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Renault Kwid AMT Review: Should you buy it?

Motor Trend India logo Motor Trend India 12-11-2016

It goes without saying that the Renault Kwid has been a massive success and the fact that it has changed the small car space is no secret as well.

The Kwid, with its chunky SUV styling, its frugal engine and aggressive pricing, has given already well-established small cars sleepless nights.

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Now, to further expand the appeal of this small car, Renault has just launched the Kwid 1.0 Easy-R AMT and the good news is that it is only Rs 30,000 more expensive than the manual 1.0.

The 800cc version will be the entry point into Kwid ownership while the 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder version would be for those who want a bit more performance.

READ: Renault Kwid AMT 'Easy-R' launched at Rs 4.25 lakh

The natural progression was for Renault to release an automatic version of the car and now, having done that it is without doubt the best buy in the Kwid range.

Rather than going in for a proper automatic transmission which would be complicated and significantly more expensive, Renault has opted for an automated manual transmission (AMT).

The AMT unit that will be provided in the Kwid is a 5 speed, Easy-R unit, which is the same in principle as that found in the Duster SUV (albeit with one less gear ratio).

This 5 speed AMT is controlled using a rotary dial mounted on the centre console instead of a lever mounted on the floor.

This frees up a noticeable amount of space inside the passenger cabin. The only modes that the gearbox has are reverse, neutral and drive, and it does not have a creep function.

The reason being that it has not been popular with AMT buyers as Renault found out- thus at traffic lights you do not have to put your foot on the brake and for first time automatic drivers, it is easier.

On driving the car, we noticed that the jerkiness during shifts that AMT-equipped vehicles are notorious for was considerably lesser in the Kwid Easy-R.

The characteristic AMT pause is there between the shifts but it is not massively apparent. For first time automatic drivers, would would be buying this car, getting used to the AMT will take time but that said at low speeds it is smooth and generally among the best AMT gearboxes we have seen in this class.

Light throttle inputs and negotiating traffic is painless and that is where the USP of an AMT comes in. Here you will have no complaints.

The 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder, 67 bhp petrol engine delivers sufficient power for city commutes and highway cruising as well.

The 800cc engine would have been too underpowered but with the added horses in the 1.0, the AMT feels reasonably brisk.

Although it has only 13 inch wheels, we felt that the ride quality of the car was surprisingly good, as only the larger thumps and irregularities found its way into the cabin.

Although this is an entry level, budget hatchback, on higher variants you do get kit such as a touchscreen MediaNav infotainment system with an in-built navigation module.

The touchscreen is intuitive and reasonably smooth to operate. Other features include a digital instrument cluster, a glossy piano black surround on the centre console, power windows at the front, a manual AC and central locking. There are plenty of storage spaces all around the passenger cabin and there are nice touches of colour that liven it up as well.

Available only in the top-end RXT (O) variant, the Kwid AMT is only Rs 30,000 more expensive than the manual 1.0 at Rs 4.25 lakh.

It is also more efficient than the 1.0 manual at 24.04 kmpl. To be honest that leaves very little reason to buy the 1.0 manual anymore as the AMT version is worth the extra you pay over the manual.

Sure the manual is more fun but largely, the the AMT will bring in many buyers into the world of an automatic and that is what will appeal to many.

The Kwid has performed very strongly in terms of sales for Renault India and that has been no accident.

Thanks to its chunky looks, respectable equipment levels and refined and frugal engines, it has had a huge number of people walking into Renault showrooms across the country to pick one up.

With the AMT, the popularity of the Kwid will now soar.

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