2017 Renault Kwid AMT Easy-R Road Test Review

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After creating a lot of noise during its first global preview in May last year, the Renault Kwid was finally launched in August 2015. Renault Kwid became the first car model to be majorly conceived and designed in India, for India, with 98 percent localization from Day 1. This small car from the French carmaker has tasted good success right since its launch. The Kwid got a bigger 1.0-litre engine option earlier this year for the slightly more power hungry buyer, and now it sells in both, the 800cc and the 1.0-litre engines. Renault now wants a major chunk from the small car segment with the Kwid, being up against the segment leaders Maruti-Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon majorly. Now they have added an AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) version to the lineup, and Renault is pretty confident with its latest product – the Kwid AMT, christened as Easy-R. We spent a day driving the latest AMT in the small car segment to find out how ‘Easy’ it really is. Read our detailed road-test review right here.

Food For Thought:

Renault had unveiled the 1.0-litre Kwid at the 2016 Auto Expo in Delhi. The AMT version was also showcased. The Kwid is built on the all-new platform called the CMF-A Platform, jointly developed by Renault and Nissan. The Kwid becomes the first car model to use this platform which would be later shared for other car models from Renault, Nissan, (Lada and Samsung other markets). Weight reduction is what Renault has primarily focused on for better fuel efficiency, and that’s what they achieved by using lighter, but strong materials all around the Kwid. What Renault has done is, it has also reduced the number of parts used here. For example, the Kwid has around 6 kgs of less weld joints on it as compared to any other car model. The same also goes with the total amount of screws used, which amounts to 20kgs, that is around 6 kgs lesser than a regular small car in this segment. The Kwid weighs 669 kgs only, making it around 100kgs lighter than its closest competition, the Maruti-Suzuki Alto.

Exteriors:

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The exteriors on the Kwid AMT are identical to that on the Kwid 1.0-litre. Renault will be only launching the Kwid AMT on the top of the line RXT trim level. The car is a very good looker with tough brute and muscular styling. It looks like a mini-mini SUV of sorts, more like the Duster’s kid. The front looks trendy with chiseled bumpers. Large round fog lamps add to the style factor on the face. Double layered center grill on this car stands out with large squarish honey comb designing and multi reflector headlamps that are large and square in shape. The bonnet is large in length and flows with a couple of flexed, muscular bulge body lines that give a very SUV kind of feel to the face of this car.

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On the sides too, the wheel arches come with unpainted body moldings like that on SUVs. Ground clearance is of 180mm, which is the best in its segment, and in that of many SUVs. The lower section of the doors just above the running board has the same 1.0 chequered flag print graphics. The tyre size remains the same with Ceat Milaze radials of 155/80R13 79T tubeless doing the job on 13-inch steel rims that come with three multi-spoke design silver wheel caps. Doors still have the lift type door handles and are purposely kept unpainted to go with the unpainted fender mouldings, which give a rough SUV look to the car. Wings mirrors get silver painted housing and the door frames are blacked out. The roof comes with a center-mounted radio antenna.

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At the rear, the SUV look continues with neatly integrated tail lights, a clean steeping tailgate with Renault and KWID monograms in the middle, and a raised rear bumper with its lower section left unpainted to go with the overall look of the car. The tailgate gets the EASY-R monogram on it, differentiating this AMT version as against the regular Manual 1.0L version. If you remember the AMT version of the Duster, that also has the same monogram on it. There is a nicely integrated spoiler on the tailgate that help making the car look a bit longer than it actually is.

Interiors:

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The cabin area on the Kwid AMT remains the same as that on the 1.0L RXT version. Neatly laid out dashboard in black with a lot of glossy piano black inserts around the center dash and a bit on the steering as well, give a good overall feel to the cabin area. The instrument cluster with large digital speedo digits stands out for its uniqueness. The steering is a mid-sized three-spoke design with the top part getting leather wrapping on it. The center dash comes with the large 7 inch LG driven color touch screen info media screen. This touch screen unit controls the audio, mobile connectivity, GPS etc. which again is a first in class feature. You have the rotary AC dials under the touch screen console.

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Just below the AC controls is the very unique and class first AMT drive control Dial. Yes, you read it right. The Kwid AMT comes with a rotary drive control shifter, which reminds of the one on the Jaguars and Land Rovers. This is a neat little dial with D (Drive), N (Neutral) and R (Reverse) modes to turn to. There is a very nice, strong feel and feedback on this large dial. And because there is no conventional shifter in this car, a lot of space gets freed up. There is extra space between the front seats for storage.

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The Kwid comes with two closable glove boxes and a deep storage space between these glove boxes as bonus. Seats get unified headrests and offer good support for its class and size. Rear seats come with integrated head rests on either ends. There is good amount of head room inside the cabin owing to the height of the car. The boot space on the Kwid is a large 300 liters.

Engine – Transmission – Drive:

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The Kwid AMT is powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine. This 999cc 3 pot engine makes 68 PS at 5500 RPM and has a good 91 Nm of torque at 4250 RPM. The transmission is a Bosch sourced AMT unit, and we are told that this has been further engineered by Renault to suit the Kwid’s drive dynamics.

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Start the car, and at first your left hand searches for the shifter. You then realize that this comes with the rotary shifter. Turn the dial to D with the brake pressed and the car does not move ahead until you press the throttle. Now we are told that the conventional Creep feature has been removed from the transmission, after taking a good feedback from their public research. Once you press the gas, the car surges ahead instantly and power develops rather quickly. The AMT transmission shifts rather smoothly as compared to other AMT cars that we’ve driven before. The gear shifts are noticed, but not largely felt, as on other AMTs.

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It takes a short period to master the art of driving AMTs, and on the Kwid you learn it rather quickly. Power available is decent, drive quality is excellent and the handling is also good. The Kwid AMT is a boon when driven on bumper to bumper traffic conditions. The transmission is calibrated to suit more of city driving and frankly, that’s where you drive mostly every day. There is no manual shift mode available. The engine provides good power support to the shifts and once you get used to the AMT driving style, you will start loving this car.

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The car is light, and that helps in the drive feel. The steering feedback is good and the car feels sturdy when put in corners. On bad roads too, the Kwid sails over, offering excellent ride quality. Braking is decent. On the safety front, the Kwid comes with driver’s side airbag as standard. We would love ABS being added too, if it was offered.

Verdict:

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The Kwid was the game changer for Renault in India; it bettered its lineup with the performance oriented 1.0L engine model that launched some months back. Now, with the introduction of the Kwid AMT, Renault is taking the game further and wants to dominate the segment extending its range offering 2 engine options and 2 transmission options to choose from. The Kwid AMT is a perfect car for its segment, if you are looking for a fuel-efficient, yet powerful entry-level small car, which comes with a good equipment list and lots of space in it.

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Renault Kwid AMT Easy-R Photo Gallery:

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