20150520

Kwid it is, Renault's newest entry-level model for India


This is it, folks. The all-new sub-compact car from Renault is out. And it’s not ‘Kayou’ as was widely speculated. It is christened ‘Kwid’ and has what it takes to be a big-seller in India. When we spotted this testing last week, we placed a big 'if' on it's design and styling. But now, after seeing the real deal, we are super excited! Here’s why.


Indians love Sport Utility Vehicles and crossovers. The more rugged a vehicle looks and the more presence it has, the better. That’s where the Kwid scores a perfect ten. Or should we say a nine out of ten as the puny wheels shod with thin tires spoil the show? Ignoring that aspect, the Kwid looks cool with a stance that could easily pass off for a mini SUV. Plastic cladding all around, beefy wheel arches, high ground clearance, short overhangs and what not? The Kwid could easily teach a lesson or two to all those pseudo-crossovers out there.


What appears to be another plus for the Kwid is its interiors. Though a bit drab and old-school, the Kwid’s cabin is neatly-designed and looks to be made of good quality stuff. A digital speedometer housed in a rather cheesy instrument cluster and a 7-inch MediaNav touchscreen system integrated in the center console pushes the segment’s boundaries while the Duster-like piano black garnishing adds to its aesthetic appeal. Its tall and boxy design liberates a lot of space and that should easily make the Kwid one of the most-spacious vehicles in its segment.


Following in the footsteps of the Duster facelift that debuted internationally earlier this year, the Kwid sports a structured grille flanked on either sides by sleek headlights with Renault’s new signature C-shaped chrome trim inside. The silhouette is defined by upward-sloping windows and large gaps in wheel wells while the rear features attractive wraparound taillights. When the Kwid goes on sale later this year, it would be Renault’s most-affordable model not just in India but across the globe. Looking at the pictures, that is evident. A single windshield wiper, three lug nuts holding the wheels and gaping wheel arches hint at cost cutting, which is par for the segment the Kwid targets.

When Carlos Ghosn, Chairman & CEO of Renault Group, unveiled the Kwid today in Chennai, it became the French brand’s first-ever model to have debuted outside Europe. India would be the first market to get the Kwid with Renault-Nissan’s joint venture facility in Chennai being its manufacturing location. To be powered by a 3-cylinder 800 cc petrol engine and with an indicative price tag of INR 3 - 4 Lakhs, the Renault Kwid might just be that ‘next big thing’ in the Indian automotive industry.

Even Hyundai, with all its might and the stylish Eon, couldn't pose a challenge to Maruti-Suzuki Alto’s stronghold in the Indian market. With the Kwid, Renault is taking a completely different approach towards the same target. This time, Alto might have reasons to worry. A few years down the line, we might be seeing a lot of these Kwids on Indian roads. Watch this space.

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