Renault Kwid 1.0L AMT (Renault Kwid Automatic) – First Drive Review
Aravind Jayachandran, I'm a huge petrolhead, an automobile engineer, a massive fan of Ferrari, and loves collecting die-cast models for inspiration.
AMT option adds more convenience to one of the best VFM packages in India.
Before we get into this review, here are some numbers to quantify the Renault Kwid’s success in India since it was launched in September 2015: over 90,000 units sold; of which 65,000 units found owners between January and August 2016, monthly average hovering between 9,000 – 10,000 units, over 1.65 Lakhs bookings received since launch, and single-handedly increasing Renault’s monthly sales by almost 600 percent in September 2016 as compared to the same month last year.
With such numbers registered by a Renault aged just over a year old, one would expect officials to sit back, continue accepting orders and watch the company’s market share rise. However, when its key competitor is India’s best selling car – the Maruti Alto, it’s not surprising to see Renault go back to work on more variants to steal the Alto’s thunder.
Within 11 months of its market launch, Renault introduced the Kwid 1.0L to take on the Maruti Alto K10, and now they’re set to launch the 1.0L AMT version that will lock horns with the Alto K10 AGS.
We were impressed with the Kwid 1.0L in our first bout last August. It refined the appealing package by adding more punch to its performance, whilst not compromising too much on fuel efficiency. Given that AMT is not cutting-edge technology, we were all the more curious to find out if the Easy-R AMT would dampen or refine the Kwid’s drivability.
The engine underneath its little hood is a 999 cc (1.0L) three cylinder engine, which produces 68 PS at 5,500 rpm and 91 Nm at 4,250 rpm. It is an up-sized version of the Kwid 0.8L (799 cc) three cylinder engine, which in itself is an all-new engine from Renault. The new 5-speed Easy-R AMT unit is co-developed with Bosch and FEV for its hardware and software, respectively.
The Renault Kwid Automatic lacks creep function from rest, so you’ll have to be feather light on the throttle pedal for a smooth and slow take off. It nearly emulates the smooth take-off of a regular manual car with a clutch pedal. While the AMT is easy to get acquainted with, note that the Kwid will roll back on an incline if your foot is off the brake pedal. So people downgrading from a torque converter-equipped car (if any) must take precaution.
Transition between gears is smoother than AMTs we’ve tested from other manufacturers, provided you’re gentle on the throttle. Even the characteristic AMT ‘head nod’ is much less intense in the Kwid. Floor the pedal at rest, and the transition becomes more perceptible, accompanied with a clunky sound. The Easy-R AMT is not a gearbox that likes to be hurried; rather works well at low/part throttle. It’s not buttery smooth, but for the price tag, the Kwid Easy-R is the best AMT unit we’ve tested.
Renault claims that the Kwid Easy-R is capable of averaging a fuel mileage of 24.04 km/L (ARAI test), which is more fuel efficient than its manual sibling. Since our drive was short, we couldn’t perform a real-time fuel efficiency test.
To differentiate the Kwid AMT from its manual twin, Renault slapped an ‘Easy-R’ badge on its tailgate. Otherwise, the Kwid AMT’s exterior is identical to the Kwid 1.0L, even sourcing the gloss grey ORVM caps and black/white chequered graphics from the latter. Regardless, customers are offered plenty of accessory options for the Kwid at an extra cost, should they wish to further personalize their ride.
Stepping inside, the interior is identical to any other Kwid you see on roads today. At least until you reach for the gear lever, which is missing in the Kwid AMT. Instead, the R, N and D gears are selected via a circular dial located beside the window controls on the dashboard. Unlike the Alto K10 AGS, the Kwid Easy-R has no option to shift gears manually. So, you’ll have to completely rely on its electronics to serve up the next gear.
As it’s only available in the top-end RxT (o) grade, the Kwid AMT comes equipped with a 7-inch MEDIANAV touchscreen system, bluetooth connectivity and GPS-guided navigation, a multi-info display under the digital speedometer, driver’s airbag and front ‘Pro-Sense’ seat-belt pre-tensioners, and central locking.
Renault has just announced the price of the Renault Kwid Automatic. It is only available in the top-end RxT (O) trim and priced at INR 4.25 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), which is nearly INR 29,000 more than the RxT (O) manual variant.
The Easy-R AMT unit is the best of its kind in the Indian market. Combine that with the Kwid’s excellent VFM package (good cabin space, best-in-class feature list, fuel efficient yet punchy 1.0L engine and attractive exterior), customers looking for an inexpensive automatic car will find it hard to not consider it for purchase.