single-handedly turned the fortunes of the company and has made Renault reach the top 10 on the monthly cars sales list. The Kwid is doing so well that it had Maruti come up with a facelift for the Alto 800, which is a big thing. To keep the fight on, Renault is now broadening the Kwid’s portfolio. For starters, it will get a new 1.0 liter engine. We were in Chennai to drive it and tell you what it’s like.

What’s new on the outside?

Where the Alto and the Alto K10 have enough to differentiate them, the Kwid 800 cc and the Kwid 1.0 liter will have not much difference. It will take a trained eye to spot the differences. The outside mirrors are now larger and are now painted in grey, as opposed to the black ones the 800 cc engine vehicle gets.

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The other new thing that the 1.0 gets is the decals on the bottom of the door. It has 1.0 stickered on it which is the only giveaway that this is the 1.0 liter. The 800 cc gets a black strip instrad. Those are the only visual changes between the 800 cc and the 1.0. The Kwid retains its muscular and SUV type style which is the reason it is so popular in the country. The rugged wheel arches, the plastic cladding all over, the high ground clearance are still the strongest points that make the Kwid so popular.

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What’s new on the inside?

Sadly, nothing. The Kwid 1.0 has no changes on the inside unfortunately. Currently, the Kwid 1.0 will only come in manual avatar, the AMT is expected at a later date. When that happens, there will be a new gear knob on the dashboard instead of a gear lever. The Kwid continues to have the digital instrument display which houses the speedometer and the trip computer.

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The tacho is missing for some reason. This is surprising since the redi-GO gets one as well, albeit a digital one. There is a gear shift indicator, but if you are really in the mood to drive hard, this omission will let you down since you don’t know where the red-line is and have to rely on the engine noise.

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The 1.0 will only come in two variants, the top of the line RxT and RxT(o). Features are carried forward from the 800 cc variant. So, the the car continues to be well loaded. It will have the touchscreen system with bluetooth, AUX-in, USB compatibility and navigation. One more thing, though the top of the line comes with key less entry, only one key has the remote, the other one is a normal one.

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Kwid key

The upholstery in champion red shade as Renault would like to call it. The Kwid has decent amount of space all over, both at the front and back. It may not be as much as the redi-GO, but it isn’t cramped. Where the Kwid lacks in rear seat space, it makes up in boot space. The Kwid has a 300 liter boot which is pretty good. Overall, we wish that there were minor changes on the inside that differentiated the 1.0 liter the 800 cc one.

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How is it to drive?

This is the most important aspect. The main purpose behind this review was to tell you how it drives since the engine is the main change. Let’s start with the specs first. The 800 cc engine has been reworked to make it a 1,000 cc one. The engine makes 67 Bhp and 91 Nm. The engine will only come mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox for the time being. An AMT is expected at a later date.

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In city speeds, the 1.0 liter Kwid is a lot more driveable and less jerky than the 800 cc one.  As speeds increase though, the engine difference becomes very evident. There is a good amount of grunt available and the car feels quick. We managed to do speeds above 150 kmph and the car still had more punch left. This, for such a small car is really good. The gearbox is also easy to use and the clutch is light, making it easy in city speeds. Renault engineers have done a good job in the NVH department. The Kwid 1.0 isn’t very noisy and doesn’t have much vibrations either. As per ARAI figures, the Kwid 1.0 liter returns 23.01 km/l as opposed to the 25.17 km/l on the 800 cc version.

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The steering is very light in the city which makes it convenient to drive at low speeds. However, as speeds increase, the steering doesn’t weight up enough and it doesn’t offer great feedback. We wish that the Renault engineers had added a little more weight into the steering at higher speeds to give it better handling characteristics.

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The suspension is setup on the softer side and it does a good job of soaking up the rough stuff. I found the brakes sharp and very responsive.

Pricing?

Renault has just released the pricing of the car. The Kwid 1.0 liter will come in 2 variants. The RxT is priced at Rs 3.82 lakhs and the RxT (o) is 3.95 lakhs. We feel the Renault India have managed to price the car very well for what it offers.

Rivals?

The current rivals the Kwid 1.0 liter will be the Alto K10 and the Eon 1.0. Where the Alto K10 starts at Rs 3.26 lakhs, the Eon starts at a higher  Rs 4.40 lakhs. The Eon makes 68 Bhp and 94 Nm where as the K10 makes 67 Bhp and 90 Nm. Since there is not much change between the 800 cc Kwid and the 1,000 cc one, we expect pricing to be competitive.

More images from the drive:

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