Change and progress are two things that have been constant in the Indian automotive space. Our car market has always been a difficult one to crack and automakers have tried and tested every other move in a bid to compete and survive. Eventually, game changing products have been monumental in shaping their respective brands, and the Renault Kwid with its SUV styling and many other features was one such product in the entry-level hatchback segment. Now its facelifted version is launched and Maruti Suzuki has also bounced back into the setting with by bringing in a similar proposition in the form of the new S-Presso. How do these stand against each other? We pit their AMT versions with one another to find out.
Size and appearance
The 2019 Kwid is more or less the same Kwid which was launched four years ago. That said, this facelift is the most comprehensive makeover it gets with a completely revised fascia. The headlamps have moved into the bumper making space for striking new DRLs and a new grille. The silhouette is the same but the car gets new wheel covers. Round at the back, the chiseled bumper looks neat and the tail lamps get restyled internal elements with LEDs. Overall, the compact yet butch and macho style with good proportions and stance still make the Kwid a looker.
Sadly, the same can't be said about the S-Presso, which manages to have the tall-boy stance with good ground clearance, but it isn't well proportioned. The black bumpers, exposed wheel arches and bright exterior body colours make-up for over-the-top attempts at SUV design. Still, may be rounded off wheel arches and black cladding could have given it more character.
Cabin Comfort and Space
Getting inside the S-Presso is hassle-free as there's no need to crouch like you usually do in a car. Then, you also sit considerably higher like you sit in an SUV, unlike the lower car-like seating position in the Kwid. Even the front and rear seats are comfy with sufficient side support. However, the driver's seating position is a bit weird as the steering is placed low and seat is positioned at a higher level, and sadly none of them come with any height adjustments. Taller people might struggle to find a good driving position. The same tall people generally avoid the second row of these compact entry-level cars. And reasonably so due to limited headroom, knee-room and shoulder room. However, in the S-Presso, there's quite enough space to fit them in. The interior space management is way better than in the Kwid. For average-sized individuals like me, it's quite a roomy place to be in. Slim seats, slimmer door pads and a high roof have helped carved out that space inside. That said, it could still do with taller head rests.
On the other hand, the Kwid's backrest feels more upright, while the S-Presso's backrest is a little reclined while providing better comfort. Both lack under-thigh support, but the Renault boasts of a little recessed seats which hold you in place. Otherwise, the S-Presso's second row is a flat bench. Even for the boot space, both get large and usable luggage volume. However, the Kwid undoubtedly has a wider and deeper boot. Even so, the greater height in the S-Presso’s boot means one can load up stuff one over the other too.
Interestingly, the Kwid has got better with this revamp. Colours, trims and accents feel much better than before. The new instrument cluster is easy to read with the new white blue font replacing the orange font. No doubt it has improved, but still the plastic seems cheap and is evident in its feel. That said seats with colours and fabric look better. But then again, Maruti has provided part-fabric part-faux leather, which is more practical in terms of wear and tear. Also, the S-Presso might have an unconventional instrument cluster on the centre of the dash, but it has been nicely designed. More importantly, most parts may feel average similar to those on the WagonR, but the quality of materials is consistent. Although in some of the lower sections, it’s evident that costs have been cut.
Well, things like the fit and finish and quality of materials can be discounted for in affordable cars. But in a competitive market like ours, what features you get play an important role. And both the top-spec trims of these cars are equally kitted with dual airbags, ABS, 14-inch steel wheels with caps, manual air-conditioner, digital instrument cluster, touch screen music systems with Android Auto and CarPlay amongst others. However, there are some key differences too. For example, the S-Presso gets steering-mounted controls but the Kwid doesn’t. Then, the S-Presso misses out on power windows in second row unlike the Kwid. None of them get an adjustable steering nor a driver height adjustment feature. And, while the DRLs are standard across the Kwid's trims, the ones on the S-Presso are an optional extra, and I'm told they cost quite a lot.
On the road
While one sits in the Kwid in a conventional car-like position, one sits high up in the S-Presso due to its SUV-ish stance with a good view of the road ahead. Coming to the engines, both cars are powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 67bhp of power. Yet, the S-Presso's mill is BS6-compliant and produces 90Nm of torque at 3,500rpm. Meanwhile, the Kwid continues with its BS4 engine that delivers 91Nm of torque at 4,250rpm. Yes, these are three-cylinder engines, but are they are in no way rough-running motors which can be dismissed for unwanted vibrations or the lack of smoothness. That said, both are a bit noisy after 2,500rpm but then the S-Presso sounds better at lower rpms. Also, in comparison, the Kwid's engine isn't peppy, but it feels so in the S-Presso. In fact, the engine is not only peppy but smooth through the rev range too.
Also, what we have here in both cases are engines paired to an AMT gearbox. These are tuned differently but eventually add to the convenience without the clutch and automatic gear shifts. The S-Presso instantly feels quick to get off the mark and offers better drivability too. The AMT here is nicely tuned without showing any pronounced delays in shifts. Overall it makes it feel sufficient enough to keep up with the city traffic with a good bottom-end torque. And it does make good progress even on the highway by easily cruising at triple digit speeds.
