Maruti Suzuki rules the roost in the small car segment. Despite the best efforts of the likes of Hyundai, Tata, Datsun, General Motors, and secretly probably every other mass-market manufacturer out there, Maruti has simply been untouchable in the entry-level small car space. Until now!
You see, what was needed was a fresh approach. You simply can’t beat Maruti at its own game. And if that’s what you’re trying, you’re approaching it all wrong. Well, someone at Renault figured that out – and he or she deserves a promotion, or two. You see, at its core, the Kwid may be an entry-level hatch just like its competitors but the impression it gives you is that of being a great deal more. The SUV-like styling is a revelation – at a time when all everyone wants are SUV’s or crossovers, it hits the nail on the head. On the inside, it’s simple, uncluttered, and clean, but also extremely good quality. The material quality and finish is better than cars many segments above it. And there are plenty of niceties inside the cabin as well, such as the touch-screen infotainment system that offers Bluetooth and navigation, or the digital instrument cluster. The amount of space that they’ve been able to carve out in the cabin is pretty impressive too, as is the 300 litres of capacity available in the boot.
On the move, the suspension really shines. The 800cc, 3-cylinder engine feels just about adequate, but it’s smooth and refined. The chunky three-spoke steering is a joy to hold, and the handling is actually very good – despite the additional ride height. And the 180mm of ground clearance means that it’ll have no problem on our broken roads.
So, what Renault has been able to do here is create a small car that’s aspirational and desirable, which is something that many others before it have attempted and failed to do. But the real kicker is the fact that it starts at under 3 lakhs. Now if that’s not going to keep its competitors up at night we don’t know what will!