First Look: Renault Pulse - Renault gambles with Micra's identical twin
Kaustubh Shinde, They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store. Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!
Yesterday was quite a significant for the Indian automotive industry. Of course, we saw all Formula 1 cars did their qualifying lap for the first ever Indian GP. But something more interesting came our way from Renault.
Renault displayed a production version of their new small car for India in Noida and christened it 'Pulse'. The reason why its significant is because this will be the first production car by Renault which was finalized in their design studio in Mumbai.
Renault was quite open about their strategy for the Indian market. They showcased the next 5 cars on their website which will be launched in India a long time ago. After the Fluence and the Koleos, it was time for a mass market hatchback to be launched in India.
Although the name 'Pulse' was rumored a long time back, no one had actually seen the car before. As internationally, Renault is known for its typical french, quirky design, we were quite excited to get the first glimpse of the Pulse.
So presenting to all our viewers, the first comprehensive set of pictures revealing all the finer details of the Renault PULSE.
'OH! It looks like a Micra' was my first thought when the Pulse was unveiled for the first time. Later, when all the information was unwrapped, I realized that it doesn't 'Look' like the Micra, it is a Micra – a Renault's Micra !
If you were expecting some quirky design traits in the Pulse, then I must warn you that you will be terribly disappointed – there aren't many. In fact, if you look at the front, it is clearly influenced by the Nissan GT-R, a design touch we adore. So yes, this clearly begs the question – How much 'Renault' is there in the Pulse?
Unlike the Micra, Renault decided that the design language of the Pulse should be aggressive and not cute. The front of the car is clearly designed to look very aggressive, the lower half of which somehow reminds me of the Nissan GT-R. Below that bar, one can see two curves completing the front bumper.
The headlamps of the Pulse have a glimpse of Micra in them but overall are brand new. The windshield, hood and wipers are the same.
The Pulse does get a nice 5 spoke alloy wheel design that's eye-catching. Otherwise the side profile is all Micra and completely untouched.
Now, we come straight to the rear where one can see a set of new tail lamps for the Pulse and a engraved bumper. These are the only design changes done to the Micra to make it Pulse.
Coming to the interiors, Renault has little to differentiate the Pulse from the Micra on the inside. The only 2 changes that we can see are:
- A slightly darker colored dashboard
- Renault badge on the steering
The dashboard has not been touched and so are the seats and even the door handles. There is no increase or decrease in the headroom or the leg room. If you love the Micra's interior, you will become the Pulse's fan instantly.
The Micra's K9K diesel engine will power the Pulse. This 1.5L engine produces a max power of 65ps @ 4000 rpm and a max torque of 160nm @ 2000 rpm. The fuel efficiency rating is about 23 kmpl. Renault will also introduce the petrol avatar using the 1.2-liter 3-cylinder petrol engine. Other mechanical aspects like suspension set up, wheels, tires et all have not been changed.
What was more interesting than the Pulse was the sportier version (from the Renault Sport division) displayed at the event. Renault kept mum and said this is purely a 'design concept'. They did not confirm or deny any production plans for sportier version. Fingers Crossed!
Renault mentioned in the press conference that it will place the Pulse somewhere between Maruti's Swift and Nissan's Micra. It would be interesting to see the price tag of the Pulse. If it is lower than the Micra, it will cannibalize the Micra's sales.
If it is equal to or greater than Micra, Renault's main challenge is to convince the prospective customer on the USP of the Pulse. But we will have to wait until January 2012 to know the price.
What do you think about the Pulse? Do you think it will click?