On the other hand, the Kwid's AMT could have been tuned better. Especially when the power is the same and there's not much of a difference in overall car weights. The Kwid's AMT shows pronounced shift shocks, has more delay in shifting and feels more laid back. You tend to mash the throttle more than necessary to get going and yet the car fails to make quick progress. That's not the case with the S-Presso. But then for the handling bits, the S-Presso's steering feels vague though it is nice and light to use. The steering response is subdued which also goes down to the fact that there are almost four turns lock-to-lock as against the Kwid's 3.5 turns. The Renault's steering feels quicker and provides better feedback too.
Not that owners will want to chuck these cars into a corner, but we did it to assess body roll. And it’s quite noticeable in both, but feels more pronounced in the S-Presso due to its higher stance. That said, unless driven very aggressively both can go around bends without feeling nervous. The Kwid still feels more planted. Nonetheless, the S-Presso's suspension is well tuned to absorb bumps and undulations on poorly surfaced roads. Then, the combination of the high ground clearance and long suspension travel, only makes it easier for the S-Presso, to take on rural landscapes or broken roads. The Kwid is quite capable of doing that but its suspension and tyre noise is quite audible in the cabin. Meanwhile, the S-Presso isolates this nicely and even takes bumps into its stride easily. Even the sharper-edged potholes aren't felt into the cabin as the S-Presso insulates this better, while a jolt is sent into the Kwid's cabin.
Acceleration and driveability tests
In our V-BOX tests, the S-Presso AMT outshined the Kwid by clocking a 0-100kmph sprint time of 15.37 seconds as against the Kwid AMT's relaxed 18.46 seconds. Also, when it comes to driveability, the Maruti took 11.12 seconds to complete the 40-100kmph roll on run in kickdown. Meanwhile, the Renault completed the same test in 14.07 seconds. Also, the S-Presso just took 9.48 seconds to complete the 20-80kmph run. On the other hand, the Kwid took a marginally slower time of 10.34 seconds in this same test showing the difference in the pulling power.
Before considering even the product cost, one of the most important aspect for Indian buyers is the car's fuel efficiency/mileage. And it's quite reasonable, as reducing operating expenses by buying a vehicle that gives better economy is important. Especially for people from the middle class who look for cars in this segment. The S-Presso delivered 13.77kmpl in the city and 20.15kmpl on the highway, while the Kwid returned a fuel economy of 12.3kmpl in the city and 17.7kmpl on the highway. These are pretty average fuel efficiency numbers even if the S-Presso delivers more to a litre than the Kwid.
Kwid Rank 2
Price Rs 5,73,170
The Kwid with its design, compact proportions, new-age features, equipment and the most important bit - SUV-like looks managed to woo customers till date. In fact, it's still the most handsome looking hatchback in this segment. But with time, other manufacturers also managed to pack equivalent features and equipment. And, they have taken efforts to not show clearly how they've cut costs. Nowadays, customers also seek for more than just looks in an entry-level car. And that's probably why the Kwid felt short on matching up to the S-Presso.
S-Presso Rank 1
Price Rs 5,74,406
The S-Presso then is the clear winner here. Whether you like its looks or not, you will appreciate what Maruti Suzuki has brought to the table. A mini-SUV proposition with a compact foot print, good driveability, great ride quality and all of this - not at an exorbitant price. Then, the Maruti Suzuki badge itself is good enough for prospective buyers to consider this product. And, why not when it has been conceptualised, designed, engineered and made in India. It also means easy access to service and spares, making a strong case for itself through Maruti's strong dealer network.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi
|CAR NAME||Maruti Suzuki S-Presso||Renault Kwid|
|Variant||Vxi+ AMT||RXT AMT (O)|
|Installation||Front, transverse||Front, transverse|
|Displacement||3 cyls, 998cc||3 cyls, 999cc|
|Power||67bhp at 5500rpm||68bhp at 5500rpm|
|Torque||90Nm at 3500rpm||91Nm at 4500rpm|
|Power to weight||87.01bhp per tonne||89.47bhp per tonne|
|Torque to weight||116.88Nm per tonne||119.74Nm per tonne|
|Gearbox||5-speed AMT||5-speed AMT|
|CHASSIS & BODY|
|Kerb weight (measured)||770kg||760kg|
|Tyres||165/70 R14||165/70 R14|
|Type||Rack and pinion||Rack and pinion|
|Type of assist||Electric||Electric|
|CAR NAME||Maruti Suzuki S-Presso||Renault Kwid|
|Variant||Vxi+ AMT||RXT AMT (O)|
|PERFORMANCE & BRAKING|
|20-80kmph in 3rd gear (kickdown)||9.48s||10.34s|
|40-100kmph in 4th gear (kickdown)||11.12s||14.07s|
|Tank size||35 litres||35 litres|
|Seat base length||440mm||490mm|
|Boot||240 litres||279 litres|
|Loading lip height||750mm||740mm|
|Parameters||Max points||Maruti Suzuki S-Presso AMT||Renault Kwid AMT|
|Feeling of space||20||15||14|
|IN THE CABIN|
|Feel of quality||20||13||13|