The Kiger is Renault's first compact sub-four metre SUV, and the tenth such vehicle in India to add to the sales of the B-SUV sub-segment. It was launched at an aggressive price tag and still is a competitive one. Its entry-level naturally-aspirated 72bhp 1.0-litre petrol model retails at Rs 6.85 lakh, on-road, Mumbai. There's even an AMT version, but the more interesting one is this 100bhp 1.0-litre turbo mill mated to a CVT gearbox. Given the ongoing price hikes, it shouldn't be startling that its top-end variant now costs Rs 12.3 lakh, on-road, Mumbai.
Yes, this is the top-of-the-line RXZ version of the Kiger with all the bells and whistles that Renault has to offer. We had the choice of a manual long-term vehicle, yet we chose this CVT over it. One, for the convenience it provides, and two, it is exactly specced as the manual version. So, how is it for a buyer to own? We'll find out over the coming months as we will put it through all the real-world conditions, including city commute, highway trips, family outings, or all the other situations a buyer might face and the regular jaunts they undertake.
First, let's look at what this top-spec RXZ version packs in. The layered dashboard has a nice design though the plastic quality isn't top-notch. Many parts like the switches, stalks, start-stop button, steering wheel etc. are shared with the Triber. However, the Kiger gets steering mounted controls and a digital instrument cluster that provides loads of information. There are lots of storage and stowage places which we will talk about in the upcoming reports in detail along with seating comfort. It gets automatic climate control, ambient lighting, and an eight-inch touchscreen system that supports Apple CarPlay and even wireless Android Auto. Yet, the Kiger misses out on the more premium but in-demand features like a sunroof and ventilated leather seats. Moreover, only the lower glove box is cooled and not the centre tunnel storage. Then, it doesn't get hill-hold. So, how much of a difference will this make in the long run? We'll see.
Do note that this is the 2021 model and if you were to buy the latest iteration, it also gets some add-on features. These include an air filter, cruise control, and a wireless phone charger. I would have loved to have the latter two, but I'm good without the new red dashboard accent or quilted upholstery with red stitching that the new one gets. On the outside too, there's a Turbo badging on the side beading and the alloy wheels get red inserts. However, the dual-tone with a black roof, that you can see here, is carried over. Now, apart from a new chrome strip at the back, one can have a black applique connecting the tail lamps. Which, by the way, I'm not really fond of and am glad this one doesn’t get it.
Under the sculpted bonnet of this compact SUV is a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine producing 99bhp of power and 160Nm of torque. This three-cylinder mill isn't one of the most refined engines but is fairly silent, be it in the eco, normal, or sport driving mode. Our further reports will detail how the engine and gearbox response changes with the different modes. Still, the CVT gearbox feels smooth with its shift quality and the throttle feels well-calibrated too. With a ground clearance of 205mm and 16-inch alloys, you must have figured that Renault has specifically designed this car for Indian driving conditions. So, I'm also hoping it does manage well.
In terms of safety, Renault has made quite a statement with the Kiger as it has bagged four stars for adult safety and two for child occupant at the crash tests by the Global NCAP. This SUV offers four airbags (driver, front passenger, driver side, front passenger side) and ABS with EBD. Then, there are front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, and if you aren't disciplined — driver and co-driver seatbelts and speed alert to remind you as well. Additionally, the carmaker has equipped it with a speed-sensing door lock, speed impact sensing door unlock, a foldable rear-row seat with adjustable headrests, and even Isofix anchorage for the child seat. All promising enough while upping the safety quotient.
We'll follow our regular style of reporting the city performance first, followed by the SUV’s highway performance. The Kiger has a tough task up ahead, especially with the rising temperatures in May paired with the never-ending traffic in Mumbai. We'll see how it performs with many other regular tasks while being used as a daily driver. Stay tuned for our upcoming reports on drivability, fuel efficiency, practicality, and more.
Version: 1.0 turbo petrol / CVT automatic / RXZ
Kilometres this month: 380km
Fuel Efficiency: 12.3kmpl
Price: Rs 12.3 lakh (when tested)
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi