Renault unveiled its all-new compact SUV, the Kiger recently in India under a global launch event. Renault further surprised everyone by undercutting each and every one of its rival, with its nearest rival being the Nissan Magnite, being undercut by INR 4,000. The launch of Magnite has sort of created a sub-segment into the already hotly contested segment, by undercutting the price and offering more features. Let’s have a detailed look.
Design & proportions
The Renault Kiger is based on the same platform as the Magnite, hence the wheelbase is unchanged. The car overall, more or less is similar to the Magnite in terms of proportions. The Magnite is a bit longer, a bit wider than the Kiger but the Kiger is taller than the Magnite and Kiger houses a bigger interior space as well.
Talking about the design, Renault designers probably watched a 90s sci-fi movie and designed this car and this is very reminiscent of the same. Renault has tried to give the Kiger a very funky look. The bonnet looks muscular and very SUV-ish. It features a large Renault logo on the grille flanked by large chrome slats on either side. It gets a split headlamp setup hence it gets DRLs above and a set of tri-octagonal LEDs below on each side. It surely gives the Kiger a very bold and imposing front look, which you’d either like or dislike, it’s not a mass pleaser.
On the sides, it gets flared wheel arches and 16″ wheels with 195 section tyres which could have been better. It gets a black applique on the sides and sits 205mm above the ground. On the rear, the spoiler is styled very sportily and gets C shaped LED taillamps. It gets a reverse parking camera and sensors which are clearly visible upon a closer look. The bumper gets a black and silver dual treatment. The key looks more like a card or a phone than a key and the doors unlock when you approach with the keys in your hand or pocket.
The plastic quality and the fit & finish on the doors could have been better. It has ample storage spaces, that’s not a problem. The seat height is ideal and getting in is not much of a task. It misses out on a dead pedal and houses controls on the tilt-adjustable steering on higher trims. It gets a 7″ digital instrument cluster and is easy to control. It displays all the necessary bits. The cabin is quite practical and has a lot of storage spaces. The control knobs for the automatic AC are neatly laid out and will remind you of the Magnite.
The Kiger also gets ambient lighting. It gets driving modes that can be toggled via a knob. One advantage of the Kiger over the Magnite is the cooled glovebox. The dashboard quality is okay, nothing extraordinary. The piano Black finish is carried over throughout the centre console. The headroom is adequate. It gets an 8″ touch infotainment system with Android auto and apple car play. It gets an 8-speaker system with good sound quality. Overall had the interior quality been richer, it would have been even better. Door pads are functional at the rear as well and the headroom is adequate.
The foam in the seats is a bit soft and could have been better. The rear seat is a 60-40 split. The middle passenger gets a lap seat belt. Rear occupants also get an armrest. Thigh support is good as well. It misses out on a sunroof and a middle headrest at the rear though. 3 people can travel on short or medium journeys at the rear. The seats aren’t plush but are functional. It gets a massive boot capacity of 405 L.
Engine & performance
We drove the 1.0L turbo petrol unit which also sits under the hood of the Magnite. hence, the combo with the transmission and the character of the engine is very similar. The engine & gear ratios are also similar. The rev limiter cuts in at 6500 RPM. As it has drive modes, the engine is mapped accordingly. It returned 15-16 km for every litre of fuel in the city and more than 20 on the highway should you drive with a light right foot.
It sprints from 0-100 in a shade under 13 seconds. The 1.0L turbo petrol unit kicks out 100PS of peak power and 160Nm of peak torque. With a CVT unit, the peak torque figure drops to 152Nm. The base 1.0L naturally aspirated petrol engine produces 72PS and 96Nm of peak output figures.
The steering feels vague and indirect like the Magnite. At higher speeds, it adds on weight which at times is a bit too much. The ride is a bit stiff at low speeds but becomes better with increasing numbers on the speedo. The handling is not the best, and could have been better. It surely lacks a solid handling feel. The gear shifts are a bit notchy and not very, very smooth.
The clutch is light and the engine is very tractable so driving in the cities isn’t going to be a problem. Post-1200 RPM you get a pull from the engine which transforms to an overtaking pull post-1800 RPM. The insulation is reasonable as well. There is some wind noise at higher speeds.
It is made for an everyday user, not a hard core enthusiast. Value for money quotient is high on this package as it significantly undercuts its rivals. The base naturally aspirated petrol engine gets an AMT which the Magnite misses out on. It is pitted directly against the Magnite.
Fuel efficiency is same on both the Kiger & the Magnite. The sales and service is more widespread though, for the Renault. It might be a compromise over a full blown CSUV, but considering the price it is offered at, with the cabin space, features and distinctive looks, the Kiger seems like a winner.