Renault Kiger Test Drive Review
We do a detailed road test review of the Renault Kiger.
Car Tested: Renault Kiger; Road Test No. 1285; Test Location: Goa
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs 6.39 – 11.31 lakhs
The Renault Kiger has VFM pricing, it offers good features, is spacious and the turbo petrol engine packs in a punch too!
The sub-4-metre compact SUV segment is one of the most popular and fastest-growing segments in the Indian auto scene. With more than half a dozen competitors here, things get interesting every passing month and because no manufacturer wants to be left out, everyone is trying to get a pie of the market share in this category. Cars like the Maruti Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Venue have separate fan bases while Indian automakers aren’t too far behind with the Tata Nexon and Mahindra XUV300. The Toyota Urban Cruiser arrived some time back while the Venue’s cousin Kia Sonet is doing well for itself too. Recently, we saw the Nissan Magnite and now what we have is the Renault Kiger which is fundamentally similar to the Magnite and yet it aims to create a nice space for itself in the segment.
Exteriors – Yes, a lot of you might say that the Renault Kiger bears resemblance to Kwid from certain angles and I won’t disagree with this point. Few styling elements do remind you of the Kwid but the Kiger is visually much bigger. The design has some youthful elements and the bonnet, bumpers, tail-gate, etc. have a sculpted design which looks cool. The styling looks nice and proportionate without any uneven bits. The Kiger gets some body cladding, roof-rails and even an integrated rear spoiler. The 16-inch wheels look good and chunky while the 3-pod LED headlamps look clean too. Renault is offering some nice colours with this vehicle and the paint quality also seems good. The Kiger is based on the same CMF-A+ platform as the Magnite and the overall silhouette looks similar.
Interiors – The Renault Kiger gets an all-black interior layout. The dashboard has a neat design and while overall quality levels are acceptable for the price, there are some rough bits here and there and some better finishing would’ve been appreciated. The feature list is pretty exhaustive and you get things like ambient lighting, push-button start, automatic climate control, electric ORVMs, digital instrument cluster and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The Kiger also gets an air-purifier, wireless charging pad and a reverse parking camera but it misses out on 360-degree cameras offered on the Magnite. The instrument cluster has better graphics than the Magnite and the colour theme also changes based on the mode (Eco = Green, Normal = Blue, Sport = Red). The Arkamys audio system also sounds nice and offers clear sound quality.
A large boot, plenty of storage spaces and spacious rear seats make the Kiger extremely practical
The Renault Kiger doesn’t get a sunroof, ventilated seats, connected car features and an auto-dimming IRVM though. The driving position is quite comfortable and you get a good field of view ahead. The bonnet is also clearly visible from the driver’s seat but I found the ORVMs a tad narrow. Rearward visibility is a bit limited because the C-pillars are quite thick and the rear windshield is also small in size. The IRVM too isn’t very big but it covers the rear glass. I found the front seats to be very comfortable. There’s ample support on offer and under-thigh support is decent. The side bolstering has been done nicely too. Renault has cleverly made use of the cabin space to carve out some useful storage areas. While both the front doors get large bottle holders each, there’s a lot of space in the centre too. Just above the wireless charging pad, there’s another place to keep your wallet or mobile phone while the centre console gets a large storage area underneath the armrest. The Kiger also gets two gloveboxes. The top one isn’t too big but a 1-litre bottle can fit there properly while the main glovebox is quite deep.
Things are very pleasant at the rear because you get a good amount of leg space. I’m 6-feet tall while Javeid is 6-feet, 2-inches and both of us could sit very comfortably, him in the driver’s seat and me behind him, and vice versa. Headroom is also more than enough and the floor is also almost flat. However, the rear seat isn’t very wide and three passengers here could be a tight fit. The rear doors have large windows and even the bottle-holders in the door pads are big. Rear passengers get AC vents and a single charging socket. The boot capacity is highest in this segment at 405-litres. The loading lip is a bit high but there’s good space overall. The spare wheel is a 15-inch space-saver mounted on a steel rim.
