Wow\\! A Kwid with sporty decals\\!
Yes, new decals and new dual-tone wing mirrors. But those are not the only new bits. Look closely\: the decal reads 1.0, which denotes the cubic capacity of the engine powering this lightweight hatchback.
There's a new engine?
That's right. A brand-new motor. Renault has used the existing 800cc motor as the base and increased the bore and stroke to get that additional 200cc. And just like the car, this engine will make its global debut when the Kwid 1.0 is launched on August 22, in India.
That's good. Numbers please.
It's a 999cc, three-pot motor that's good for 67bhp and 91Nm - that's 14bhp and 19Nm more than the 800cc unit makes. Sadly, it uses the same five-speed manual gearbox as the 0.8. Renault does claim it has made minor changes to the first two gears and strengthened the driveshaft to handle the additional 19 Newtons, but that's about it.
No AMT\\! Didn't Renault showcase it at the Auto Expo?
You have a good memory. Yes, Renault did bring the Kwid 1.0 Easy-R to the show, but it has decided to reveal one card at a time. So, on August 22, the Kwid 1.0 manual will hit showrooms pan-India, while the AMT version will be launched sometime in the next six months.
Does the bigger engine add more zing to the Kwid?
That's a tricky one to answer. Here's why. The Kwid 0.8's driveability in the city is acceptable. It fulfils your urban driving needs; gets the job done. Yes, it has that annoying jerkiness at lower engine speeds and the motor isn't eager to build up speed out on the highway. While we didn't find a vast difference in terms of driveability in stop-and-go traffic, the initial jerkiness of the 800cc motor has been sorted out here and highway runs are far more stress-free than before.
You're suggesting there isn't a huge difference in performance?
Out on the highway, the bigger engine is a boon. The 1.0 gets up to high speeds comfortably and doesn't feel as strained at around 100kph. In fact, there's more juice left even after hitting 100kph. Executing an overtake won't be as stressful as it is in the 0.8, and responses to your throttle inputs - especially part-throttle - is much better.
Moreover, this new motor will be appreciated on occasions when there are four or five passengers in the car and the boot is packed with luggage. In such situations, cruising at 110kph would be much easier and the motor would be more relaxed, gobbling up the miles.
What's the catch?
Remember, it's a small car that will spend most of its running days in the urban jungle, commuting from point A to point B. And it's on these commutes that the presence of the additional 14bhp and 19Nm won't quite be felt. As before, the clutch is light and shifts are smooth, and now with the improved part-throttle acceleration, it's an improvement over the 0.8 - but only a marginal one. If you were to strip the 1.0 of its decals and drive it after driving a 0.8 of the same shade, you'd struggle to tell one from the other.
I'm confused. Do you like it or not?
At TopGear, we always welcome more power. We like the Kwid 1.0 - it has got best-in-class cabin and luggage space, looks stunning for an entry-level car, and offers the best-in-class ride and handling capabilities. It's just that we expected it to have peppier performance than what it has got, especially at lower speeds.
No additional goodies?
None. Yes, none. The Kwid 1.0 will be available in the top-end RXT and RXT (O) variants and that means it gets the same equipment as the 800cc variants. Yes, if sporty decals and dual-tone ORVMs excite you, then it's a different matter. But apart from these two features, there's nothing to differentiate your more powerful Kwid from your neighbour's 0.8. If that doesn't bother you, go right ahead.
Has the increased cubic capacity and power hurt efficiency?
Compared to the claimed 25.17kpl of the 800cc motor, the Kwid 1.0 is claimed to run 23.01 kilometres on a litre of fuel. Even so, that's a good enough figure.
What about the price?
Renault has pegged the 1.0 RXT at Rs 3.83 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) - that's only Rs 22,000 more for the 0.8 Kwid, which for a bigger, and slightly better engine is a good price. And if you go for the optional pack (driver airbag and pre-tensioner front seat belts), it would be Rs 13,000 more.
So, what's your choice - 0.8 or 1.0?Remember, more power is always better. And at this price, the 1.0-litre variant will make for a better buy.