• 2015 Renault KWID

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In a move intended to consolidate its position in India and abroad, French automaker Renault will offer its new Kwid compact crossover as an affordable city car with SUV-like exterior styling, fuel-efficient drivetrain, and segment-beating interior appointments. The Kwid debuts the new CMF-A modular architecture, a joint offering from Renault and Nissan, and promises versatility and tons of features for very little outlay.

The Kwid is the latest step in Renault’s effort to grow its presence in international markets: “With Kwid, Renault continues to pursue its strategy of accessible mobility for all to step up its international growth. Using a new Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and following the trail blazed by the Duster, the Kwid will enable Renault to continue its expansion and address the needs of customers who want a vehicle that is stylish, robust and easy to use,” said Renault chief exec Carlos Ghosn.

Created specifically to meet the needs of the Indian marketplace, the Kwid will join the Fluence, Koleos, Pulse, Duster and Scala as the sixth new model in Renault’s expanding presence in the country. So far, the strategy seems to be working: Renault sold almost 45,000 vehicles in India last year, up from the 1,500 sold in 2011. “In the space of just a few years, Renault has made greater gains in terms of recognition and visibility than rival brands present in India for 10 years,” Renault boasts in a press release.

Read on to find out how the make plans to extend this track record of success.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault KWID.

  • 2015 Renault KWID
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
    KWID
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual
  • Displacement:
    0.8 L
  • 0-60 time:
    12 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    4700 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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Anyone who remembers the Kwid conceptvehicle revealed last year might be sorely disappointed by the final design of the production version. As is often the case with this sort of thing, the flamboyance of the blue-sky-dreaming concept is lost in the transition to hard-nosed reality. The concept was superbly eye-catching, with a grey paint job offset by yellow accents, super-wide fenders sitting over knobby tires wrapped around funky wheels, scissor doors, and an external, roof-mounted aerial drone to check out the source of congestion in stop-and-go traffic. Unfortunately, the production version gets none of these things.

But that shouldn’t be surprising. The Kwid is supposed to be an accessible, low entry point in the city-car A-segment, and as such, all frills and extraneous features have been cut in favor of greater value.

With that in mind, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the production version of the Kwid (although a drone would have been one very sweet option). The Kwid features a crossover-like design with a high stance, boxy proportions and plenty of storage, while still maintaining a smallish footprint and somewhat compact dimensions.

Aesthetically, the Kwid attempts to bring a heady dose of SUVness to the compact crossover city car segment.

It was built on the CMF-A (Common Module Family) platform, a new architecture that’s the result of a joint partnership between Renault and Nissan. The two automakers have been in cahoots since 1999, and share technologies and parts across the line with the goal of lowering R&D costs for both makes. So far, the effort has been quite successful, with the Renault-Nissan Alliance selling some 8.5 million vehicles in nearly 200 different countries in 2014.

Essentially, the CMF platform is similar to Volkswagen’s MQB platform in that it uses flexible parts and structures to create a variety of different vehicles across multiple body styles. The Kwid is the first to use the CMF-A platform, while other CMF-derivative vehicles include the Nissan Qashqai, Nissan Pulsar, and Renault Espace. Look for future CMF use in the upcoming Renault Kadjar and Renault Megane.

“The CMF-A platform opens up new horizons in terms of our ability to satisfy and even exceed the expectations of customers in countries where demand is currently highest, particularly those customers buying a vehicle for the first time,” says Arnaud Deboeuf, Alliance Senior Vice-President of Renault-Nissan BV and Alliance CEO Office. “These influential consumers do not want a car that was initially designed for mature markets before becoming outdated. They aspire – and rightly so – to a modern, robust, elegant car at a price that represents a mini- revolution for such a remarkable vehicle.”

2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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Aesthetically, the Kwid attempts to bring a heady dose of SUVness to the compact crossover city car segment. This is done through a variety of features, including short overhangs in the front and rear, plus a lifted body that provides over seven inches of ground clearance.

In front is a large, geometric central air intake, bookended by headlights that use Renault’s new C-shaped chrome trim lighting signature. It’s a squared-off look using round edges, giving the front fascia a rugged demeanor. Twin foglamps set in black trim sit in the corners.

