The last time we wrote about our long-term Kwid (May 2016), the budget hatchback was fresh in the market and, naturally, there was a lot of curiosity around it. I had lost count of the number of people who asked me about it when driving around town. But now that there are more Kwids on the road and the hype has dwindled, MH 02 EE 2136 and I have settled into normality. And I have my list of likes and dislikes.
For one, I’m happy to report the fuel economy has steadily improved as the engine has opened up. The Kwid is averaging between 11.5-12.5kpl. Sure, the figure seems low, but for the chock-a-block first-second gear traffic that is my daily commute, it’s rather good. And its ride quality continues to win appreciation, not just from me alone but from anyone whose travelled with me on the minefield that are Mumbai roads. Of course, the Kwid’s touchscreen infotainment system has been winning praise too, especially from my little nephews who love to fiddle around with it. Given how good the system is, the twin speakers located on either end of the dashboard could have been better. They tend to rustle soon and sound quality is so-so. I would recommend an upgrade with a proper four-speaker setup.
Touchscreen infotainment a major draw.
I’m keen to try out the more powerful new Kwid 1.0 because, going by what my colleagues who’ve driven it tell me, Renault has fixed most of the faults of this Kwid. This car’s 0.8 engine, though adequate for the city, isn’t too great. The motor’s jerky low-speed power delivery is something I just haven’t managed to get used to, and there’s also insufficient grunt for highway use. Overtaking on dual carriageways isn’t easy and I have to shift down a cog or two to extract maximum juice from the engine. It’s quite noisy as well and you hear that constant whine in the cabin at all speeds; it gets quite annoying after a while. Also, the clutch has become a bit harder, which is not good for a car this new. If the 1.0 is an improvement, paying that extra Rs 23,000 over the 0.8 is a no-brainer in my books.
So far, the Kwid has only carried around one person or maybe just two. But with the holiday season just around the corner, it is bound to head out for a few airport runs and short outstation trips, which is when the rear seats and the boot space would be put to good use. More on that in our next report.