2016 Renault Kwid AMT review, test drive

    The popular Kwid now gets the convenience of AMT. We take it for a spin on Navi Mumbai's roads to see what it brings to the table.

    Published on Nov 04, 2016 06:50:00 PM


    What’s it like to drive?

    By not offering any manual gear change option, Renault seems to be very confident about the AMT’s gear-shifting abilities. So, how does it take off from rest? For starters there is no creep function, so you can take your foot off the brake pedal and the car remains stationary in neutral. While this may be convenient, it’s not very safe as you can roll back on an incline or if someone rear ends you, you could end up hitting the car in front of you. According to Renault, this function has been given a miss due to feedback from AMT car owners. We would have preferred the function as it is quite handy. But having said that, most AMTs fail to get it right and the creep feels more like a jump or leap.

    Once you press the accelerator, the clutch engages smoothly and offers you a controlled and progressive start. Of course it would have been smoother with a manual, but as far as AMTs go, this one makes quite an impression. We began our drive on open roads, and shifting through the gears does take a fraction of a second, but the pause between shifts that gives AMT's their typical 'head-nod' is very minimal. It’s only when you open up the throttle that the nod gets more noticeable and some gear changes will be accompanied by a clunky noise. But everyday driving situations with part throttle won't really be a hassle. Renault’s decision to use only one ECM seems to be paying off. The gearbox also does not second-guess that often, and the shifts, in most cases, are exactly what you would expect.

    Every AMT requires the use of the handbrake on inclines and so does the Kwid. There is some amount of rollback before the car can move forward, but here too it is far lower than typical. We’ve tested some AMTs that require so much throttle input that it moves straight into wheelspin. With the Kwid, however, there is no such drama.

    The 1.0-litre engine is unchanged and outputs the same 68hp at 5,500rpm and 91Nm of torque at 4,250rpm as in the manual. So there is adequate power for most overtaking moves and highway cruising. What's nice is that the Kwid AMT delivers 24.04 kpl. which is just over 1 kpl higher than the manual car. 

    Should I buy one?

    There are times when you'll miss having the option of shifting gears manually, like when you’re in a hurry and would like a greater degree of control. But Renault’s AMT is still the one of the best 'boxes we have tested. It doesn't have the drawbacks typical of AMTs, the clutch engagement is smooth and progressive offering you a well-controlled start, and there is very little ‘head-nod’ between shifts. Additionally, the AMT-equipped Kwid offers a slightly better mileage than the manual car. So, with what is probably the best AMT in the business, and strengths like cabin space, good feature list and excellent ride, we certainly recommend this version of the Kwid.

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