Moving to the flanks, we see more rectangular shapes, with the front, middle, and rear sections of the car chunked into boxy segments. This is emphasized by the black-trimmed wheel arches, which also help to visually raise the Kwid higher off the ground. While not as pumped-up as the concept car, the fender wells on the production car are still somewhat exaggerated, adding visual mass at the corners. The waistline is raked in appearance, pushed forward by a bulging rear quarter panel and emphasized by the forward-positioned windshield.

The rear is more rounded, with a crease at the mid-section of the tailgate that juts out into the lower bumper, which continues the black protective trim found in the wheel arches and side skirts. A small, color-matched spoiler trails the roofline.

Renault obviously used the right cues to lend the Kwid a sense of greater size and presence. But even with all these allusions to being a robust SUV, the Kwid is still quite compact, and should be small enough to work in a crowded city. Dimensions include a 12-foot length and five-foot width, which Renault claims is ideal for “zipping about in urban traffic.”

A full list of color options for the paint is currently unavailable, but gauging from the press release photos, expect red and a greenish-brown dubbed “Outback Bronze.”

Exterior Dimensions

Length 3,680 MM
Width 1,580 MM
Ground Clearance 180 MM

Interior

2015 Renault KWID Interior
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2015 Renault KWID Interior
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2015 Renault KWID Interior
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The interior of the concept Kwid was even more outrageous than its exterior, but as usual, the production car is much tamer. However, that doesn’t keep it from offering a variety of very nice features for this segment. In fact, the interior of the Kwid is arguably its best feature when placed alongside its competitors.

Despite its somewhat diminutive exterior dimensions, the interior boasts a decent amount of space and storage capacity.

In terms of layout and design, the Kwid draws heavily from the current line of Dacia models. It’s simple and straightforward, with little clutter spread across the dash. The central console is finished in piano black, and contains an interface for the infotainment system and climate control, plus two squared air vents. Two additional rounded air vents are at either corner of the dash. Behind the ergonomic steering wheel is a digital gauge cluster, with vitals on display in yellow. Chrome trim surrounds the central console, peripheral air vents and gauge cluster.

The seats are slightly bolstered for lateral support when dodging through traffic, and have red inserts in the shoulder area. The seats also offer a tall driving position, which combines with the large windows and high stance for good visibility.

For technology, Renault has blessed the Kwid with a modern appointment of infotainment and gadgets, including a digital multimedia and navigation system, 7-inch touchscreen display, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Despite its somewhat diminutive exterior dimensions, the interior boasts a decent amount of space and storage capacity. There’s seating for five, while the trunk offers a manufacturer’s claimed “best-in-class load capacity.”

Finally, there’s an optional driver-side airbag.

Drivetrain

2015 Renault KWID Emblems and Logo Exterior
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When it comes to the drivetrain, Renault has been strangely tight-lipped. So far, we have details on only a single engine option – a 0.8-liter, three-cylinder gasoline unit. We do know the engine was developed through the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and is the latest and smallest addition to the engine family on offer from the joint venture. Output figures are currently unavailable, but Renault does say it’ll be “extremely well positioned in terms of fuel consumption,” purportedly offering best-in-class mileage. Exact numbers to pin to these claims should be released sometime in the next few months.

We do know the engine was developed through the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and is the latest and smallest addition to the engine family on offer from the joint venture.

In the meantime, we can also say with confidence that this three-cylinder gas-sipper will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission, also a new unit from Renault. No word yet on the availability of an automatic gearbox.

With so few details on hand, it’s hard not to speculate. While a 0.8-liter fits the bill for a car like the Kwid, I wouldn’t be surprised if Renault decided to throw in a diesel unit for even greater mileage, and something turbocharged for more fun. Neither would be all that large or powerful, but if Renault plans on selling the Kwid to a wide variety of buyers, it’ll need more than a single engine option.

