Renault Kwid climbing up the ladder

Renault South Africa introduced the Kwid back in 2016, it was met with open arms by the buying public but not so much from media as the first Kwid had little to no safety features.

The low price, free insurance and the touchscreen infotainment system was a big hit and resulted in growing sales figures for Renault. Now there is a refreshed Kwid which has been fitted with additional safety items and updated styling. I got behind the wheel to see if it’s any good.

Why a Kwid?

I was struggled to figure out who would by a new Kwid, which carries a starting price of R144 900, and not rather take that money to a used car dealership and drive away in something bigger or sportier? Well, the biggest deterrent to buying a used vehicle is the maintenance costs and the Renault Kwid comes with warranties and even a year’s free insurance. It also offers first-time buyers a car that is small, easy to drive.

Don’t knock it before you try it.

The latest iteration of the Kwid sees new styling which comes across as more modern thanks to the implementation of a new front end with slim upper lights housing Day-Time Running lights. Below that you will find the headlights and new stylistic bumper design. The rear end has also received a slight upgrade in the form of revised taillights and a new bumper. The model that arrived at our office was the Climber which features orange wing mirrors, orange detailing on the front bumper and roof rails.

Inside the car I was pleasantly surprised as the previous Kwid didn’t feature the relatively impressive interior. This latest model features a new steering wheel, new durable and quick-drying upholstery and an LED illuminated instrument cluster which all blends tastefully into the new facia design. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system features navigation, Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto which lets you make use of Google Maps and a variety of music streaming applications. The system also incorporates a rearview camera with guidelines. Other niceties include rear park distance control, electric windows front and rear and even electric side mirrors.

What’s it like to drive?

Let me just explain a little here. You see, the Kwid is designed and built in India and if you have ever visited India, as I did, you will know that it is very difficult and in some cases near impossible to reach the speeds similar to that we achieve locally. There is just too much congestion, the roads are full of motorbikes, small cars and trucks and busses. A two-lane road becomes a four-lane road and every gap is taken. I think the biggest issue with the Kwid is that it, especially in its first iteration, was not adequately adapted to our highway conditions. Sure, driving around the narrow suburban roads at 60km/h is ideal but I found the car to be out of its comfort zone when requiring it to maintain the 120km/h speed limit.

I regularly found myself opting for the far left-hand lane and just cruise at 100km/h. I also found the steering extremely vague, but then again this is a Renault Kwid, not a Porsche 911 GT3. You do need to work the five-speed manual gearbox to get the most out of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, as the most it will offer you is 50 kW and 91 N.m of torque. Bottom line, you will get from point A to point B efficiently as Renault claims a 4.7l/100km fuel consumption. One of the big highlights for me is the cars 180mm of ground clearance, something which came in handy when I had to navigate my way through a slightly flooded section of road. The water was about 600mm deep and yet the little Kwid got us through, although I’m convinced I was floating for a few metres. The Kwid now comes with ABS as well as two front airbags for the driver and passenger although concerns about its structural integrity are still in question.


I know the Kwid has been given its fair share of hate and in some cases, I agree and in some, I disagree. If you want a cheap run around, a machine to get you from point A to point B, a car that is ideal for first-time buyers, then the Kwid is worth a look. As for me, I personally feel that you can get something relatively new and still within motor plan if you had to look towards our vast used car market.

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