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The Renault Kwid has been like a disruption in the force, challenging established players like the Maruti Alto and Hyundai Eon in their own backyard and winning on many fronts, including the sales charts. But the one area of the car which was termed as a damp squib was the tinny 0.8-litre engine. Now Renault has decided to launch the 1.0-litre engine version of the car to cover all of its shortcomings and take the fight of the entry-level small cars to a higher level.
Size and Design – The Renault Kwid is clearly the biggest and most spacious car in its class, having the longest wheelbase and greatest width. The car also has the largest amount of boot space and ground clearance. Also helping the case of this vehicle are its butch looks and SUV-ish stance. The Kwid comes with minimum amount of bling but Renault offers many customisation options for inclined customers. The Kwid 1.0-litre features a black and white chequered decal with a '1.0' lettering on the lower portion of its side profile and silver ORVM caps. At the same time, the Tiago is a whole size larger and looks more mature, with stylish elements from the new IMPACT design.
Features and Interior – The USP of the Renault Kwid hatch is its spacious interior and first in class features such as the touch-screen infotainment system and the fancy digital speedometer. The car feels well put together just like other high quality European cars, but the plastic quality is still a grade lower than the Hyundai Eon. The Tiago is again a steep grade-up from the class standard with high quality plastic which is well put together and has a nice touch to it. All the cars get front power-windows and double-din audio systems.
Powertrain – The increase in engine displacement has resulted in a significant increase in the power figures of the Kwid – from a measly 53 BHP to a respectable 68 BHP. But the magic number here is the power-to-weight ratio, which stands a wholesome 91 BHP per tonne! For reference, the Swift diesel has a power-to-weight ratio of just 74 BHP per tonne. This results in somewhat peppy performance and low fuel-consumption numbers without significant investment. This is possible due to the low kerb weight of the Kwid which is just under 700 kgs. The Alto K10 also has a respectable power to weight ratio of 88 BHP per tonne. The Tata Tiago on the other hand makes 83.3 BHP from its 1.2-litre Revotron unit.
However, the Kwid's average fuel efficiency falls short of the Maruti Alto K10, but is nonetheless a respectable figure for a petrol powered hatchback. For reference, the Tiago also gives a commendable fuel efficiency figure of 23 km/l. The ride quality of the Kwid is the same as that of its lower displacement version with the same mature handling and bump absorbing qualities which are better than its rivals, but the Tiago again nudges ahead due to a more sorted chassis and better suspension setup.
Verdict – The Renault Kwid is a formidable opponent to the long ruling well established players in the pocket-rocket segment of the Indian market. What it brings to the table are things like a better handling package, features and ride comfort along with some usable highway performance. But at Rs. 4.34 lakhs for the fully loaded variant, it comes dangerously close to the much sought after Tata Tiago, which due to being a class higher and better built, is a much better automobile in our opinion.
The first glance of this vehicle reveals that the Alto K10 now strongly resembles its smaller engined sibling externally. The head lamps on the fascia are very similar to the Alto 800 as is the overall design. However, the differentiating factors for both cars is the larger chrome grille and upside down rectangular air intake on the K10 as compared to the Alto 800 grille which is dominated by the famous Suzuki 'S' and a more octagonal air intake. Another noticeable factor is the way the bonnet curves down to the head lamps. Coming down, even the bumper has changed from the previous model and now looks a tad bit sportier.
The side profile of both vehicles remains almost the same and this includes the rather oddly- shaped rear roofline. Maruti Suzuki has now included the flared wheel arches in the overall design to give the bigger Alto a muscular stance and keep it in line with the overall design philosophy. It appears that the mirrors too have become larger and this is expected to aid in visibility.
The rear is now more in line with the Alto 800 design and this is evident from the shape of the tail lamps. The number plate slot has moved down to the bumper while it appears that the rear hatch door as well as the tail lamps have been flattened a bit to give the impression of a larger vehicle.
The interior of the facelifted Alto K10 is all-new. The dashboard is a combination of blackish-grey and beige and features a totally new design for all the components. The steering wheel is a modified version of the one found on the Swift while the instrument cluster appears to be a more detailed version of the one found on the Alto 800.
Maruti Suzuki has also worked on the music system for the higher spec variants; it is now a piano black coloured 2-DIN unit with support for AUX, USB in addition to a CD player. The aircon unit is a stock MSIL unit but now they have added silver bezel to the vents to increase the premium factor.
Maruti Suzuki has also given the new Alto K10 beige seats to add to the airiness factor inside the cabin. It has scooped out the back of the front seats to marginally increase the legroom in the back, though it must be noted that the Alto 800 and the K10 have the same wheelbase.
Engine and gearbox
The Alto K10 gets the 1.0-litre three pot K10B petrol mill which produces 67bhp and 90Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a five-speed manual. Maruti is now also offering the five-speed AMT from the Celerio in the K10. This seemed like a logical step as this is same engine powering the former. The same 1.0-litre engine is also being offered with CNG compatibility.
Variants and competition
The Alto K10 is being offered in six variants- LX, Lxi, Lxi CNG, Vxi and Vxi AT. It competes in the A-segment with the Hyundai Eon and the Datsun GO.
The Tiago hatchback follows Tata's HorizonNext design language with a wide mesh grille and swept back headlamps that resemble the Tata family face seen in the Bolt and the Zest. Tata has done really well by making the Tiago look distinctly different than the Indica while retaining its heritage. The tail design is modern and fresh with the horizontal tail lamps. Body coloured bumpers are standard on the Tiago and so is the rear spoiler. Alloy wheels, wing mirrors with turn indicators, rear wash and wipe function are all available only on the top spec XZ variant.
The Tiago interior is the best till date by the Indian manufacturer. Tata cabins have always been roomy but now it will get a touch of good quality and build along with equipment. The top end XZ comes with the ConnectNext infotainment system and gets four tweeters along with four speakers. Height adjustable seats with adjustable headrests are offered as an option from the XE trim. Driver footrest, folding rear seat, tinted glasses and internally adjustable wing mirrors are standard across the range.
The Tiago gets the 1.2-litre three cylinder Revotron engine that develops 84bhp of power at 6000rpm and 114Nm of torque. The 1.05-litre turbocharged diesel mill churns out 70bhp of power and 140Nm of torque from 1800rpm. Both the engines power the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Driving modes - Eco and City are available on both the engines. Tata will certainly offer the Tiago with an AMT gearbox in near future.
Performance & Handling
The Tiago gets independent suspension up front with McPherson struts and coil-over springs and a torsion beam in the rear. The ride is good and the handling is predictable.
The Tiago gets a front disc - rear drum brake setup which provides good braking performance.
The 1047 cc Diesel - powered variant delivers a fuel economy of 25 kmpl in city and 27 kmpl on highways, while the Petrol variant offers a mileage of 20 kmpl on urban roads and 23 kmpl and freeways, respectively.
Except for the base XB variants, dual front airbags can be added in the optional package along with the height adjustable seats but no ABS. ABS and EBD with corner stability control is available only on the top spec XZ along with the two airbags.
For the combination of good looks, quality interiors and respectable ride and handling, the Tiago is an excellent value proposition in the compact hatchback segment.
The Tiago competes with the Maruti Celerio and the Chevrolet Beat in the compact hatchback segment.