When Siddharth Singh called us up for advice on the right car to buy recently, we knew he would expect a lot from the automobile he would put his money down on. Singh, 28, is a professional footballer who has played for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League, and represented Team India in the six-a-side Socca World Cup in 2019.
As a youngster, he trained at Arsenal under Tata Tea’s soccer programme, was coached in England by former English footballer Gary Charles, and played in Australia for a bit with Manningham United. Singh is also among the more well-regarded fitness influencers in South Mumbai; and sports has been a way of life with him for as long as he can remember.
It didn’t take us long to provide Singh with the answer he was looking for. The all-new Renault Kiger appeared to be the car that could keep pace with Singh’s fast, frenetic lifestyle. It also echoed with Singh’s philosophy of not just working hard and achieving your goals, but also being smart about it. So, we made a deal. Singh would ‘teach’ us how to get better at football, at an informal boot camp, and we would, in turn, introduce him to Renault’s exciting new SUV.
LOOKING THE PART
Sid Singh doesn’t have an inch of fat on his body, and he can really sprint. It’s no wonder Singh took to the Kiger the moment we landed up at the ground where he trains. The Kiger’s stunning, muscular looks have, in fact, earned it admiration from all quarters.
There’s that large chrome-embellished grille and sculpted bonnet that announce its presence; and a raked rear windscreen and tapering roofline dial in pizzazz at the rear. The Kiger is equipped with a split-headlamp arrangement, with the LED DRLs and turn indicators coming above the main headlamp cluster. The 3D, C-shaped LED tail-lamps with gloss black elements look delicious.
The Kiger’s visual dynamism is further enhanced by the 3D graphic finish with honeycomb-shaped chromed effects and the aerodynamic spoiler. Add 205mm of ground clearance, roof rails and snazzy, 16-inch diamond-cut alloys, and you’re looking at an SUV that cuts a striking figure. Singh thought it looked “smashing” and that he could see himself in it.
BEST FOOT FORWARD
The Kiger’s interiors are a perfect amalgam of space, tech, and premium touches.
Singh is clearly an ace at what he does, and his training – hours and hours of it – is testament to what it takes when you have to perform at the highest level. And he uses technology – smart watches, apps, you name it – to keep track of how far he has come and how much further he has to go. Like most young men and women of today, he is also quick to adapt when the situation demands. Over the last year, Singh harnessed the power of technology, and his reach on social media, and took his popular Get Fit with Sid programme online. Clearly, this is a man who understands technology and appreciates when others use it in a similar way to optimise work, life – and commutes. It’s no wonder, then, that Singh took to the Kiger’s smart cabin instantly. Of course, the Kiger delivers segment-leading roominess, storage and space, but it’s also all done with inimitable style. Cases in point are the piano-style control dials, suspended air-conditioning controls, a slick and intuitive 8.0-inch floating touchscreen and a 7.0-inch Multi-Skin Reconfigurable TFT colour cluster. The infotainment system offers everything, from voice recognition via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and quick shortcuts to preferred functions, to Bluetooth connectivity that’s capable of pairing with up to five devices, and a built-in MP4 video player. But what really got Singh’s attention is the way the graphics on the high-res digital instrument cluster change, depending on the drive mode one is in. It’s called Multi-Sense, and it’s quite the cool thing. There are other things Singh loved about the Kiger’s cabin. Roominess was, of course, one, and, thanks to the Kiger’s best-in-segment couple distance between seat at the front (710mm); second row legroom (222mm) and elbow room, Singh felt that a bunch of his football mates could fit inside without undue problems. What about their kits? The Kiger’s best-in-class boot capacity (405 litres, which expands to 879 litres with the second row folded) takes care of that. And he flipped out over the Arkamys Auditorium 3D Sound system that comes with eight onboard speakers and automatically adjusts volume according to the speed of the vehicle, and the hands-free smart access card that takes charge of locking, unlocking and even starting the engine without the need of a key fob.
There are many things inside the Kiger that make you smile, like the Arkamys Auditorium 3D Sound System that comes with 8 speakers.
We horsed around for a bit at the boot camp, with Singh running circles around us on the field. It was a reminder that we need to up our fitness levels, and then we got into the car and aimed to match Singh, as he dribbled the ball between the cones, and we followed suit slaloming the car about. Finally, boot camp over, we hit the road to help Singh discover the sprightliness of the Renault Kiger.
Carry your life with you? You’ll love the Kiger’s class-leading 405-litre boot.
Renault knows how to turn hot air into horsepower, and their advances in F1 in the 1970s is ample proof of their expertise in turbocharging. That domain knowledge has only grown over the years, and you can feel that as the Kiger’s 100hp, 1.0-litre, turbo-petrol engine gets the car off the blocks. The Kiger also comes with a 72hp naturally aspirated petrol, and transmission options range from a 5-speed manual and AMT (for the 72hp motor) to a 5-step CVT. Our Kiger was mated to a 5-speed manual, and as far as marriages between engines and transmissions go, it was a perfect match. The Kiger’s engine is smooth and power delivery is sweetly linear, and when the turbo kicks in, it does so without any undue drama. The engine is highly responsive and possesses great low-range grunt.
The Kiger’s 100hp turbo-petrol is highly responsive and tractable.
Quick taps on the accelerator take care of rush hour traffic, and with backlit steering wheel controls that help access a range of functions, like rear-view camera, parking sensors and a PM2.5 Clean Air Filter (another segment-first), the Kiger is smartly kitted out for the big-city life. Out on winding, clear stretches, the Kiger displayed exemplary road behaviour. On the outskirts of the city, the Renault exhibited great body control and delivered tons of grip. Singh found the Kiger’s handling to be confidence-inspiring and the way the SUV’s perfectly set-up suspension handled bad roads reminded him a lot of the Renault Duster. The thrill of driving the Kiger is amped up by the three multi-sense driving modes. Controlled via a rotary dial on the centre console, the modes – Normal, Eco and Sports – significantly influence the Kiger’s performance, with the SUV being markedly more responsive in Sports. The cool bit, as mentioned earlier, is how the graphics on the digital dashboard correspond to the mode the car is in. In Sports, for example, you get power and torque usage and a G-meter as well. In many ways, the Renault Kiger is primed for performance, like an athlete. It’s nippy and highly manoeuvrable in the city, and also as accomplished when it comes to long hauls with friends or family. Plus, as importantly, it is also the most affordable SUV in its segment. So, what does Sid Singh, among the fittest athletes we know, think about it? Hey, where are the keys of the Kiger? Ah, guess it takes one athlete to know another.
Renault India’s immersive and interactive Virtual Studio now lets you experience the Kiger like never before – from the comfort of your home. Get a 360-degree view of the Kiger, with day, night, and studio backgrounds, along with a seamless exterior and interior experience of all grades. From checking out the price of the Kiger to booking a test drive, there’s a lot you can do online with Renault. Hit renault.co.in for more details.
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