The Renault Kwid turned out to be a blockbuster for the French carmaker in India when it was introduced back in 2015. Taking on the Maruti Suzuki Alto in its backyard, the Kwid had a few tricks up its sleeves. Firstly, it flaunted an SUV-ish styling which was pretty novel at the time. Then it packed many segment-first features like touchscreen and digital instrument cluster. So it instantly became a hit amongst the Indian car buyers and Renault has managed to keep it relevant in its lucrative market with regular updates. In October last year, the mid-life update for the Kwid was launched. The facelift came with newer styling, updated features and it also got BS6 compliant powertrain. Let us take a look at this detailed comparison between the outgoing model and the new Kwid and see what has changed.
Exterior and Styling
If the older Kwid looked butch and eccentric, the updated Kwid can be called as modern and chic. The completely redesigned fascia of the hatchback is a big uplift over the outgoing design which was starting to look dated. The handsome headlamps flanking the blacked-out grille is now replaced by two-tier units and a redesigned grille. This Transformers-like fascia has the upper part of the headlamp as a sleek and bright DRL, while a larger unit is placed lower down the bumper. Even the grille gets horizontal louvres and carries the shape of European Renault models.
In terms of dimensions and silhouette nothing’s changed since it’s a facelift and not a generation change. At the back, there’s new LED tail lamps that are new and the bumper now adorn reflectors on either side. But everything else has remained untouched. Part of the update is the new Zanskar Blue body paint. Meanwhile, the Climber edition also gets the necessary pizzazz with contrast colour accents. Overall, the updated Kwid looks much more appealing than the outgoing model with a perfect blend of modern styling and SUV-ish stance.
Interior and Features
Where the older Kwid debuted an all-digital infotainment system and a touchscreen, the new one takes it a notch higher. The older monochromatic digital driver’s display grabbed attention when it was introduced almost five years back. So the new one gets more colours, additional information and a tachometer which was missing in the older unit. There’s also a new steering wheel design with chrome and piano-black inserts making it feel more upmarket. However, there are still no steering-mounted controls.
Occupying the centre place on the redesigned dashboard is the new MediaNav Evolution infotainment screen which comes with all the connectivity options like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth and voice commands. There’s more piano black surround for the touchscreen with subtle chrome accents, which surely feels premium for the segment. But the most significant and welcome change here is the reposition of gear dial in the AMT. It was previously located on the centre console and caused a hindrance to rest the driver’s left knee. Now the dial is moved to its conventional place, however we think a proper gear lever would have been a better option. Meanwhile, the placement of the window switches is the same and takes some time getting used to. The passenger-side upper glove-box on the old car has been done away with. However, in its place the new model gets a co-driver airbag, which we think is a fair trade-off. On the flip side, the Kwid still doesn’t get an internal adjustment for the ORVMs, which is a bummer.
That is where the changes end. So the front seats continue to offer good support and the visibility is good too. The steering feels nice to hold and everything else inside the cabin falls within an arm’s reach. However, three abreast in the back bench might feel a bit claustrophobic. Apart from that, the boot capacity of 279 litres is more than what the S-Presso offers.
Engine and Performance
Powering the Kwid is the choice of two familiar motors – 0.8-litre and 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines – both are now BS6 compliant. The former puts out 53bhp/72Nm while the latter is good for a modest 67bhp/91Nm. These engines are paired to a five-speed manual transmission as standard while the 1.0-litre unit is available with an AMT. We have driven the 1.0-litre AMT version of the new Kwid and found the motor to be quite silent and refined for a three-pot unit. However, on acceleration, it starts sounding tinny while some vibrations can be felt on inside. Although the car isn't exactly peppy to drive, it doesn't feel lethargic or ungainly. The motor is on par for usual city jaunts, and power comes in a very linear manner. But, out on the highway, you need to plan your overtaking maneuver carefully. And one complaint here is that the AMT still doesn't get a manual mode. Otherwise, the Kwid continues to be a good city car thanks to its compact dimensions.
With the update, Renault has managed to improve the Kwid while also retaining the hatchback’s strong points. Although it’s gotten slightly more expensive, the Kwid is still reasonably appealing to the first time buyers thanks to its striking design, well-packaged interior, light driving controls, and practical cabin. Combining it with the easy-to-drive credentials makes the Renault Kwid a no-nonsense city runabout.
Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi