Hot wheels: Renault unveils a new chapter

Hot wheels: Renault unveils a new chapter
Highlights

Hot Wheels: Renault Unveils A New Chapter. An automaker’s concept prototype and the end result are quite similar to what general elections are in India.

An automaker’s concept prototype and the end result are quite similar to what general elections are in India. So, when Renault exhibited a concept prototype of the Kwid at the last Auto Expo in Delhi, it was evident that the design is way far’fetched and too good to be true.

But when it was told that Kwid is on the newly emerged compact SUV segment standing tall against Renault’s own well established Duster and would take the Ford EcoSport head on, we loved it.

And then finally, Renault took the wraps off the Kwid last week. ‘We were disappointed.’

The promised compact SUV was nothing close to what SUVs looks like. The car was an 800cc hatch or at the more a crossover, for it’s pasted with claddings all around.

Until, yesterday we didn’t know the power as well. But now, a report issued by Team-BHP says the engine will develop 57 bhp (42 kW). (Rumours, rumours… everywhere)

But, then when they said that the vehicle would priced between Rs 3 and 4 lakh. Our respect for Renault has suddenly escalated. For Kwid is no SUV but an entry level car from Renault, and very truly we tell you, this is the coolest and the best looking hatch in town.

The vehicle has landed in the major volume churner segment of small cars, and will face most fierce competition with rivals like Maruti Suzuki Alto K10, WagonR and Hyundai Eon that are leading the segment. To accomplish high sales, Kwid has to be an ace in the hole, just like the Duster.

There are reasons why we have started liking the Kwid. The presence of a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system is quite impressive. The screen supports all the crucial media functions such as Audio, Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity as well as module for Sat-nav Technology. The finishing around the touchscreen is in piano black, known for being a fingerprint magnet. The screen has been seen previously on Renault’s expensive models such as Duster and Lodgy. In this price bracket, the touchscreen infotainment will be a surprise package.

The second most impressive feature of Kwid is its digital instrument cluster. The digital cluster features a large readout for speedometer complete with a digital fuel gauge at the right. The cluster has been given a futuristic look with its orange back– lighting and a thin LCD strip at the base that acts as MID.

Developed on Renault-Nissan alliance’s global CMF-A platform, Renault Group Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said, it was a combined effort from engineers in France, Japan and India. The car will have 98 per cent localisation, he said, adding that it could be exported to neighbouring countries only as shipping it to other emerging markets like Latin America will not be cost-effective.

The small sized hatch segment lack in looks field as Alto K10 and Wagon R are not good lookers, yes they could be better than their previous generations but when compared to Kwid or Eon they fall short of looks. Eon is a good looking car, but the crossover-like resemblance makes the Kwid a better and more stylish vehicle than the competition. And as we Indians have an affinity towards SUVs, this upcoming Renault’s offspring will work for many of us. The major design highlights include pronounced wheel arches, all-around body cladding, flickered bonnet, an incredibly placed nose flanked by blacked out headlamps, imposing fog lamp housing and a classy rear. All of that is seldom seen in the class it belongs to.

“The Kwid will be a game changer and it will be at the entry-level segment that accounts for 25 per cent of the Indian car market today,” Ghosn said after unveiling the car. Renault has also set a target of cornering 5 per cent market share in India and the new car will play a big role in it.

Augustin Kurian

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