Renault XBA (Kayou) spotted testing in Chennai ahead of its global debut

Despite its presence in the Indian market since 2010, Renault's only success in India till date has been the Duster. The rest of its models, from the Pulse hatchback to the Koleos SUV, have failed to find favour in the tough and demanding Indian market. Of course, we have discounted the just-launched Lodgy MPV here which might bring in some numbers for the French brand. But, this car could completely rewrite Renault's fortunes in our market. 

Spotted testing in the busy GST Road in Chennai a few hours back by our ardent reader Govind Prasad, this small car codenamed 'XBA' holds Renault's ticket for entry into the big league in India. What else can we say about a car that's set to lock horns with the mighty Maruti-Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon? The former has been the largest-selling car in India since 2004 while the latter, despite being a distant second in the segment, still sells more than Renault's entire lineup every month.

Widely reported to be called 'Kayou', this small car would likely be the most-affordable Renault model worldwide and is set to make its global debut in India. Despite its thick camouflage inside and out, Renault's intentions with this car are clear. This is going to be a low-cost model targeted at the value-conscious first-time Indian car buyers. That explains the basic rear view mirrors made of black plastic and the single windshield wiper that is similar to the one that the Datsun Go has. Also visible are the small wheels, possibly 13 inchers held in place by just 3 bolts each, and the relatively larger wheel wells. The car also appears visibly larger than the Alto and Eon and seems to be sitting higher too with broad shoulders and thick C-pillars.

Renault continues to remain tight-lipped on the potential engine and transmission options on its next big launch. The 3-cylinder, 1.2-liter petrol engine that powers its siblings (Pulse, Micra and Go) is a strong contender to power the XBA (Kayou) but Renault is said to be working on a new 0.8-liter petrol engine too which is the norm for this segment. Apart from a 5-speed manual transmission, an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), the new buzzword in the market, is also said to be on the cards. Renaults have always been fairly robust and hold up well in the harsh Indian market and we expect the XBA (Kayou) to follow that tradition. 

If Renault manages to bring an eye-catching design and an acceptable interior quality, the XBA (Kayou) might hit the jackpot big time. Of course, beating Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai would be a monumental task. The Datsun Go, that made its global debut in India as a stripped-down low-cost car with much fanfare, bit the dust teaching Nissan and Renault tough lessons in the process. Let's hope Renault learnt from the whole fiasco and succeeds in making the XBA (Kayou) a success. Should the Alto be worried? Nah, nothing can touch it now. Should the Eon then be worried? Hmm, may be yes. Bring it on, Renault!


  1. This looks too big and bulky for an entry-level hatchback. Is this a crossover?

    1. This isn't a crossover but yes, this appears big for the segment it targets.