First Drive

2016 Renault Kwid AMT review, test drive

The popular Kwid now gets the convenience of AMT. We take it for a spin on Navi Mumbai's roads to see what it brings to the table.

DETAILS
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What is it?

The Kwid’s success came as no surprise. In a segment full of bland cars, it stood out with its SUV-like looks, its good list of features, especially the much-coveted touchscreen, and unlike what was expected from a small car, it offered space and a decent ride as well. Not one to take it slow, in just 11 months since the car's launch, Renault added a 1.0-litre engine option to the line-up as well.

The Kwid has won over 90,000 customers since its launch in September 2015, and has vaulted itself into the league of market leader Maruti. To further strengthen its appeal, the carmaker has now introduced an automatic gearbox on the 1.0-litre variant. Once the preserve of only higher-segment cars, automatic gearboxes are now sought after in the budget segment too, thanks to the affordable AMT technology. 

On the styling front, the Kwid 1.0 AMT looks just like the regular car, except for a small ‘EASY-R’ logo at the rear. The AMT is also only offered on the top-end RXT (O) trim which offers a driver airbag as standard.

What's it like on the inside?

What sticks out, or rather does not, is the lack of a gear lever. In its place is a fairly deep storage space. Where all other AMTs have a gear lever to select the driving mode, the Kwid has a dash-mounted rotary knob instead. The next surprise is the inability to manually influence a gearshift, as there is no lever to tip or paddles to flip, and the knob only offers three choices, forward, backward or neutral. The AMT tuning then had better be spot on. Renault has given the Kwid AMT a setup unlike others and a lot of the work has been done in-house working closely with Bosch for the hardware and FEV for the software. While the other setups use two ECMs (one for the engine and one for the gearbox) in the interests of costs, the Kwid has one ECM for both the engine and the gearbox and this makes the communication and control quicker and smoother.

Coming to the rest of the cabin, the AMT variant is similar to the manual car, which is a good thing as you get that ample room and usable storage spaces like the twin gloveboxes and the large 300-litre boot. There is also the unique touchscreen and the digital speedometer unit.

About the author...

Sergius Barretto

Sergius has been a part of the automotive industry for 18 years, fixing, selling, training and consulting on all things automotive. Auto enthusiast by birth. Auto engineer by education. Now auto journalist by profession.

Recent articles by Sergius:
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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 215 | Autocar India: July 2017

We’ve exclusively driven the third-gen Maruti Swift, compared the Dzire with all its compact sedan rivals, and tested the all-new Volvo XC60. That and lots more in the July 2017 issue!
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