1 yr with Kiger CVT: Ownership experience including fuel economy & NVH

Although Renault should have done more work on the Tri-LED setup, the car definitely feels and looks more premium than the Nissan Magnite.

BHPian jomyboy recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

It’s been a year since we got the Kiger CVT and it has been a trouble-free ownership experience thus far as it completes 10,000 km and is done with its second service.

We started getting inundated with calls in March itself to come to the Service Centre, a very irritating experience. Finally, I relented during the first week of June (11 months down) as I wanted the car to be Monsoon ready. Through the years, I have learnt to get the car serviced end of May/first week of June to stave off any rain-related horrors. We had availed the Renault Easy Care package, so there was nothing to pay upfront this time around. Of course, there is no way to know if they have done what you have paid for. I also had an argument with the Service Rep as to why the reports of the wheel alignment and balancing were not handed to me.

Unfortunately, whilst parked on the road, a concrete mixer had left a fleck of cement on the car, which had hardened and also a rickshaw had scraped the front right side. When I got my car back, everything was back to new and I had not had to pay a penny. Thoroughly impressed with their work.

Whilst getting the car serviced, I also got the VIOFO A229 Plus installed. Was charged Rs 1000 and the resultant work was very good. I would recommend to get your dashcams installed at the Andheri Service Centre without any worries. The installation was easy and the VIOFO dashcam is just very good. Having done an extensive read on the Internet, it’s like worldwide people vouch for VIOFO, it is that good, so despite there being better-priced products, going by the good word of mouth for VIOFO aftersales was what drew me to it. The CPL filter and 256 GB SSD cost of 2000+4500 ballooned the final ownership price, so people need to be wary of that aspect.

Also, got the interior lighting changed to white with chrome finish to get a more premium look. Had got white leather seat covers from the dealership at the onset as I cannot stand cars with all-black interiors, it makes me feel claustrophobic. The whites have an aura about it that make the car look cleaner and airier.

Whilst at the centre, I was drawn by the ambient lights installed in a Duster. Enquired about the same and had them installed the next day. For the most part, it remains a waste of an accessory.

An additional accessory to the car is the TUSA tyre inflator, which in my opinion is reasonably priced. I had a look at the original Renault tyre inflator at the workshop and it was very archaic. The TUSA tyre inflator also works with a normal three-point pin, allows you to set the desired pressure and it stops automatically once the desired pressure is reached.

Now coming to the Kiger itself, for all the brickbats it has received, I can vouch that even at 40 degrees there were no problems with adequate cooling and also it cooled the car pretty quickly. There is no way one can complain about the effectiveness of its cooling capacity.

Now that a year has passed, many of the quirks during the initial period now do not seem to be much of an issue. The locking/unlocking comes on pretty naturally now and the seat belts, though maybe a hindrance for a new co-passenger, will not bother you much. Once you have been in the car for a reasonable time, everything comes to you like second nature. Steering the car is a breeze and parking it all the more easier. There is nothing to complain about its manoeuvrability. The transmission is the best you can get at this price. Test drive a Hyundai I20 CVT and you would know what I am talking about – they are miles apart! Till date, I have not felt the rubber band effect, the CVT turbo combination is absolute zen!

The brakes still sound horrid after a cold start and if it's a wet day the sound lingers on forever. It’s something that you have got to get used to. My Xcent and Accent both had this issue in the wet, so it's not something new to me. It might get to one’s head who is not used to it, I guess. I didn’t bother asking the Service Rep to get it looked at as more often than not you tend to come off far worse.

The vibrations are still there, nothing to rattle you about, but yeah you do feel it and nothing has changed even after a year and for the reasons mentioned above, I wouldn’t let anyone mess up my car trying to improve it. Three cylinders vibe and you just got to get used to it.

The NVH of the car, though, is terrible I agree. But I have been driving cars with terrible NVH all my life and I wonder how come all of a sudden NVH has become such a thing in the Indian buyer’s mind? Frankly, I cannot drive without listening to good music, so it has never really been a distraction for me, but yeah if you are thinking of meditating in the car, you would be better off served elsewhere.

The LEDs are there mainly for show primarily I fear. It is not confidence-inspiring and apart from driving in Mumbai, where the roads are well-lit for the most part, I would not dare to go on untreaded roads. Halogens are definitely better and the guys at Renault should have done more work on the Tri-LED setup.

What I absolutely hate about the car is its door thud sound. It comes off real bad and one year down the line it is noticeable more predominantly how flimsy is its sound and feel. One doesn’t go about buying cars owing to its thud sound effect, but nevertheless, I wish it had some machismo to an otherwise stunning-looking car.

The fuel efficiency is another bother. Though you can get 20s with the AC off, you’d be doing a hard day’s work to get the best efficiency. Otherwise, do not expect more than 15-16 in the best of road conditions even with sedate driving. Having said that, the CVT is a hoot to drive. It's pure fun and even more so, you would not get bored driving the car for any length of time. I have already mentioned previously about its excellent driving dynamics in my earlier posts. The suspension is great and it gives me great pride in being able to get over difficult patches with ease, the car has some real off-road capability. Also, dropping the air pressure down to 32 gives the best ride quality on Mumbai pothole-filled roads, but if you want better tyre longevity and mileage stick to the 36.

I feel the CVT turbo is priced just right for what it offers, trust me you are not going to get anything better at this price point. Bang for the buck for the most part that’s on offer even with the cost-cutting fairly evident in many areas. It’s a car that is a step away from the boxiness of other cars, has a distinctive futuristic style and youthfulness, an attention grabber! It definitely feels and looks more premium than the Nissan Magnite, which apart from the CVT transmission nothing is identical about them. This car feels more spirited and lively, the suspension a hoot, and the interiors more premium than the Magnite!

Future considerations

  • Auto-dimming IRVM
  • Better profile tyres (long way to go for that)

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