Easy on the family budget

THE Renault Kwid is listed as an entry- level SUV in that it has a high ride height and faux off-road add ons on the bumpers. The design is one of the model’s strengths, however the three-stud wheels mean owners cannot fit after market wheels to kill the “budget” car look. The Climber does come with better look wheels so maybe an extra investment in those could yield better results.

Inside, the Kwid doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It’s a budget model with a well laid out interior with plastic finishes worthy of the price.

The spec is good with front electric windows, seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, USB/radio entertainment, Bluetooth telephony.

There is a digital speedometer with no rev counter (don’t worry, the engine noise lets you know when its time to change). In bright sunlight, the speedo can be not so easy to see. Space is good for four adults and getting in and out is easy, aided by the high ride height.

Clear windows might need an investment in smash and grab to aid sun protection. The boot is good to take normal loads with a space saver provided.

The main point of this test was to see if the automatic transmission is worth the investment and I have to say yes.

Instead of a gear lever, there is a dash mounted dial where you select D, N or R. Drive is to the front wheels and the transmission has five forward gears.

It needs getting used to when driving as you need to release the accelerator pedal when it changes gear so it doesn’t jerk occupants.

The 50 kW/90 Nm three-cylinder engine majors on fuel efficiency, with our test week’s average of 20km/l allows a conservative range of 500 km from the tiny 28-litre tank.

With fuel prices this high, its nice to fill it up for only R430 from empty.

The one area that has always been a contentious issue with a Kwid is the lack of a passenger airbag and ABS.

Granted, those are essentials and are supposed to be offered as standard but then again here is my counter argument.

The Kwid competes not with other cheap cars, but with public transport at the instalment price of R2 300 per month with one year’s free insurance. Now take an average KZN family of five where the parents spend R2 400 on average a month in taxis.

Add to that R500 per child for the “omalume” who are entrusted to drive the child to school, and you have a family spend of R3 900 per month on transport. To get the eternally unreliable public transport (Quantum mafia), the whole family wakes up at the early hours just to make 8 am at work.

For those who still ask about safety of the Kwid, all I can say is, watch the taxis’ driving behaviour in morning rush hour. — imotoonline.co.za

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