It’s also worth mentioning that the concept Kwid was unveiled with a 1.2-liter turbocharged gas engine mated to a dual-clutch automatic transmission driving the front wheels. Despite the ICE, Renault says the concept was designed with the intention of being an electric-vehicle, with space engineered into the chassis for the requisite batteries and motors required for full electric power. Whether or not any of these features will ever make it to production remains to be seen.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 0.8-liter engine
Output TBA
Torque TBA
Transmission 5-speed manual

Prices

2015 Renault KWID Emblems and Logo Exterior
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Here’s the real kicker. The Kwid is slated for launch in India with a price tag between 3 and 4 lakhs. One lakh is equivalent to 100,000 rupees, which means at current conversion rates (5/20/15), the Kwid will cost between $4,717 and $6,289. The release date is scheduled for the second half of 2015, during the festival season starting around September. No details regarding trim levels are currently available.

Competition

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800

2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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Suzuki boasts that the Alto has been the No.1 selling car in India for the last decade. The latest model is tall and boxy, but aesthetically less of a SUV/crossover than the Kwid, with a rounded front fascia, small wheels and low fenders, all of which lend it a much more compact-looking exterior. The interior is finished in either brown or grey, and offers simple packaging and decent utility. The Japanese automaker claims a best-in-class “performance amongst all small cars in India,” which equates to 47 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 51 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm, and 53 mpg from its 0.8-liter three-cylinder engine. Prices range between $3,870 and $5,755.

Read the full review on our Indian site here.

Hyundai Eon

2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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Originally brought to the Indian market in October of 2011, the Eon is in line with what you’d expect of a five-door compact hatchback, with an inclined front fascia and bubble-like exterior design. The interior is less high-tech than the Kwid, but has lots of space and utility. Originally offered with a 0.8-liter three-cylinder engine producing 55 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 55 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm, Hyundai recently added a more powerful 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 68 horsepower and 70 pound-feet. Mileage for the smaller powerplant is rated at 50 mpg. Pricing starts at $4,856 and gets up to $6,636.

Read our full review on our Indian site here.

Conclusion

2015 Renault KWID High Resolution Exterior
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All told, the Kwid is a solid little car. The exterior may not have the same impact as the concept that it’s based on, but it’s definitely not a burden to look at. Buyers are sure to pick up on the SUV cues, and it’s about the right size for urban maneuvering. The interior too presents all the correct pieces, with the digital gauges, large touchscreen, and multimedia infotainment all lending occupants a sense of modernity and high-techiness. Most impressive, however, is the price. At about $5.5K, the Kwid should be well positioned to entice buyers looking for maximum value for their money. While many vehicles that try to do it all end up riding the fence into disaster, the Kwid seems to strike a good balance, offering everything you need and expect for a bargain price tag.

While many vehicles that try to do it all end up riding the fence into disaster, the Kwid seems to strike a good balance, offering everything you need and expect for a bargain price tag.

So far, so good. However, it is troubling that Renault has declined to give us more information regarding the Kwid’s drivetrain. Will the automaker add more engine and transmission options? What sort of output should we expect from the 0.8-liter three-cylinder already on the table? What kind of mileage will it offer? These are basic questions that need answering before a truly definitive decision can be made on the Kwid’s worth. I expect a full disclosure of details soon.

But beyond the uncertain drivetrain, the Kwid should be seen as the latest from a carmaker that is moving quickly towards a vastly expanded worldwide presence. Not only can this be seen in the markets that now enjoy availability of Renault models, but in the process that goes into the very creation of the car. The concept, for example, was the first to be revealed outside of Europe. The production vehicle’s body and chassis were tested in Japan, the body equipment was evaluated in Korea, the endurance tests were handled in France, and the assembly testing in India. Furthermore, development transpired close to its intended market, with supplier sourcing in India raised to 98 percent total.

As international markets expand, Renault feels urgency to expand with them. The automaker is currently active in 125 countries, selling 2.7 million vehicles worldwide in 2014. Around 46 percent of sales now occur outside of Europe, up from 37 percent five years ago. The carmaker has five design centers around the world for product adaptation to meet local requirements.

The Kwid should therefore be seen as part of Renault’s earnest intention to increase its share in the Indian market from two percent to five percent by the midterm. With India expected to be the world’s third-biggest market by 2020, we could see Renault employ strategies similar to those used for the Kwid in other expanding markets.

For all accounts and purposes, the Kwid meets those criteria. Now all we have to do is wait for the drivetrain specs, but considering the rapidly approaching release date, we shouldn’t have to wait long.

  • Leave it
    • Concept was so much cooler
    • Little info on engine or possible future engine options
Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
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