WHAT IS IT?
The Renault Kwid gets an update for 2018. Yes, it’s difficult to tell this 2018 version apart from older versions; but if you look closer, you’d notice the new chrome grille at the front and new graphics on the sides. It’s a smart-looking car and continues to stand out in the crowd of budget hatchbacks for its squared-out pseudo-SUV look.
WHAT’S IT LIKE ON THE INSIDE?
The basic design and layout remains unchanged from earlier Kwids but the cabin does get its own share of updates. Chrome on the inside door handles and gear knob of manual Kwids are some of the small details that help spruce up the look of things inside. Quality, however, remains fair for this class of car – but no more. As before, the Kwid boasts of a digital speedometer and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both of which are elements that uplift the cabin's ambience tremendously.
Impressively, the touchscreen is also the display for the Kwid’s new rear view camera – a first-in-segment feature. It’s a helpful feature but when the camera gets dirty on a wet day, you’d wish the package included sensors, as well. Other revisions inside include the incorporation of retractable rear seat belts and even a 12V charging socket. Kwid Climbers also get a class-first rear centre armrest. There’s reasonable space for four adults in the Kwid and the 300-litre boot is also usefully large.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
There have been no changes to the Kwid's engines, which means the small car still gets the same 0.8-litre and 1.0-litre engines that put out 54hp and 68hp, respectively. However, Renault has tweaked the 1.0-litre version’s AMT (Automated Manual Transmission). The system now gets a creep function that Renault calls ‘Traffic Assist’. It is basically a function that allows the car to roll ahead slightly in slow-moving traffic. This is a welcome addition but we did find the car moving forward slower than we would have liked. We’d often have to supplement Traffic Assist with a gentle dab on the throttle in crawling traffic. Still, it’s a step-up from the ‘on/off’-like low-speed inputs of the older Kwid AMTs. The AMT works best when driving with part-throttle inputs and shifts predictably enough.
What the AMT doesn’t respond well to is sudden changes to throttle input. Do so and you’ll experience the jerks and that head nod (resulting from the pause in shifts) that AMTs are notorious for. The absence of a manual mode for the AMT gearbox continues to be a downer on the Kwid.
Hill-starts can also be annoying. The Traffic Assist just doesn’t kick in and you have to hold the car on the handbrake to save it from rolling back. Reversing into a parking spot is much better than earlier, though. The slight creep helps, here.
Elsewhere, the Kwid’s strengths remain intact. It rides very well for a small car, the ground clearance comes in handy and it’s a light and easy-to-maneuver city car.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
The small updates have done their bit to improve the Kwid. The feature-additions make the little Renault more appealing and the inclusion of a creep function on the AMT has also made the car that much nicer to drive in town; although a manual mode for the gearbox would have been great, as well.
Still, considering the equipment on offer, the refreshed Kwid AMT's price-tag between Rs 4.34-4.59 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is pretty good value for money, and worth a look.