Renault has unveiled its entry in to the fiercely competitive small car segment. This high volume segment is dominated by the likes of Hyundai Eon and the ever popular Maruti Suzuki Alto. The car christened as the ‘Kwid’ is expected to cost between Rs 3-4 lakh. Launch is expected to take place in the festive season starting from the month of September this year.
Looks wise, it is nothing like anything presently found in the small car segment. To me, it seems like a smaller version of the company’s another hot-selling product – the Duster SUV. The silhouette is the same as its bigger sibling and is vastly different from the diminutive hatchbacks that currently pervade this portion of the market. First seen as a concept vehicle at the Auto Expo 2014, the Kwid is more crossover than hatchback and is based on Renault’s new CMF-A platform. Overall length is under four metres, which makes it eligible for the excise duty benefits. The exterior is muscular looking and far from the petite offerings seen today. The contoured bonnet, sleek headlamps, circular fog lamps, wide air dam and a front grille with what looks like a chain link design, complete the front profile. The flanks look quite similar to the Duster with those flared wheel arches that gel well with the black body cladding running along the entire lower area of the car. The bulge at the haunches add to the muscle factor while the upward stroke of the shoulder line lends a touch of dynamism. If the front is bold and aggressive the rear is smooth and elegant. The elongated tail lamps, tailgate mounted spoiler and the sharp, distinct hump on the back door come together beautifully to impart a timeless appeal.
The interior looks premium when viewed in context of pricing. A three-spoke steering wheel will sit in front of an all digital instrument cluster. Splashes of chrome will be seen in several places on the dashboard while a touchscreen infotainment system is likely to come as option on higher trim levels.
Few details have been revealed as far as the engine is concerned. A completely new engine built by the Renault-Nissan alliance will supply power to the Kwid. This unit will be a 800 cc three-cylinder engine whose power and torque details are yet to be revealed. We anticipate it to be more powerful than the competition as it will have four valves per cylinder and a twin cam setup. Fuel efficiency is a make or break factor for an offering here, hence we expect this crossover to boast of good mileage figures too. Transmission will be a five-speed manual and an AMT option is expected to follow suit as well.
The Kwid is Renault’s assault on the entry-level hatchback segment. It is an interesting product that combines good looks, better interiors and a promise of improved fuel efficiency and more space. The festive season always has something to watch out for and it just got more exciting.