Renault Kiger long term review, first report


Walking up to our new Kiger Turbo long termer, I can’t help but stare at how well the rear has been executed. Those 3D tail-lights just hit the spot. They literally add another dimension. And then I absolutely love how the spoiler has been split at the top and how the bumper is finished in a contrasting shade. The designers have also added myriad cuts, creases and bulges, so there’s a lot happening here, and all of it I think is good.

WIRELESS: Wireless anything is good, but crisp and clear Apple CarPlay hits the spot.

I also really like how the Kiger unlocks itself when I approach the car, how the wireless charger starts charging as soon as I get in, and that this affordable SUV also gets wireless Apple CarPlay. Having the right set of features, ones you use on a regular basis, is just so important.

SLINGSHOT: Love the way the boost comes in and slingshots you forward post-haste.

Absolutely the best ‘feature’, however, is the turbo motor. The grin-inducing kick you get in the mid-range is seriously impressive and the strong response when you tap the throttle just makes this compact SUV such a fun commuter. Just love how you can WHOOOOSH past other traffic as soon as you put your foot down. And it isn’t just that step up in performance that makes it so much fun, Renault has even provided a Sport mode, selected via a dial that’s fun and easy to use on the move. Granted, it only artificially amps up throttle responses, and that the last third of pedal travel is all but redundant in this mode, but it still adds an additional fun factor that well . . .  puts the tiger in the Kiger. As a result, I find myself enjoying the home to office commute a bit more. Those short bursts you need in city traffic, the quick responses you need when you want to overtake, it has them. And that’s what makes it so enjoyable to drive.

What’s equally impressive is that it isn’t jerky, snatchy or hesitant at low speeds. This is often the case when you have a spike in power just up the rev band. But here, apart from a bit of a pause when the turbo builds speed, and some occasional hesitation, the Kiger is smooth to drive in traffic. Even the gearbox works well. It’s light and easy to use, so when you need to, you can snatch a gear and get the turbo motor going. And while many three-cylinder engines feel like they are missing a limb, this engine is well balanced and relatively smooth; you can’t really tell it’s a three unless you specifically pay attention.

Driving the Kiger in traffic is also effortless. The steering and controls are light, visibility is good from the driver’s seat, and the driving position is also good. It even surprises you by steering and driving through corners with a fair amount of verve. Renault has clearly got a lot of things right here.

BLACK ON BLACK: Plastic quality isn’t great and the shiny black finish makes it worse.

I don’t like Eco mode, however. At all. The dull responses make it near impossible to use it in everyday traffic without getting seriously frustrated. In fact, the responses are so dull that I thought I’d got a batch of bad fuel the first time around. Eco clearly needs to be closer to Normal for sure. Build quality in general is also something that doesn’t impress. The door pads are done in black, shiny plastic and look low rent, the area around the glove box feels very plasticky and the suspension doesn’t feel particularly robust. Hit a large bump and you sometimes hear an odd metallic clang; not nice.

TIGHT FIT: Very little space for your hand when you have to click home the seat belt.

That said, there’s no doubt the Kiger is a lot of SUV for your money, one that’s peppy and fun to drive and is well equipped – which is what makes it such a good city commuter.

from Autocar India - All Car Reviews

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