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Old 14th March 2016, 22:16   #1
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Default French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home

I love hatchbacks and ever since our Figo was sold, I was missing that tiny little thing in my garage. After the Figo saga, a small hatch was on my mind given that our garage now comprises of only diesels. With Bangalore getting more polluted, temperature ever rising and frequent road digging (resulting in dust), firmly reassured that I definitely needed a small hatch. The Activa that accompanied us had started getting unbearable and I was not feeling secure that my wife is travelling on a two-wheeler to office. So it was clear that we needed another car. My wife and I were clear that it had to be petrol, easy to manoeuvre in the city and cheap to maintain. That said, it was not an immediate requirement as we had an Ecosport, Vento and Innova in the 4-wheeler department serving us. And thus began the good times - search for a new car!

Once we decided on buying, the online / offline window-shopping began. Comparison charts were made, went through online reviews and feedback. This is the best phase as I mentioned. Budget was fixed at Rs. 4-4.5 lac if new, and Rs. 3-3.5 lac if pre-owned. Why lower budget for older car? Mainly because older the car, the more expensive will it be to maintain and 1 or 2 year old cars were being quoted at Rs. 5 lac and above. Though we had finalized on a new car, pre-owned was still kept as an option until the very last minute.

So based on our budget and requirement we finalized on 4 cars:
1. Alto K10 / 800 - New
2. Hyundai Eon - New
3. Renault Kwid - New
4. Honda Brio - Used


Why not Brio?
To be honest, Honda Brio was the primary target. However, certain factors did not work in favour of a used Brio:
1. Well-maintained Brios were quoted at Rs. 5 lac
2. 3-4 year old examples were quoted at Rs. 3.5-4 lac which did not make much sense
3. Maintenance cost would be higher than first three
4. Fuel and repair costs would be significantly high

Despite these negative factors, the chic styling and its i-VTEC motor were hard to resist. Well, we could have gone for a new Brio, but spending Rs. 7 lac for a car launched about 3+ years ago did not make much sense.

Striking out Eon:
Eon was our last option. I am not a Hyundai fan mainly because most of the Hyundai cars are low on fuel efficiency, have higher maintenance cost, are boring to drive and more than everything are too fluidic for my taste. Despite these concerns, visited a Hyundai showroom. 1.0L version Eon was ruled out mainly because of its fuel efficiency. The dashboard was neat and had the best fit. However the car felt too narrow and the rear felt a bit claustrophobic. The test drive wasn’t impressive either, with the engine feeling a bit sluggish.

The Magna variant ticked our requirements and budget. There were good discounts on offer too. Despite these, we mostly rejected the Eon. I had kept it as the last option.

BTW, we had the worst dealership experience at Hyundai; this came as a final nail in the coffin.

Fight for supremacy Alto K10 vs Renault Kwid:
The Alto 800 had lost the battle long before the K10. Dated looks, cramped interiors and a common sight on our roads, clearly indicated this is not something we want. Alto K10 had similar qualities; however it had better styling and a little more space. Its main advantage was the AMT and 1.0L engine. Since we were not on a strict budget, K10 was in our radar. Took a test drive. The outcome was quite good. Engine felt peppy, the AMT even though jerky, was a big boon (not needing to use the clutch). Decided to hold on to this Suzuki.

Enter the Kwid. We knew whatever we book shall only be after the launch of the Kwid, which eventually launched in October. The exterior appearance was outstanding. The feature set felt like an added bonus. There were downsides like the fit inside was not that great (coming from an Innova, Ecosport and Vento) and felt very cheap. The central AC vent in particular felt like it was lifted from a roadside Chinese toy! The exposed nuts in the boot, the ORVMs which reminded me of an Omni we had 20 years ago etc. But these were minor things which we can live with. The rest of the feature set and the exterior looks ensured that all these were muted out. The test drive happened and I felt the engine was peppy enough for a city drive. The gear shifts were good and clutch did not feel heavy either. The initial accelerator response felt as good as the K10, if not better. The brakes worked just fine and there was nothing much to complain about. Noise and vibrations inside the cabin were also fine, though a little on the higher side for a petrol. Surprisingly, I did not notice that significantly extra vibration when the AC was switched on. With Kwid ticking most of the boxes, we decided to book it. We were told delivery would be in January 2016. This was not something that we were bothered about as the car was not an immediate requirement.

