Compact SUVs comprise one of the biggest, fastest growing segments in the Indian car market. Consequently, any car manufacturer that hopes to do well in India must have one or more compact (sub-4metre) SUVs in their line-up. Renault, which is already the bestselling European car brand in India, is a trendsetter in its own right. Renault India, which has earlier blazed a trail of success in the Indian market with products like the Duster, the SUV-inspired Kwid hatchback and the Triber, is aiming to take the lead in the compact SUV segment as well, with the all-new Kiger.
The first pictures of the Kiger show car, which was unveiled last month, exhibit a smart, edgy, thoroughly contemporary design. With its flared wheel arches, short overhangs, aggressive stance and exuberant styling, the Kiger certainly looks like an SUV that could do very well in India, especially since Renault says the production model will be about eightypercent similar to the show car. If they can pull that off, it will be quite a coup for Renault.
Renault unveiled the Kiger show car last month, and the SUV is expected to be launched in March of next year.
A Global Contender
The Renault Kiger is expected to be launched in the first quarter of next year, and it will subsequently also be launched in various other markets globally. Built on Renault’s CMFA+ platform (which it shares with the Triber), the Kiger will be powered with an all-new turbocharged engine equipped with the latest technologies. Renault promises the Kiger will be exciting to drive, and they could very well be right. The Kiger show car is the result of a collaboration between Renault’s design teams in France and India, and the production vehicle’s distinctive styling will be one of its key USPs. In terms of functionality, innovation in design, performance and drivability, Renault is aiming to raise the bar and set new standards in the compact SUV segment, with the Kiger. According to the company, the Kiger’s CMFA+ platform will also translate into a generous amount of cabin space, which is something that buyers will certainly appreciate.
The Triber has the largest wheelbase among sub-four-metre cars
Renault is one of the few car companies that have developed a deep understanding of the Indian car buyer, which helps them innovate and build cars that Indian consumers love. A case in point is the Duster, an SUV which saw unprecedented success upon its launch in 2012. With its unique blend of styling, ruggedness, performance and efficiency, the Duster won the 2013 Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) award and has, in subsequent years, continued to carve a niche for itself. The Duster, in fact, is credited with redefining the compact SUV segment. That Renault chose to provide timely updates in the context of new engine and transmission options (including a powerful and refined turbo-petrol engine — the most powerful in its segment — and CVT automatic, which have been very well received) also contributed to the Duster’s success story in a big way.
Kwid, the SUV-inspired small hatchback proved that a budget hatchback need not be basic. It also kickstarted the micro-SUV trend. With customer-friendly features like an automated manual transmission (AMT), which made driving in congested city traffic so much easier, and cutting-edge infotainment and connectivity features, the Kwid, which has an impressive ground clearance of 180mm, has been a big hit with young car buyers, who are enamoured of the car’s
SUV-inspired styling, snazzy cabin and cool vibe. In July this year, Kwid sales crossed the 350,000 units mark, making it one of the most successful small hatchbacks currently on sale in India, a commendable accomplishment in the face of stiff competition in the domestic market. It must also be noted here that the Kwid, which is manufactured at 98 percent localisation, is one of the most successful ‘make in India’ stories in the Indian automotive industry.
In a similar vein, the Triber changed the game in terms of space and modularity. It provides flexible 5+2 seating in a compact and affordable package has also been a big hit. Renault took cognizance of the fact that Indian car buyers often need to travel with extended family, hence a car that can seat up to seven people when required is a great option, especially when you factor in its fuel efficiency and low running costs. At 2,636 mm, the Triber has the largest wheelbase among sub-four-metre cars and space saved by its small engine has been handed over to the cabin. Quite naturally, customers love the convenience that comes with Triber’s optional automatic transmission, the power and drivability of its 1.0-litre petrol engine and the sheer space for people and luggage it offers.
Getting back to the Kiger, going by its pathbreaking design and the subtle hints that Renault has provided regarding the new compact SUV’s performance potential, it could well be a contender for the top spot in its class when its launched next year. The Triber has already established that the CMFA+ platform is one that provides generous amounts of space and comfort, and since the Kiger uses the same platform, it shouldn’t be lacking terms of cabin space. We’re also sure the new turbo-petrol engine will provide strong power delivery combined with high levels of efficiency. Also, looking at the practical aspects of ownership, Renault India’s 415 sales and 475+ service touchpoints (which include 200+ ‘workshop on wheels’ locations across the country) make the brand widely accessible. With low running costs, easy parts availability and high standards of customer service, Renault may well be poised to increase its market share in a big way in the near future. And, yes, we fully expect the new Kiger to lead the way for Renault in India in the months to follow.