Driven: Renault Kiger
The demand for mobility is at an all-time high. We want to and need to get around. Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that tend to make this exercise rather expensive. Budget hatchbacks have offered a relatively cost-effective solution to this. Renault is leading the charge with the Kwid. What if you want a bit more? Their latest edition, the Kiger seems to have the answer.
The Kiger is slightly bigger, slightly more spacious and luxurious than the Kwid and since its launch towards the end of last year, the Kiger has grown in popularity. We were handed the keys to the top-spec model, which features a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol motor that develops 74kW and makes use of a 5-step CVT gearbox. The combination is actually not bad however the car is happier within city limits than out on the highway. It does however handle highway speeds better than the Kwid.
The Kigers styling is actually on point. It looks muscular, edgy and eye-catching. Its high ground clearance also plays to its advantage giving it more practical usage over a conventional hatchback. We particularly like the front end design which features a Day Time Running lights just below the bonnet line, the headlights can be found further down the bumper. It looks modern and gives the car a character best-befitting something bigger.
We found the interior to also be visually appealing, however when you start interacting with the plastics you can feel that they are cheap. This however is not a problem because the Kiger is not a luxury, German-made executive saloon. It’s a budget-sensitive compact hatchback that is built in India. There are undoubtedly going to be some plastic bits. Designers have however added a few niceties which should appeal to prospective buyers.
Most noticeable is the driver-focused 8-inch touchscreen which is simple to use, responds quickly to touch inputs and process quick phone paring. It also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Intens trim model which we tested also incorporates an 8-speaker Arkamys audio system that produces good sound volume and clarity.
The interior is quite spacious with a choice of places to store things. The centre console is large and includes a large storage space underneath the armrest, however, we didn’t find a single cupholder. Nevertheless, Renault does claim a luggage capacity of 405 litres which is large for the segment. It l also offers split-folding rear seats, which is something many of its rivals don’t have.
Out on the road, we made good use of the different drive modes offered by this flagship model: Eco prioritises fuel economy, but makes it quite difficult to make forward progress, Sport sharpens up the accelerator pedal sensitivity for a better response and Normal is the best of both. Each mode also proved a different theme for the large digital instrument cluster.
While the driving experience of a car in this segment is not usually anything to run home about, the Kiger didn’t actually disappoint. It provides a decent ride quality over uneven road surfaces and even entertains when driven with some eagerness. It’s also food to know that Renault has incorporated a host of safety features as standard. Stability control is only available on the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol derivative that we drove, but ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors are standard across the range.
Should you consider the Kiger? We agree that you should. It will offer decent mobility with some of the must-have tech features. That said, looking at the used market with the same budget would also be advised.
The Kiger 1.0 naturally aspirated model gets a 5-year/150 000 km warranty and a 2-year/30 000 km service plan, while the turbo derivatives get the same warranty, but a 3-year/45 000 km service plan.