During the waiting period, I started evaluating between a used Brio, Alto K10 and Kwid. Cramped interiors, dated looks and brand Maruti did not help K10 move up the ranks. Even though we kept on searching for a good used Brio, nothing clicked. Come January, Renault increased the prices of the Kwid and one of the Maruti dealers offered a 2015 K10 AMT at a mouth-watering price (Just 25K more than Kwid now). But we were sold on the Kwid and nothing suited us better. So we just ruled out all other options and firmly decided that Kwid it was! Come February, visited the dealer and I was told Chennai rains have delayed deliveries and by end of February I should have my Kwid.

The dealer: Renault Whitefield:
Pretty straightforward and professional. I had booked RXT (O) Fiery Red and Alex was the sales person. He is a nice chap and was responsive. In February, I was put in touch with Tejas who was no different. I was being updated promptly and their promise to deliver by end of February was well kept. They are very professional and their approach was far better than Hyundai and Maruti.
Total on-road price came to 4.6x lac. I did not opt for any accessories other than standard mats and mud flaps.

The package details and what it has:
The car which I booked was an RXT (O) Fiery Red and the same was delivered. The VIN indicated that it is a February 2016 manufactured model, which means freshly baked!

The car came with CEAT Milaze 155/80 R 13 tires. Since the car is primarily going to be used in the city, I have decided to stick to stock tires. I was also told that any upsize would void the warranty hence, refrained myself from upsizing the tires. Rest everything was standard affair, the floor mats have a black–orange combo and have Kwid branding on them. They are of a good quality. A Ganapathi idol and a perfume was part of standard accessory.

The Kwid as I see:
Note: It would be totally unfair to compare this with cars which belong to different segment. Most of my observations / comparisons are with Alto / Eon.

Positives / Things which I like:
1. Space
2. Ride quality
3. Fuel efficiency
4. Exterior styling
5. Rich feature set
6. Superb AC
7. High ground clearance

Negatives / Things which I don't like:
1. Noisy engine
2. Cost-cutting at certain areas
3. Some interior parts feel poor quality
4. Performance with AC
5. Poorly-designed ORVM and dangling rear seat belts

Interior Space and Comfort:
This is one area where the Kwid shines and stands out against its competition. Be it in headroom, legroom, shoulder room or boot space, Alto and Eon feel a lot more cramped.

The front seats are smaller but nothing alarmingly uncomfortable. I prefer firmer seats and the ones in the Kwid feel a tad too soft. The quality of seat fabric is decent. The car definitely feels a lot wider than Eon and Alto. You don’t brush elbows with your co-passenger. The front seats have a good travel range. Under-thigh support is pretty good. Finding a good seating position is pretty easy however not as breezy as in the Figo. Road visibility is good but it is not the case with rearward visibility. Thick C-pillars and a small interior rear view mirror means poor rear visibility.

The rear seats are comfortable even though there are no contours. It’s best for 2 people though a third one can be seated for shorter distances. The headroom at the rear isn’t all that great. For a 6-footer it might be an issue with his hair scraping the roofline. Again, shoulder room is good for 2. Lack of storage space is something one would notice when you want to store those water bottles papers etc.

Engine and Gearbox:
The car has run close to 2,000 Km as I pen down this review. As the official review mentions, the engine is a noisy unit and has a typical 3-cylinder clatter. It does feel a bit more unrefined compared to the Eon and K10, but a common man would not find it much different from the Alto 800. However as mentioned in official review, I did not notice significant additional noise and vibrations when the AC was switched on. With all doors and windows shut, engine noise is nothing alarming by segment standards.

The engine is a peppy unit to drive in city. With the AC on, there is a significant drop in power. It’s a different animal with the AC switched off wherein the car surges ahead and feels sprightly. The engine starts getting audible as you start climbing the rev counter (there isn't one though). The power is just about adequate to zip around in city and one should not be expecting more from a car of this segment. With the AC on, there is also a bit of hesitance to move ahead. At times you face a situation where the car refuses to move forward no matter how much you press the A-pedal. This is mostly on steep inclines, however a downshift makes things better.

On the highways don’t expect much, with 4 lanes and those punchy diesels plying, expect to get overtaken by 75% of the 4-wheelers. You can maintain 80-90 km/h all day with the AC switched on. Add another 10-15 km/h with it switched off. A downshift is recommended whenever you plan to overtake. You would also need more number of gearshifts even on a 4 lane highway, if you are used to a bigger car.

The gearbox is a nice unit, shift is sure shot and pretty smooth to operate. The throws are medium and ratios are OK. It’s not the slickest out there but a good one. The clutch is light and operating the lever is quite easy. Until you get used to it, one tends to jerk a bit in 1st and 2nd gear after which you are good to go. There is a gearshift indicator and is quite helpful in the absence of a tachometer. As mentioned in the official review, the shifts are configured for fuel economy. If the AC is on, please do not go by the indicator as you might find yourself struggling to push the car ahead if you go by shift suggestion. A seasoned driver however, shall use the loud engine note to shift the gears. The reverse gear can be engaged by lifting the ring on the lever. The springs on it have already started making noise when I release the same. Renault could definitely have used better springs.

Ride and Handling:
One of Kwid’s strong area – its ride quality. The bouncy Eon and Alto are no match. In fact, the Kwid’s ride quality could even put cars a segment above to shame. Most of the potholes are dealt without any fuss and only those deep ones are the ones that unsettle the Kwid. Renault is known for ride quality and the Kwid carries this pedigree. Given that it has 180 mm of ground clearance, you can just glide over those large speed breakers without scraping its belly.

Given the high GC, there is a bit of body roll, but nothing one should be worried about. It’s not a corner carver and the steering is not a precise unit. The CEAT Milaze which came with the car are more than adequate for the engine and dynamics of the Kwid. I felt it to be as good as JK Ultima Neo which is the other option offered with Kwid. Straight line stability is something that surprised me. The Kwid feels quite stable and the steering even though light, gives you enough confidence. The other thing I must mention about is that its steering does not self-center automatically, one has to put effort to get it back to center. You will get used to it after driving for a couple of kilometers but can get annoying during the initial drive.

Features:
Kwid’s expansive features set needs a mention here. I had a Figo TDCi which was bought in 2010 and was a ZXi model. Even though this car belongs to different segment, I still could not stop comparing the feature set. Figo cost me about Rs. 6 lac and came with 2 power windows, power steering, remote key, regular music system with Bluetooth and basic MID. Kwid in 2016 was bought for about Rs. 4.6 lac and it comes with 2 power windows, power steering, GPS with navigation, digital meter console with full-fledged MID, fog lamps, Bluetooth music system with touch screen and an airbag. Of course, the Figo had better mechanicals but just feature to feature comparison shows how loaded a Kwid is.

While a tachometer is sorely missed, GPS in a car of this segment is unbelievable! Even the Ford Endeavour which costs about 10 times that of Kwid does not get one! On top of that, just the Satnav in the Endeavour costs Rs. 1.3 lac! That’s about 25% of the cost of Kwid.

The MID toggle button is not ergonomically placed. I’d advise to use it when the car is switched off as you have to pierce the steering wheel to operate. There is an indicator for the seatbelt reminder, however it does not seem to work. The MID has a lot of functions however, I am not quite sure on its accuracy barring the trip and odometer. The MID font size is a bit small though. The AC button is backlit when switched on, though it is quite difficult to notice in broad day light. The AC controls are standard affair. The rotation quality of knobs is poor and feels as if they would break anytime. The fresh air intake slider is even worse, you will have to eat an extra roti just to have enough power to slide it. But the AC needs a special mention here. Unlike the Alto and Eon which have an AC just for namesake, this one’s a chiller in comparison. With blower speed set at 1, it felt like a chiller.

Fuel Efficiency:
Well, this is an important section. As a whole, I can tag my Kwid as a fuel efficient vehicle. In my tests, city fuel efficiency stands at 13-15 km/l. This includes inch-by-inch movement in Bangalore city. Highway fuel efficiency stands at 19-21 km/l. These figures are with the AC on 95% of the times. I am quite content with the figures given that I don't drive for fuel efficiency. With the Kwid you can manage to extract another 2-3 km/l more if you drive with a heavy focus on fuel efficiency, but that is just not my cup of tea.

Who should buy Kwid?
Well, there aren’t many options in this segment. There are just 3 or may be 4 if you include a K10. The Kwid definitely feels a much better package than the Alto 800 and the Eon. It has much better space, rides significantly better and also offers better GC. The fuel efficiency is comparable or better than its competition and an average Joe will find it equally powerful. The power delivery is not linear always and even the steering is not that precise. But these aren't significantly worse than the competition. The K10 scores significantly better in terms of power and offers AMT, but it costs more and fuel efficiency is going to be lesser.

If you find Eon or Alto 800 fine for your requirement, you should definitely buy the Kwid, provided that you have a service centre in your city or nearby. It’s a great car for city commute and has enough space to carry those large shopping bags. Given that it’s stylish you will not feel out of place when you hand over the keys to valet at those posh restaurants.

I would not suggest Kwid if this is going to be your primary car and you often hit the highway. It’s better to spend a bit more and upgrade to say a Figo / Grand i10, mainly because of the Kwid’s highway mannerism and lack of power while ferrying 4-5 people. There were days when many used to have 800 / Omni as their primary vehicle, but gone are those days. The Indian highways are owned by diesels and they pack enough power and road manners which will make Kwid look totally out of place.

The car has completed 2,000 km in 2 weeks and has completed its first free service. Other than an oil top-up and car wash there was nothing much that the service centre guys had done during the 2K service. Since this was a free service, I was not charged anything. It might be a bit too early to judge but the service center guys were very professional and far ahead when compared to say a Maruti. So that brings to me the question of whether I have made the right choice by selecting a Kwid over the Alto K10? I would say - a definite yes. The Alto offers AMT which makes driving easier within the city but the light clutch of Kwid makes driving quite stress-free. Other than losing AMT and additional power (which was never my requirement), the Kwid trumps the Alto in almost every field of comparison IMO.

Observations made after 2,000 km with a Kwid:
1. The car offers a plush ride but do not compare it with bigger hatchbacks. It just offers the best ride in the segment.

2. High speed stability (not really that high actually) is pretty good. The car feels stable and road grip offered by CEAT tyres is adequate. I cannot comment on stability in wet conditions as of now.

3. Kwid does get a lane change feature. When enabled the indicator blinks twice / thrice. Some more blinks would have been good.

4. Design flaw No.1 - The ORVM’s needs a special mention here. They are pathetic. You get a clear picture of the vehicle behind you and also when the vehicle is about to overtake you. Once that vehicle is next to the rear of your vehicle, you see nothing, absolutely nothing. I have to peek through B-pillar and rear windows to see where that car actually is. Eagerly looking to change these.

5. Design flaw No.2 - The radio antenna is long really long. It however folds flat. Now, if you fold them flat they start hitting the roof on most of the road humps.

6. Design flaw No.3 - Kwid comes with unique headlamps. It’s an open unit, the air can flow inside the unit. There is enough gap between cluster and bumper, this results in water accumulating after a wash. You cannot remove this water unless you blow with force or run the car for some distance with speed.

7. The wheel wells do not get any cladding, even a small stone can make a lot of noise when it hits the wall.

8. The ground clearance is excellent; the car is yet to scrap its underbelly. I have done drives on mud roads with steep inclines, water crossing (without water though) and Kwid pleasantly surprise us. With 4 people on-board and AC on, Kwid managed all the inclines without much fuss. Given that it’s a small car, it felt way too easy than our Toyota Innova!

9. The headlamps + fog lamps are brilliant, they offer good throw and their coverage is quite good. Most of the oncoming vehicles responded whenever I used low / high beam stalk.

