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Renault Kiger 1.0 Turbo Manual compact SUV in CarToq’s first drive report

Renault has had a few successful cars in India while others did not do so well on the sales chart. Starting with the Duster and then the Kwid, Renault did gain some popularity in the Indian market. The French manufacturer has now entered the sub-4m compact SUV segment with the all-new Kiger. Recently, we spent some time with the all-new Kiger and here is what we think about the car.

Renault Kiger 1.0 turbo-manual

Since most of you have seen the Kiger from the previous videos, we will first talk about how it drives. Renault offers the Kiger with two engine options – 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol and 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol. We drove only the turbocharged petrol version paired with the manual transmission. The same engine is also available with an AMT and a CVT as well. We will talk about the automatic variants when we drive them at a later stage.

The 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is the same as the Nissan Magnite. It is a three-cylinder unit that generates a maximum power of 100 PS and a peak torque of 160 Nm. The engine has the typical three-cylinder grunt that becomes quite evident at higher RPMs. The engine gets three modes – Eco, Sport and Normal. The modes do not change any kind of engine mapping in the vehicle. Instead, the throttle response and the weight of the steering is altered with the modes. So if you’re in Eco mode, you will have to push the throttle a bit more compared to the Sport mode. However, since there is no change in the power and torque output, you may drive sedately in the Sport mode and can get the same amount of fuel efficiency as the Eco mode.

In Eco mode though, the engine becomes quite lethargic and it is good only for city traffic because if you use it on the highways and want to overtake other vehicles, it will take some time gain speed. The normal mode is a balance between the two modes.

The manual transmission slots well but the throw is quite long. So a shorter gear lever could have helped here. However, we have no complaints about the gear lever travel but it just takes some time before you get used to it.

Renault Kiger 1.0 turbo-manual drive and handling

The Kiger is a tall car so you sit quite high on the driver seat. It gives you a clear view of the road ahead. Since the driving modes also change the steering weight as well, we started driving the car in the Normal mode at first. The Kiger feels quite balanced when it comes to power and torque. Yes, the engine does feel out of breath in the lower RPMs but push the pedal and there is power. It is a light car and gains speed very quickly. On the corners though, you will feel that there is an ample amount of body roll, which will keep you from pushing the car too much.

The steering weight increases with the speed. However, in the Eco mode, the steering weight is lighter than the Normal at the same speed and in the Sport mode, it is heavier. So if you’re planning to drive at a higher speed, it is better to keep the rotary knob in the normal or sport position. The clutch is heavy for a petrol car and the bite point is somewhere in the middle so you will have to lift the clutch quite much to get the vehicle going. We believe that the clutch can be adjusted as per the owner’s requirement from the service centre.

Space galore

Renault has managed the space in the Kiger extremely well. There is a massive amount of boot space of 405 litres and it is quite deep too. So you can fit the weekend luggage for five people quite easily in the boot. Renault has a range of accessories for the Kiger and one of them is to reduce the loading lip. The accessory creates segregated storage space in the boot for organising your other items.

Can three people fit in the rear comfortably? Yes, for a sub-4m compact SUV, there is an ample amount of space in the rear seat. The transmission tunnel is also almost flat, which ensures that the passenger in the middle gets a comfortable amount of space. Renault claims that Kiger offers the widest shoulder room in the segment and we have no doubts about that. The legroom and the headroom for the rear passengers are also quite good. Being someone who is 5 feet 10 inches, there was a good amount of knee room and headroom in the rear seat even after I adjusted the front seat according to my comfort.

The front seats are comfortable and have enough side bolsters to keep you in place. There is a front armrest but it is not adjustable. I felt that the armrest and the height of the gear lever could have been matched to add more comfort.

There is a lot of space to keep your knick-knacks inside the Kiger too. There is space for a one-litre bottle on all four doors. That’s not it, there is a double glove box and the lower glove box is massive 10-litre big with a cooling vent too. The cup holders are located inside the centre console. They can be difficult to access at times. However, it is very deep and offers a lot of space to keep your small and big things. There are a dedicated place to keep your phones at the front and the rear. Renault also offers wireless charging as an optional accessory with the Kiger.

Renault Kiger features

The Kiger is decently loaded with features. There is a 7.0-inch infotainment system in the middle that offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay system. It is quite useful, especially because there is an optional wireless charger to give you a truly wireless experience. What we liked the most in the car in terms of features though is the instrument cluster. It is a sober-looking cluster with different themes that shows information depending on the mode you are in. So in Sport mode, you will get information like horsepower and torque with a G-Force meter while in the Eco Mode, you will get information about the fuel economy of the car. The graphics are amazing too.

Renault misses out on the TPMS and 360-degree camera but then you get all-LED headlamps, four airbags and cooled glovebox that the Magnite does not offer. Overall, it is a quite balanced feature list.

Renault Kiger looks

Well, looks are subjective but we did find the Kiger look stunning on the roads. The split headlamps, split tail lamps, split roof-mounted spoiler and the massive arches on the body of the vehicle makes it look imposing on the roads. It also gets dual-tone alloy wheels that add to the overall looks. To increase the height, Renault uses the roof rails and you can load them with up to 50 kg of luggage. The Kiger does stand out in terms of looks.

Should you buy it?

The Kiger is quite a value-for-money product. With the AMT, it is very affordable compared to the competitors and the Magnite as well. Renault will be able to target people who want a good looking car with an automatic with the Kiger. However, if you enjoy driving and like to push the car around the corners, you may not find the Kiger as engaging. As an overall car, it does offer a massive amount of space at a very competitive price which is something a lot of Indian buyers look for when buying a car. So what do you think about the Kiger? Do let us know in the comments section below.