Performance – Renault is offering the Kiger with two engine options, shared with the Nissan Magnite. The first engine is a 1.0-litre, 3-cyl, naturally-aspirated petrol unit making 72 PS and 96 Nm. This engine is found on the Triber too and it is offered with a 5-speed manual or AMT. This is a decent entry-level engine and should work fine for people who don’t want to drive fast but prefer very sedate driving. Yes, it lacks some grunt and you might have to downshift frequently on highways to overtake other vehicles. Refinement wise, it does just fine and there are a fair number of vibrations that creep inside the cabin. The second engine is a 1.0-litre, 3-cyl, turbocharged unit churning out 100 PS and 160 Nm. Now this engine is offered with either a 5-speed manual or an X-Tronic CVT.
The turbo-petrol engine feels punchy and lively with a strong surge of power till the top-end
The turbocharged petrol engine also lets some vibrations in the cabin but it is a lot punchier than the NA unit. Low-end lag is present and after 2000 RPM, this engine offers brisk performance. The mid-range has a linear surge of torque and the top-end performance is decent too, just not too exciting. NVH levels have room for improvement and the engine is audible inside the cabin along with a bunch of vibrations. The Kiger also gets three driving modes, something that’s missing on the Magnite. You get Normal, Eco and Sport modes and the engine response gets altered here. For day to day driving even Normal mode works well while the fuel efficiency goes down a bit in Sport mode while the engine feels more alert. The NA engine is likely to offer better efficiency but generally turbo engines are like a double-edged sword which means that if you drive sensibly, you do get good efficiency numbers but if you tend to push the car hard, the numbers go down very significantly. You can expect these engines to deliver 10-11 km/l in the city and 14-15 km/l on the highway.
The Renault Kiger’s clutch has medium heft while the gearshifts feel a tad notchy. We’ve sampled the AMT on the Triber and while it does offer good convenience, it obviously cannot match a proper automatic. There is some head-nod movement that is felt while on the move and here’s where the CVT trumps the AMT because it is actually a good gearbox and a very smooth one at that. Under Rs. 10 lakhs, the Magnite and Kiger have the best CVT for sure. Out of both the powertrain options, our pick would be the turbocharged engine but it’s a good thing that Renault is offering an automatic with both the engines because of the customer preference that’s moving towards automatics.
Driving Dynamics – The Renault Kiger’s steering isn’t exactly feather-light at city speeds; it has some heft to it. It weighs up fairly well on the highways and communicates decently with the driver as well. Body control is predictable and body-roll is also well under control. The suspension is pliant on our roads and the ride is quite good. Yes, some vertical movement is felt in the cabin at high speeds but overall it’s a pleasant experience travelling in the Kiger. While the ride is comfy, it doesn’t match up to the Duster’s magnitude which is on another level. The Kiger gets a high ground clearance of 205 mm which is useful in dicey situations. We found the stopping power of the test car to be adequate.
Safety & After Sales Service – Renault has been present in the Indian market for a long time now and the French automaker has presence in most cities. Talking about safety features, the Kiger gets 4 airbags on the top variant while the lower variants get dual front airbags. The vehicle also gets ABS with EBD but there’s no traction control on offer. The compact SUV also gets ISOFIX child seat mounts. The Nissan Magnite scored a 4-star rating in the ASEAN NCAP test and the Kiger is expected to get a similar score.
Verdict – Renault has priced the Kiger very competitively and honestly it is a good package for the price. It drives fairly well, it looks good and has a spacious cabin too. The Renault Kiger is high on practicality and is a bit cheaper than all other products in this segment. Just like the Triber, we’re expecting the Kiger to fetch good numbers too and hopefully it will give good company to the Nissan Magnite which itself is doing good, at least for now.
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – Hyundai Venue, Maruti Vitara Brezza, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300, Nissan Magnite, Ford EcoSport, Honda WR-V, Toyota Urban Cruiser