10. With the AC turned off it is fun to drive the Kwid. The steering offers decent feedback and it is fun to hit those corners. 1.0L engine and fat rubber would have made things much better, but this 800cc does manage to bring some smiles.

11. The fuel tank nozzle somehow is not alright. Twice the fuel spilled out despite the guy setting to auto cut-off.

12. The hubcaps feels flimsy, really flimsy. Removing the tire using standard jack is fairly simple, however, its 3-nut design did not offer enough grip / traction while putting the wheel back on.

13. Folding rear seats is quite simple, this generates a lot more room in case you want to move those huge suitcases.

14. As the fuel indicator turns red, there is a loud beep indicating low fuel. After this, the fuel symbol keeps blinking though there are no further sounds. Nice touch Renault!

15. The single wiper does the job quite well. The spray from the windshield washer is not that powerful, they are very pointed. Also noticed that it’s just plain water and not soap / foam based.

First sighting:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-img_20160225_181139.jpg

Ceat Milaze tyres:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-ceatmilaze.jpg

The front:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-img_5883crop.jpg

Rear profile:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-img_5816.jpg

Powerful headlamps:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-headlamps.jpg

Boot size is huge by segment standards. Exposed nuts are eyesore:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-large_boot-exposed-nuts.jpg

Fuel filler:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-fuel_filler.jpg

Looong antenna:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-long-antenna.jpg

Hatch lock mechanism internals. Notice the lack of clear coat inside the hatch:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-hatch_lockmechanism.jpg

The nice bits in the front door-pads:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-doorpads.jpg

Side air-vents have a honeycomb pattern inside:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-hineycomb.jpg

Poor quality central AC vents:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-poor_quality_air_vents.jpg

Rubber beading between front door and fender for better insulation:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-rubber_beading.jpg

Stock seat covers feel nice:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-stockseatfabric.jpg

Mats were provided as standard accessory:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-standard-mats.jpg

Parting shot:
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-side_profile.jpg

Finally preview of my next review . Two new cars within a span of 2 weeks, can't ask for more!
French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home-img_20160305_130641.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 16th March 2016 at 11:37. Reason: Spacing
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Old 14th March 2016, 22:44   #2
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Default re: French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home

Nice review. Kwid is definitely a head turner and offers features which are definitely of a higher class. It's a very good runaround car, which doesn't compromise. Looks smashing as well.

Wishing you many happy miles on it.
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Old 16th March 2016, 11:36   #3
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th March 2016, 13:22   #4
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Congrats on your Kwid. Looks great. Just a question - in the pro's you say "superb A/C" and then in the cons "Performance with A/C" could not get it. Please clarify when possible.

Swami
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Old 16th March 2016, 14:10   #5
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Post Re: French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrideRed View Post
The Kwid as I see:
The other thing I must mention about is that its steering does not self-center automatically, one has to put effort to get it back to center. You will get used to it after driving for a couple of kilometers but can get annoying during the initial drive.
I doubt on this observation, there is something wrong with the steering system in your car.

Simple possibility is with Caster adjustment. Caster is the angle created by the steering pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the line is angled forward, and negative if backward.

Typically, positive caster will make the vehicle more stable at high speeds, and will increase tire lean when cornering. This can also increase steering effort as well. A properly adjusted caster will result in bringing the steering wheel to the straight condition once it is released after taking a turn.

Please do check with other Kwid or may be someone else in the forum who owns a Kwid may comment; this needs resolution and is not something to live with.

Cheers !

Last edited by i74js : 16th March 2016 at 14:11.
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Old 16th March 2016, 14:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swami69 View Post
Congrats on your Kwid. Looks great. Just a question - in the pro's you say "superb A/C" and then in the cons "Performance with A/C" could not get it. Please clarify when possible.

Swami
The AC as such is quite a chiller unit by segment standards. It gets the cabin cool pretty fast. However given that Kwid comes with 800cc motor, the moment you switch on AC, the engine struggles. The performance of Engine/car with A/C is not that great.
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Old 16th March 2016, 14:21   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swami69 View Post
Congrats on your Kwid. Looks great. Just a question - in the pro's you say "superb A/C" and then in the cons "Performance with A/C" could not get it. Please clarify when possible.

