Mini Cooper, Fiat Cinquecento and VW’s Beetle are icons, agreed? Today, they are style icons and very premium, but their beginnings were modest and tasked with unglamorous chores. Pack a family of five. Be affordable. Be cheap to run. Be cool. Almost accidentally, they were also fun and charming. Cheap and cheerful? It was a wonderful thing.
Soaking in the Renault Kwid at its global unveil, I was left with a lingering feeling that Cheap & Cheerful might be making a genuine comeback here! The Kwid’s rugged style, square hood, Duster-like face are handsome but more importantly, they infuse a desire to drive. This little car has a friendly and comforting appeal mixed with an air of adventure.
On stage, we pored over the Kwid and you could see that it has been built with a keen eye on costs. But, does it feel cheap? When the plusses and minuses are tallied, the Kwid's desirability leads by a massive margin. And it isn’t just down to sentiments. Good passenger comfort for its class, extraordinary boot space, healthy ground clearance and smart interiors are begging to be used and tested. And, let's not forget the price tag! A Rs 3 lakh starting price and Rs 4 lakh for the top-end versions displayed at the launch make it a very sensible proposition!
I do hope Renault gets a bit adventurous with the Kwid too. Alloy wheels, funkier colours for the exteriors (lemon yellow Kwid anyone?), brighter interior upholstery and stuff like roof rails, side steps would make this absolutely irresistible. Hopefully, ABS gets thrown in as well for these variants. Urban customers would love it.
At standstill, it seems the Kwid has that magical combination that could elevate it to the status of a timeless icon. Or, will it be slammed down amongst the ordinary once it starts moving and shows how it drives? In the past, I have been surprised by Renault several times. The carmaker's repeated ability to set up suspensions beautifully, a black art, is the highest praise I can heap on them. hey have a history of innovating (turbocharging) and designing intelligently - Renault 16 (first hatchback), Espace (first MPV), Duster (compact and frugal SUV)? Yes, it has often been interspersed with obtuse and unappetising eclecticism, but the Renault Group seems to be have put their best foot forward with the made-for-India and made-in-India Kwid. Which is why I just can’t wait for Diwali to roll around! Because, that’s when we’ll find out whether the Kwid will earn a place in the history books, or not. But, like I said, I’ve got a good feeling about this one.