The Maruti Alto is still India’s best selling car by a comfortable margin, but it’s safe to say Renault’s latest hot-cake, the Kwid, is encroaching on its territory. As of March 2016, the Alto outsells the Kwid by a factor of about 2:1, which says quite a lot about the Kwid, which has been around for only a little over six months. When the Santro started getting long in the tooth, Hyundai introduced the Eon to take on the Alto. Unfortunately, it was never able to achieve the same kind of success, selling fewer units than even its more expensive stablemate, the Grand i10. And now with the upcoming Redigo, Datsun has the Alto in its cross-hairs too.
Built on the highly indigenised CMF-A platform that also gave us the Kwid, the Redigo is Datsun’s bid at sales success in India, given the lacklustre performance of its first two launches, the Go and Go+. While an all-out head-to-head comparison between the Redigo, its French cousin, the Eon and Maruti’s stalwart won’t be too long from now, here’s how the baby Datsun stacks up against its rivals on paper.
The Redigo sticks to the design of the original concept that was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo. In the process, it looks a lot more expensive than its expected Rs 2.5 lakh price suggests. Also, its urbane, mono-volume, ‘tall-boy’ styling is a marked departure from the Kwid’s muscular design. Datsun has also given the Redigo a planted stance by pushing its wheels out to the extremities of the body, and in the process, leaving very short overhangs. The short bonnet too hints at the carmaker’s attempts at maximising interior space.
It was the Hyundai Eon that first offered a truly attractive design in the budget hatchback segment. It challenged the Alto’s basic looks with its ‘fluidic’ design, replete with curves, and broke the mould for the class. However, it was the Kwid that wowed Indian buyers with its SUV-esque looks, thus far unheard of in this segment. The square shape and big chrome grille give it such an upmarket appeal, that you can ignore some of the ‘budget’ details like the very basic wing mirrors and the small, three-nut wheels. As for the Alto, on the design front, there’s little to write home about – as with most Marutis, it’s very safe and unadventurous with a view to appealing to the widest possible audience; a strategy that’s clearly worked all these years.
The Kwid, at 3,679mm and 1,579mm, is the longest and widest among the three. It’s a close fight between the Redigo and the Eon; the Eon being marginally longer at 3,495mm, with the Redigo being wider of the two, spanning 1,560mm. Despite its small foot-print, intelligently liberates space vertically with its 1,541mm height, which makes it the tallest in the segment. Measuring 1,500mm high, the Eon comes in at a close second. The Alto is the smallest of the three in all dimensions, spanning 3,395mm long, 1,490mm wide and 1,475mm tall. Between the axles too, the Kwid spans the longest at 2,422mm. The Redigo sports a wheelbase approximately 70mm shorter than the Kwid, making the Datsun a close match for the Alto and Eon, that measure 2,360mm and 2,380mm in the wheelbase.
|Datsun Redigo||Renault Kwid||Maruti Alto 800||Hyundai Eon|
|Boot Space||220 litres||300 litres||160 litres||215 litres|
The Kwid famously has a 300-litre boot, which is as much as cars from two segments above. Here too, the Redigo is second to the Kwid, packing a 220-litre boot, just five litres more than the Eon. The Alto follows at a distant third with a boot capacity of 160-litres.
Though the Kwid is the one that looks like an SUV, it’s the Redigo that has slightly more ground clearance; it sits 185mm off the ground, 5mm higher than the Kwid. The Eon has a ground clearance of 170mm, while with 160mm of clearance, the Alto’s the lowest slung of the three. The Redigo and the Kwid run on 13-inch wheels, while the Alto and Eon get smaller 12-inchers. At 645kg, the Redigo is also the lightest car here, the Kwid and the Alto weighing 670kg and 695kg respectively. The Hyundai meanwhile tips the scales at 715kg.
Engine and Gearbox
The Kwid and the Redigo share the same powertrain, namely a 799cc, three-cylinder petrol motor mated to a five-speed manual transmission. This motor churns out 54hp and 72Nm of peak power and torque. Given the small weight advantage that the Redigo has over the Kwid, expect the Datsun to be the sprightlier of the two. However, if there is a difference in the way the engine and gearbox are tuned, that might not hold true, because as we’ve seen, despite the Alto’s 796cc, three-pot petrol motor making just 48hp and 68Nm and the car having a weight disadvantage, it’s actually quicker to accelerate than the Kwid. The Eon’s 814cc three-cylinder is the largest and boasts the biggest numbers, 56hp and 74.5Nm. However, we found its performance to be a middle-ground between that of the Alto and the Kwid, and we’ll just have to see how it fares against the Datsun.
|Engine and Gearbox|
|Datsun Redigo||Renault Kwid||Maruti Alto 800||Hyundai Eon|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual||5-speed manual||5-speed manual||5-speed manual|
Safety & Equipment
The touchscreen was a real selling point on the Renault Kwid, since the feature was unheard of in a car at its price point. Datsun will, however, skip the touchscreen with the Redigo, at least at launch (which is in May), to eke out the price advantage over the Kwid. Both the Kwid and the Redigo come equipped with a driver-side airbag, albeit only on their top-end variant. The Alto and Eon on the other hand offer a driver-side airbag as an option across their variant ranges, with only the base variant of the Eon missing out on the safety feature. All four cars though, miss out on ABS.
At the outset, the Datsun Redigo has the makings of a hot-selling entry-hatchback. With prices expected to start around the Rs 2.5-lakh mark, the Redigo will undercut both the Maruti Alto and the Renault Kwid, both of which start upwards of Rs 2.6-lakh ex-showroom. With prices starting at Rs 3.24 lakh, the Hyundai Eon is the priciest in the lot, and by quite a margin at that, considering this segment’s cost-conscious buyers. However, its unique style quotient might make it worth the premium for some.
Coming back to the Redigo, despite being a promising prospect, it wears a badge that India hasn’t exactly warmed up to. And so, it remains to be seen if the baby Datsun can repeat the Renault Kwid’s success and make life more difficult for the Maruti Alto.