Swami
I think the OP meant that the performance of the engine with the A/C running was bad. "Superb A/C" was probably in reference to the AC's performance.
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Old 16th March 2016, 14:24   #8
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Congratulations on the Kwid. I am myself waiting for the 1l kwid to make a final decision on a petrol hatch for my family.
One thing I noticed is that you mentioned the dealer as Whitefield Renault but the sticker on the car says Trident. Am i missing something here?
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Old 16th March 2016, 14:38   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swami69 View Post
Congrats on your Kwid. Looks great. Just a question - in the pro's you say "superb A/C" and then in the cons "Performance with A/C" could not get it. Please clarify when possible.

Swami
To me it seems that the AC performs well but absorbs / consumes significant energy from the engine resulting in reduced performance of car.

Performance with A/C: Acceleration, NVH and overtaking maneuvers are compromised

Superb A/C: A/C is a chiller and cools the cabin really well

Last edited by i74js : 16th March 2016 at 14:39.
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Old 16th March 2016, 14:39   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post

Please do check with other Kwid or may be someone else in the forum who owns a Kwid may comment; this needs resolution and is not something to live with.

Cheers !
It is not something that I can't live with, but after driving other cars in my garage, this feels different. I plan to get this checked when I visit the service centre again. The issue is observed more while making U-turns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by speedmunster View Post
Congratulations on the Kwid. I am myself waiting for the 1l kwid to make a final decision on a petrol hatch for my family.
One thing I noticed is that you mentioned the dealer as Whitefield Renault but the sticker on the car says Trident. Am i missing something here?
Be ready to wait for atleast 2-3 months unless they take pre-booking.
I was told all Renault dealership centres in Bangalore is owned by Trident. They call each centre by location name, like Whitefield Renault, Silk Board Renault etc. During delivery they even pasted Regd. sticker which had Trident Hyundai mentioned in it .

Last edited by PrideRed : 16th March 2016 at 14:40.
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Old 16th March 2016, 15:22   #11
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Default Re: French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home

Congratulations friend.

Kwid is indeed a very good car, it has mesmerizing looks, compact dimensions and adequate power. Need more?

Your long journey experience on the Kwid is eagerly awaited.
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Old 16th March 2016, 18:58   #12
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Congrats PrideRed. The Kwid is an all-rounded car and has brought some glamour into the segment.
The ORVM's are a sore point. I'm sure lots of owners would want to change them. Does Renault have better ones in their accessories list? If not, they should!
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Old 16th March 2016, 19:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrideRed View Post
4. Design flaw No.1 - The ORVM’s needs a special mention here. They are pathetic. You get a clear picture of the vehicle behind you and also when the vehicle is about to overtake you. Once that vehicle is next to the rear of your vehicle, you see nothing, absolutely nothing. I have to peek through B-pillar and rear windows to see where that car actually is. Eagerly looking to change these.
Hello PrideRed.. You may want to consider the blindspot mirrors that you get in the market. They are basically small convex mirrors that are 'stick-ons'. I have these in my cars - take some time to get used to, do make sure you dont stick them to the outer edge of the mirror.

Hope this helps
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Old 16th March 2016, 19:48   #14
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Default Re: French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home

Congrats Ravi for your new ride!!

One thing I am in sync with you is your feedback on ride and handling. Ford Figo`s mature big car like ride quality has set the benchmark for many who have owned it and whenever we are in the market, we tend to compare it with Figo. Obviously our expectations will be that the car should offer better or atleast matches with Figo`s ride and handling.

Anyways wish you have a safe mile munching ahead and will be eagerly waiting for your ownership report on big brother Endeavour.
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Old 16th March 2016, 19:57   #15
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Default Re: French Connection - A Renault Kwid comes home

Congrats PrideRed on your new purchase - the car looks smashing in the red color .

Looks like the ride quality of Kwid is similar to its big brother, Duster. Happy mile munching and do update the thread regularly based on your usage. Cheers.
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