The Renault Kwid may be cheap but it’s very, very nasty. By Thomas Falkiner
I once learnt a good life lesson. I was young and wanted to get back into cycling. I needed a bicycle, of course, as the last one I owned was swapped for beer money — as can happen when you’re 24.
Anyway, a friend was selling a bike. It was a well-known brand and came bolted to fine components. But it was second-hand. And there was no way I could ride around on somebody else’s legacy. It wore the patina of a life I hadn’t lived. Plus, it was always cooler to have something shiny and new.
So I went to a store and spent the same amount of money on a bike that, albeit virginal, was ultimately inferior to the bike my friend was peddling. And after the novelty had worn off and the till slip had been lost I regretted this. Especially when the gears conked out and the fork seals leaked and the hefty frame made me grimace. I had made a mistake.
So what does this have to do with the Renault Kwid? Well, it’s pretty simple really. Renault is using this cheap hatchback to prey on the human belief that first-hand is better than second-hand. As demonstrated by my younger, more foolish self, their marketers know that most buyers are hungry for the word “new”. Particularly when it comes to cars.
New car — it’s a label they like and a label they want to splash all over Facebook to impress their peers. Except when they do, the joke will be on them. Oh sure, it looks good in the Photoshopped sales brochures, but in the flesh the Kwid is a nasty thing. Like its crapbox cousin the Datsun Go, you can see that it’s been assembled on the cheap for maximum sales profit. Have a look at one under the unforgiving lighting of an underground carpark and you’ll see what I mean. The fit and finish and quality of the sheet metal — how it all pieces together — leaves a lot to be desired.
As do those ridiculous 13-inch wheels that seem to have been stolen off a teenager’s quad bike. Some say that the Kwid is the successor to the Renault 5, but in my eyes it ties with the Logan as the worst car the firm has ever produced.
It’s unsafe too. It being 2017, the last thing I think about when climbing into a new car is safety. Not so in the Kwid. A brief click session on Google will alert you to the fact that driving this thing is like driving back in the 1970s. Except there’s no disco music on the radio and the rand is still 14 to the dollar. Even with an airbag the Kwid scored zero adult-occupant protection stars in its Global NCAP test. The bodyshell, when crashed at 64km/h, was described as “unstable”.
So was the driving experience at speeds over 120km/h, at which point the car took on a wandering life of its own. At lower speeds, when turning, the vague steering would never re-centre itself. You don’t even get ABS brakes — I mean how much would they really add to the price?
Yet Renault glosses over this. Instead, they bang on about airconditioning and ground clearance and a touchscreen infotainment system. They’re using trinkets to con you into buying an unsafe, substandard new car, when for the same money and the sacrifice of some kilometres you could have a superior second-hand one.
Hell, if you want a new Renault so badly then just save a little more and buy a Sandero.
Which is why I’m calling bullshit on the Kwid. Twenty-four-year-old me may have fallen for its spiel but 33-year-old me will not. And neither should you — your hard-earned money, and indeed your life, is better spent elsewhere. – Thomas Falkiner
FAST FACTS: RENAULT KWID DYNAMIQUE
Engine: 999cc three-cylinder petrol
Power: 50kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 91Nm at 4250rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Top speed: 152km/h
Fuel: 6.6l/100km (achieved)
CO2: 112g/km (claimed)
Price: From R134 900