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Renault Kwid Climber Review: Renault Gets an Upgrade

Renault Kwid Climber Review: Renault Gets an Upgrade

I may not be a huge fan of the Renault Kwid, but it’s hard to argue with the price.

The Renault Kwid is doing great things for the French company in South Africa. In November 2019 it was the third best selling vehicle in the country, notching up sales of over 1 500 units. That makes it something of a rockstar in today’s economy.

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Bang for your buck

If you look at its value offering, on paper it’s very easy to understand these figures: the top-of-the-range Kwid Climber still only costs R 175 000 and it even has good resale value, which isn’t traditionally a strong suit of Renaults. The Climber is also very good looking, I feel, and a few people who saw me driving it remarked on how cute it was.

Renault Kwid Climber has a touchscreen console in front

And the Kwid is fitted with some great kit for the price: an 8” touchscreen entertainment system, a nice digital instrument cluster, electric windows, remote central locking, a full-size spare and air-con. It even has rear park distance control, which seems a bit silly in a car with compact dimensions. The more expensive models even have a reverse camera and sat-nav. And since the safety outcry that ensued when the Kwid was first launched, all models are fitted with two airbags and ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution, which is a great nod to customer feedback from Renault.

What’s the catch?

To enable all of these features at these low prices, though, Renault has had to skimp in other areas. The level of finish is fairly poor – there are no floor mats and the floor of the fairly big boot is just a piece of carpet glued to a piece of masonite. Road and engine noise is also intrusive due to these cost-cutting measures.

Pop the hood

The engine is a little 3-cylinder petrol unit of 1 000cc, producing 50kW and 91Nm. Fuel consumption is good, at a claimed 4.4L/100km average, but the 28ℓ fuel tank means that you have to fill up regularly. Performance isn’t that bad because the car is light, but the engine is rough and noisy when it works hard. Manual and auto options are available, both with five gears.

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As I’ve said, the Kwid makes sense on paper, but on the road, it feels like a less wise buy. The steering is vague and light, the engine rough and the suspension wobbly, adding up to a car that isn’t confidence-inspiring to drive. There are plenty of other options, albeit at a slightly higher price, such as the new Hyundai Atos or a slightly used Renault Sandero if you like the brand but want something more substantial.

The Renault Kwid range starts at R144 900 while the Climber is at the top of the range at R175 000. These prices include a 5-year/150 000km warranty, a 6-year corrosion warranty, and a 2-year/30 000km service plan.

The GoodThe inside of the Renault Kwid Climber

  • Price
  • Funky styling
  • Touchscreen entertainment system
  • Warranty

The Bad

  • Cheap finishing
  • Tiny wheels
  • Wallowy but lightweight drive
  • Lack of power
  • Rough engine

For more information, visit renaultretail.co.za.

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