The first thing that’s quite likely to catch your attention on a top-spec Kwid is the 7.0-inch touchscreen placed on the grey dashboard. This feature, otherwise seen only in cars twice the price, is sure to be a huge draw. It’s the same unit used in the Lodgy and Duster, featuring satellite navigation, Bluetooth, aux-in and USB connectivity. The digital speedometer is again a segment first, and is large and easy to read. All four air-con vents can be clicked closed, offering the ability to completely shut one or two when they aren’t needed. Beneath the rotary AC knobs are buttons for the power windows, hazard lights and door lock/unlock. There’s also an interesting disc-shaped ‘blank’ to the right of these buttons. The Kwid will later be ◊ offered with an AMT gearbox, and we hear the gear selector will fill this blank, in the form of a rotary dial. The chunky three-spoke steering wheel is nice to hold, integrates well with the rest of the design, and looks like it belongs to a more expensive car.
The Kwid has plenty of storage spaces by class standards. For a start, there are two gloveboxes, one of which can hold a bottle, and between them is a nice cavity to store odds and ends. Ahead of the gearlever is a recess with two cupholders and a small niche that can hold your wallet or phone. The front doors can take a bottle each and a little more space for small stowage.
The seats at the front are remarkable for a car of this segment; they are reasonably big and have decent bolstering too. Also, the seating position is quite nice, with
the chairs placed at a height that makes ingress and egress a breeze. Space in the back, however, isn’t as much as the car’s SUV-like shape might lead you to believe; kneeroom is a bit tight with a tall passenger sitting in the front, thigh support isn’t great, and though headroom is good, fitting three passengers abreast would be a squeeze. By segment standards, it’s on par if not class-leading, but you can’t help but feel there could have been more. Renault has an explanation for this – most Indian families shopping in this segment usually have only kids in the back seat, and prefer a larger boot instead. Hence, rear legroom gave way to boot space, which is a whopping 300 litres – good enough for two classes above.
Interior quality isn’t great in absolute terms but pretty decent for a car of this price, with only a few rough edges letting it down. In fact, a smattering of chrome accents and the glossy black central console finish really liven things up. On the inside too, costs have been saved in areas that are less important to budget hatchback buyers. For instance, you’ll see a few exposed screws in the cabin, and there’s no tachometer, steering adjustment, internal wing mirror adjustment, ABS or inertia-reel seatbelts for rear passengers (you have to adjust the belt to fit manually each time you sit). Then again, this is par for the course in a budget hatchback, and buyers do at least get the option of a driver airbag, and of course, that touchscreen.